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Although all Hollywood Reporter production charts list Norbert Brodine as the film's directory of photography, only Joseph LaShelle is credited onscreen. According to documents in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department and the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection at the UCLA Arts-Special Collections Library, this production was initiated by actress Ida Lupino. In September 1947, the studio purchased the rights to an original story and screenplay entitled Dark Love from Lupino, who had commissioned them from writers Margaret Gruen and Oscar Saul. Included in the $130,000 purchase price were the acting services of Lupino, which cost $100,000. When, in an early draft of the script "Jefty" was depicted as an older man, studio chief Darryl F. Zanuck proposed Charles Bickford for the role, and Widmark for "Pete." Victor Mature and Lee J. Cobb were also considered for the roles of Pete and Jefty, respectively.
Road House was director Jean Negulesco's first film for Twentieth Century-Fox after a long career at Warner Bros. Negulesco went on to have a long, successful career at Twentieth Century-Fox making such films as Three Came Home (1950), Titanic (1953) Three Coins in the Fountain (1954) and The Best of Everything (1959). According to studio records, the scenes in the roadhouse's bowling alley were shot at a real alley located near the studio. A contemporary source claims that Louis Bacigalupi played the role of the drunk who interrupts "Lily's" act, but his appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. A radio adaptation of the story was broadcast on the Screen Guild Players program on June 2, 1949 and starred Lupino, Lloyd Nolan and Richard Widmark.