IMDb > Underworld (1927)
Underworld
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Underworld (1927) More at IMDbPro »

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Overview

User Rating:
7.7/10   1,746 votes »
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Popularity: ?
Up 2% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Writers:
Charles Furthman (adaptation)
Ben Hecht (story)
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for Underworld on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
29 October 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 »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
Won Oscar. See more »
NewsDesk:
(29 articles)
Scott Reviews Josef von Sternberg’s The Last Command [Masters of Cinema Blu-ray]
 (From CriterionCast. 12 August 2016, 8:48 AM, PDT)

Edge of Doom
 (From Trailers from Hell. 16 May 2016, 4:25 PM, PDT)

Daily | Goings On | Denis, Pialat, Harrington
 (From Keyframe. 17 September 2015, 6:21 AM, PDT)

User Reviews:
Excellent late silent with thoughtful script. See more (24 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)

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

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Paying the Penalty" - Ireland (English title) (imdb display title), UK
See more »
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:Rejected (original rating) | UK:A (re-rating) (cut) | USA:Not Rated

Did You Know?

Trivia:
The film was predicted to be a flop, was shelved by Paramount and eventually released in only one theater in New York. Screenwriter Ben Hecht demanded that his name was taken off the credits. As a result of strong word-of-mouth the movie became an enormous hit and won Hecht the first of his two Academy Awards.See more »
Quotes:
'Bull' Weed:[Referring to Rolls Royce] Look at him - Cost me a thousand - Looks like a million.See more »
Movie Connections:

FAQ

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14 out of 15 people found the following review useful.
Excellent late silent with thoughtful script., 8 May 2002

Ben Hecht's original story won an Oscar the first year of the Academy's existence and it deserved it. The film should have garnered additional noms for Von Sternberg's direction, screenplay and cinematography. All are top of the line.

The story has been copied many times - gang leader rehabilitates down and out highly intelligent former lawyer (who is on the skids) and latter becomes brains of his operation, falls for his girl, but both are too noble to betray their friend. However, the friend gets wind and gets jealous resulting in an ultimate showdown.

The superlative, tight direction of Von Sternberg and the very atmospheric cinematography (heavy use of revealing close-ups and soft focus) along with the adult script make this one of the best gangster films you'll ever see.

It has always puzzled me why another gangster film that year, THE RACKET, earned an Oscar nom for best film while a true original like UNDERWORLD did not get nominated for the top honor.

This is one very worth seeking out - an excellent late silent.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (24 total) »

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