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


Overview

User Rating:
7.8/10   1,190 votes »
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Down 17% 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:
Wonderful Surprise 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)
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:
'Feathers' McCoy:[to Rolls Royce] How long since you had the body washed and polishd?See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Rio Bravo (1959)See more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
Wonderful Surprise, 2 May 2012
Author: Prof_Lostiswitz from Cyberia

I had read elsewhere that Underworld was the first film noir, but I didn't have high expectations before I saw the Criterion release. The action flows quickly and compellingly, while the noir scenes are beautifully done. A lot of it resembles Metropolis - the dance-hall scenes, the factory whistle, etc.

A lot of what I thought was original in Scarface (1932) is anticipated here - Ben Hecht wrote both of them. The love triangle, the flower shop, the apocalyptic shoot-out are much the same. Hecht complained about the (few) sentimental bits in Underworld, obviously Scarface was his come- back to Sternberg - but he owes a big debt to Sternberg for inventing so much new visual language.

Film noir seems to have developed gradually out of the chiaroscuro used by painters, as and when cameras became capable of it. The last third of Pandora's Box is noir, as is much of The Wind and most of The Lodger. The Lodger is probably the first all noir, but it is inferior to Underworld - Hitchcock was undermined by matinée-idol Ivor Novello's demand for a safe and innovative ending.

Definitely a must-see - too many people overlook silent cinema.

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