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Roadhouse Nights (1930) DVD

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Roadhouse Nights (1930)


Hobart Henley


Garrett Fort (continuity), Ben Hecht (original screenplay)


Helen Morgan, Charles Ruggles, Fred Kohler

Jimmy Durante made his movie debut in Roadhouse Nights, a strange amalgam of musical comedy and gangster melodrama. In truth, Durante is a special added attraction, together with his nightclub partners Lou Clayton and Eddie Jackson. The film's nominal star is Helen Morgan, a nitery chanteuse whose gangster bosses head a murderous bootleg operation. Charlie Ruggles portrays an ineveterate drinker who frequents Morgan's club; actually, Ruggles is a news reporter whose phony drunkenness is a cover for his investigation of the bootleg ring. Filmed at Paramount's East Coast studios in Astoria, Long Island, Roadhouse Nights is typically brash and brassy Prohibition-era entertainment, with a reasonably "straight" performance from comic actor Ruggles and a few hauntingly rendered songs from Helen Morgan. The most succinct review for this film came from a "non-professional:" When asked what he thought of Jimmy Durante's first talking picture, his father Bartolomeo grumbled "Talk, talk, talk."

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