Negulesco’s film Johnny Belinda (1948) is the story of a poor, uneducated deaf-mute girl played by Jane Wyman. It was nominated for 12 Academy Awards, and won one — Wyman took home the Oscar for Best Actress.
Road House, on the other hand, was nominated for zero Academy Awards.
But they’re both very good films, and watched back to back, they really show Negulesco’s facility with both A-quality material and B-quality material.
A truly good potboiler is as hard to pull off as a truly good drama is, and Road House is a truly good potboiler.
In an interview he gave in 1969, Negulesco recalled being given the assignment to direct Road House by 20th Century Fox studio head Darryl F. Zanuck. Negulesco said that Zanuck told him, “This is a bad…
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