Joe Peters (Roadblock)

Created by Richard Landau

and Geoffrey Homes
Pseudonym of Daniel Mainwaring

In Roadblock (1951), a nifty little noir full of robbery, murder, sexual obsession and a bunch of other neat stuff, JOE PETERS (Charles McGraw), a Los Angeles-based insurance investigaor who sounds like he gargles with old car parts, becomes involved with Diane Marley (Joan Dixon), a “hot little number” whom he figures is just another gold-digger. But he doesn’t care–he just wants her.

So he sets up a scam involving stolen furs and a bunch of used money on its way to being destroyed. It could be the heist of the century, but it’s all to no avail. Things go wrong, and people get killed, and in true noir fashion, he discovers that she would have been content with him just the way he is.

What a schmuck!

But of course it’s too late for her, and it’s too late for him. Especially when Joe’s partner Harry Miller turns up, urging him to turn himself in.

This stylish little B-flick is like a role call from the glory days of noir. Nic Musuraca’s cinematography and Albert S. D’Agostino’s art direction graced classics such as Out of the Past, Cat People and The Spiral Staircase; crime writer Geoffrey Homes (aka Daniel Mainwaring) co-penned the original story with film and TV screenwriter Richard Landau, and pulpster Steve Fisher (I Wake Up Screaming) brought it to the screen, while filmeditor Robert Golden went on to cut The Night of the Hunter. And hey, even Milburn Stone (Doc in TV’s Gunsmoke) has a small role here as a detective.


Richard Landau had a long, long career was a writer for film and especially television. Among his many TV credits are scripts for Switch, Cannon, The Manhunter, Ironside, Longstreet, Tarzan, Mannix, Perry Mason, Hawaiian Eye, The Brothers Brannagan and Surfside Six.

No slouch himself, Geoffrey Homes was actually Daniel Mainwaring. He grew up in California, and eld various jobs, including migrant fruit picker, private investigator and reporter, before turning to writing under the Homes pen name in the thirties. But Hollywood was where the money was, and so he started working there as a screenwriter, first for Warner Bros. and later for Paramount, and penned such classic crime and film noirs as Out of the Past (1946) (based on his own novel, They Made Me a Killer (1946), The Big Steal (1949) and Roadblock (1951).


  • ROADBLOCK | Buy this DVD
    (1951, RKO)
    73 minutes, black & white
    Based on a story by Richard Landau and Geoffrey Home
    Screenplay by Steve Fisher and George Bricker
    Directed by Harold Daniels
    Cinematography by Nicholas Musuraca
    Art Direction by Albert S. D’Agostino, Walter E. Keller
    Film Editing by Robert Golden
    Original music by Paul Sawtell
    Produced by Lewis J. Rachmil
    Starring Charles McGraw as JOE PETERS
    Joseph Krehan as Harry Miller
    and Joan Dixon as Diane
    Also starring Lowell Gilmore, Louis Jean Heydt, Milburn Stone, Peter Brocco, Barry Brooks, John Butler, Ben Cameron, Jean Dean, Richard Irving, Harold Landon, Martha Mears, Phyllis Planchard, Steve Roberts, Dewey Robinson
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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