Now on Blu-ray: ROAD HOUSE, BEWARE! THE BLOB, FIXED BAYONETS!, & MY BODYGUARD From Kino
A curious quartet of Blu-rays recently appeared from Kino Lorber Studio Classics. Today I'm looking at Road House (1948), Beware! The Blob, Fixed Bayonets!, and My Bodyguard. Each film is interesting it its own way and all are worth owning. Check out more details below.
James Marsh contributed to this story.
1948's Road House is a film noir classic that holds the distinction of being the only feature in which noir icons Richard Widmark and Ida Lupino shared the screen. That duo is joined in their shenanigans by the relatively innocuous Cornel Wilde, who essentially plays the buffer between Lupino's enrapturing lounge singer Lily and Widmark's lecherous club owner, Jefty.
When Jefty brings Lily out to his wilderness road house to entertain his guests and hopefully get a little action on the side, Lily is having none of it and she instead gravitates to Cornel Wilde's impossibly forthright Pete, the resort's manager. The pair manage to keep their illicit romance to themselves for a while, but when Jefty hears about it, all hell breaks loose and Widmark goes into full on maniac mode, an acting device he'd perfected through years of playing film noir heavies. In the end the battle between the savage Widmark and the whip-smart Lupino is the film's calling card as Cornel Wilde ends up being little more than a pretty face in this battle of wills.
Back in 1948 Road House was little more than a programmer to the higher ups at Fox, but the powerhouse performances of Lupino and Widmark lifted this project above relatively meager expectations. One cannot help feeling as though Fox left something significant on the table when they didn't team that pair up ever again. Widmark made a name for himself as a film noir icon in films like Kiss of Death and Night and the City, and Lupino was one of Hollywood's toughest dames. One can only imagine what other wonders they might have spun together.
Kino Lorber Studio Classics Blu-ray disc of Road House is rock solid in all departments. The image and audio quality of the disc is quite good, though not exactly revelatory. In terms of extras, Kino wisely ports over a pair of great features from the previously released Fox Film Noir Collection DVD. First up is an audio commentary with Eddie Mueller and Kim Morgan which is informative and informal as the commentators clearly share and affection for the film. More interesting to me was the twenty minute featurette “Killer Instinct” that explores the intersecting careers of Lupino and Widmark at Fox during film noir's heyday. A great disc for a killer film.