Roadhouse Nights is a 1930 gangster film very loosely based on the novel Red Harvest written by Dashiell Hammett (author of The Maltese Falcon, The Thin Man, and The Glass Key), but the screenplay differs sharply from the novel, with the storyline almost entirely rewritten by screenwriter Ben Hecht. 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 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 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 movie was directed by Hobart Henley, stars Helen Morgan, Charles Ruggles, and Fred Kohler, and features a