IMDb > Underworld (1927)

Underworld (1927) More at IMDbPro »

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Overview

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Down 12% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Writers:
Charles Furthman (adaptation)
Ben Hecht (story)
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Contact:
View company contact information for Underworld on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
20 August 1927 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Plot:
Boisterous gangster kingpin Bull Weed rehabilitates his former lawyer from his alcoholic haze, but complications arise when he falls for Weed's girlfriend. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Awards:
Won Oscar. See more »
User Reviews:
ethics See more (21 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)
George Bancroft ... 'Bull' Weed

Evelyn Brent ... 'Feathers' McCoy

Clive Brook ... Rolls Royce Wensel
Fred Kohler ... 'Buck' Mulligan
Helen Lynch ... Meg, Mulligan's Girl
Larry Semon ... 'Slippy' Lewis
Jerry Mandy ... Paloma
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Alfred Allen ... Judge (uncredited)
Shep Houghton ... Street Kid (uncredited)
Andy MacLennan ... One of Laughing Faces at the Ball (uncredited)
Ida May ... Laughing Woman at the Ball (uncredited)
Karl Morse ... 'High Collar' Sam (uncredited)
Julian Rivero ... One of Buck's Henchmen (uncredited)
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Directed by
Josef von Sternberg 
Arthur Rosson (uncredited) (fired, replaced by J. Von Sternberg)
 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Charles Furthman  adaptation (as Charles Furthmann)
Howard Hawks  scenario (uncredited)
Ben Hecht  story
Robert N. Lee  adaptation
George Marion Jr.  titles
Josef von Sternberg  uncredited

Produced by
B.P. Schulberg .... associate producer
Hector Turnbull .... supervising producer
 
Original Music by
Robert Israel (2010 Composer New Score)
 
Cinematography by
Bert Glennon 
 
Film Editing by
E. Lloyd Sheldon 
 
Costume Design by
Travis Banton 
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Henry Hathaway .... second unit director (uncredited)
 
Art Department
Hans Dreier .... set designer (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
William H. Clothier .... assistant camera
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Edith Head .... assistant costume designer (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Jesse L. Lasky .... presenter
Adolph Zukor .... presenter
 
Crew believed to be complete


Production CompaniesDistributors
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Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
80 min | Portugal:87 min (director's cut)
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Certification:
Argentina:13 | Finland:K-8 (1992) | Finland:(Banned) (1929) | Portugal:17 (director's cut) | UK:R (original rating) | UK:A (re-rating) (cut) | USA:Not Rated

Did You Know?

Trivia:
"Underworld" was submitted to the British Board of Film Censors three times: - The first submission, under the original title, was rejected because of the sympathetic portrayal of a criminal. - The second submission, under the title "The Penalty" and with cuts, was rejected. - The third submission, under the title "Paying the Penalty" to give the movie a more moral stance, and with additional cuts, was passed with an "A" certificate.See more »
Quotes:
'Bull' Weed:-There was something I had to find out - - and that hour was worth more to me than my whole life.See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Scarface (1932)See more »

FAQ

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18 out of 18 people found the following review useful.
ethics, 20 July 2003
Author: plaidpotato from United States

One of the great joys of prohibition-era gangster films is the colorful dialogue spat out by the likes of James Cagney and Edward G. Robinson. As that element would, obviously, be missing from a silent film, I wasn't sure how I would react to Underworld.

Not to worry. This is a great film, one of the best prohibition-era gangster films I've seen, ranking slightly ahead of Little Caesar and the Public Enemy, and maybe only slightly below Scarface (1932). Tough, tense, tightly written--interestingly, Howard Hawks is credited for the scenario--and with gorgeous DARK cinematography and Josef von Sternberg's usual excellence in direction. I barely missed the lack of gangster-speak.

I suppose this film was a template upon which a lot of gangster films were based. It struck me while watching it how much it had in common with the Coen brothers' Miller's Crossing (1990)--a love triangle between a mob boss, his moll, and his right hand man. And it's all about the gangsters' peculiar code of ethics.

I'd rate it a perfect 10, but for a muddled and badly-handled prison break sequence, which I watched three times and still couldn't figure out. Maybe I'm just dense; maybe it was actually a genius bit of filmmaking and it just flew over my head, but for now, 9/10.

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