Roadhouse Nights
Directed byHobart Henley
Written byBen Hecht (story)
Garret Fort
Produced byWalter Wanger
StarringHelen Morgan
Charles Ruggles
Fred Kohler
Jimmy Durante
CinematographyWilliam O. Steiner
Edited byHelene Turner
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
February 23, 1930
Running time
68 minutes
CountryUnited States

Roadhouse Nights is a 1930 American pre-Code gangster film. A number of sources including Sally Cline in her book Dashiell Hammett Man of Mystery claim it is based on the classic novel Red Harvest written by Dashiell Hammett (author of The Maltese Falcon, The Thin Man, and The Glass Key). However the credits of the film itself say only "An Original Screenplay by Ben Hecht." Hammett receives no mention at all (and the plots are not similar).

The movie, an amalgam of musical comedy and gangster melodrama, was directed by Hobart Henley, stars Helen Morgan, Charles Ruggles, and Fred Kohler, and features a rare screen musical comedy performance by Jimmy Durante, in his screen debut, with his vaudeville partners Lou Clayton and Eddie Jackson ("Clayton, Jackson, and Durante"). Helen Morgan also sings It Can't Go On Like This.


Lola is a nitery chanteuse's whose gangster bosses head a murderous bootleg operation. Willie is a news reporter pretending to be an inveterate drinker. He frequents Lola's club, his phony drunkenness a cover for his investigation of the bootleg ring.



Filmed at Paramount's Astoria Studios in Astoria, Long Island, Roadhouse Nights is typical pre-Code Prohibition-era entertainment, with a reasonably "straight" performance from comic actor Ruggles and a few songs from Helen Morgan.