IMDb > Underworld (1927)

Underworld (1927) More at IMDbPro »

Photos (See all 5 | slideshow)

Overview

User Rating:
7.8/10   1,372 votes »
Your Rating:
Saving vote...
Deleting vote...
/10   (delete | history)
Sorry, there was a problem
MOVIEmeter: ?
Down 5% 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:
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:
A question of loyalty See more (22 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:
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:[Referring to Rolls Royce] Look at him - Cost me a thousand - Looks like a million.See more »
Movie Connections:

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
17 out of 17 people found the following review useful.
A question of loyalty, 22 July 2004
Author: Igenlode Wordsmith from England

In a way, I suppose this film simply managed to push all the right buttons so far as I was concerned. The basic theme of conflicting love and loyalty is one that has always called to my heart, and the central trio of characters happen to tap into stereotypes of instant appeal: gentle, honourable intellectual - sharp-witted and independent beauty - and brash, brave brute of a bully, as intemperate in his passions as in his lack of taste, and yet not wholly without merit.

But while the initial premise may benefit from join-the-dots attraction, it is the performances and execution of the film that give it its power. All three principals do an outstanding job. Clive Brooks, as the educated man brought low by drink and redeemed by the casual generosity of a gangster, makes use of every shading of expression in a sensitive face, conveying more with fewer words in one glance than anyone else in the cast. His scenes with 'Feathers' are a tour-de-force. Despite his reticence, it's easy to credit that he is not only the most intelligent but - with the ironic vulnerability of the civilised man amidst those who live by tooth and claw - the most idealistic character in the film. Having thrown his lot in with criminals, he does the best he can to keep faith; but his eyes betray everything he cannot say.

Evelyn Brent has perhaps the hardest task, that of raising the moll 'Feathers' into more than just an object of general desire and appendage to her man. From her very first scenes - where she publicly adjusts her garter beneath the thigh-skimming hem of her dress - she radiates allure. But she also comes across as more perceptive and quick than her consort, and far more collected and self-contained. It's not hard to understand her roving eye when she meets a man more intriguing than Bull Weed, the jovial vulgarian who maintains her in the lap of luxury; but it is to the credit of George Bancroft, as 'Bull Weed', that we also sympathies with her reluctance to leave her protector in the lurch when she has the chance.

My admiration for Bancroft's acting gradually increased throughout the film. At the beginning he comes across as little better than a ham, gesturing over-widely and falling into uproarious laughter that is a little too loud and a little too long. But as time progresses it becomes evident that it is not the actor but the gangster himself who is playing a larger-than-life role, and when Bull Weed's defences slip we start to see the limited, confused man behind the act. Striding drunkenly for revenge, he transcends his humanity to become a lurching, elemental force. In court he shrinks to an uncomprehending ox of a man, all swagger gone. And finally, in perhaps Bancroft's finest achievement of all, with no audience left to play to but the shadows, Bull Weed in his betrayal becomes merely human, sinking back into the pretension-free gutter from which he must once have climbed. His last scenes carry a conviction and depth of character on which the success of the film ultimately rests, and which would have been all but unthinkable at the start.

Besides all this, the film itself is quite simply beautiful; beautifully made, beautifully lit, beautifully shot. It's no wonder that it was a smash hit by word of mouth, nor that it still stands up today, where the use of cruder sentiment or melodrama might long since have reduced it to the status of mere historical curiosity.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (22 total) »

Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for Underworld (1927)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Any Idea If This Can Be Seen GiveMeFilm
OH COME ON NOW!!!!!!!! BG43214
New York screening on March 5, 2009 neil57
Was this film previously 'lost?' bob_gilmore1
See more »

Related Links

Full cast and crew Company credits External reviews
News articles IMDb Crime section IMDb USA section

You may report errors and omissions on this page to the IMDb database managers. They will be examined and if approved will be included in a future update. Clicking the 'Edit page' button will take you through a step-by-step process.