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King of the Underworld (1939)

Passed  -  Crime | Drama | Romance  -  14 January 1939 (USA)
6.5
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 627 users  
Reviews: 19 user | 4 critic

After the killing of her husband by friendly fire during a police raid, Dr. Carol Nelson tries to find gangster Joe Gurney to clear her name with the medical board.

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(screen play), (screen play), 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Carol Nelson
James Stephenson ...
Bill Stevens
John Eldredge ...
Niles Nelson
Jessie Busley ...
Aunt Josephine
Arthur Aylesworth ...
Dr. Sanders
Raymond Brown ...
Sheriff
Harland Tucker ...
Mr. Ames
Ralph Remley ...
Mr. Robert
Charley Foy ...
Slick
Murray Alper ...
Eddie
Joe Devlin ...
Porky
Elliott Sullivan ...
Mugsy
Alan Davis ...
Pete
John Harmon ...
Slats
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Storyline

Niles and Carol Nelson are married doctors who save one of gang lord Gurney's men. Gurney exploits them, then kills Niles leaving Carol to take the fall. He next kidnaps writer Bill Stephens to write his biography. Knowing Bill will be killed when the biography is finished, Carol takes matters into her own hands. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Ruthless Killer vs. Lady Doctor ! It's red-blooded action all the way ! See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

14 January 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Unlawful  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Several actors in studio records for the movie "King of the Underworld (1939)" were not seen in the film; these include, with their character names if any, Peggy Moran (Young Man's Wife), Davison Clark (Foreman), Jerry Fletcher (Young Man), Francis Sayles (Furniture Store Proprietor), Vera Lewis and Frank Orth. See more »

Goofs

The night scenes of the raid on the Gurney hideout are mismatched. It goes from day-for-night to what appears to be genuine darkness. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Carole Nelson: [sticking thermometer in Gurney's mouth] Keep your mouth shut.
Joe Gurney: Hey, d'ya year that? That's a hot one. First time anybody ever told me to keep my mouth shut and got away with it.
Dr. Carole Nelson: I suppose that's something to boast about.
Joe Gurney: You bet it is! Hey Doc... anybody ever tell you that you're a pretty good lookin' doll? Ah, I'm not kiddin'. Y'know, I don't go for dolls as a rule. I mean, they're just something nice to have around the house like cats and dogs and pets and things. You got brains.
Dr. Carole Nelson: Yeah, I'm ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Version of Dr. Socrates (1935) See more »

Soundtracks

Jezebel
(1938) (uncredited)
Music by Harry Warren
Played when Joe receives the telephone call before the operation
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Bogart puts comic spin on dumb criminal in programmer...
8 April 2013 | by (U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

The central role in this low-budget crime melodrama really belongs to KAY FRANCIS, and she makes her lady doctor pretty believable. But it's HUMPHREY BOGART who walks off with the show, which is no more than a programmer made on the cheap, by playing up the comic elements of his character.

Bogart is an illiterate man who wants his "genius" to be known. He kidnaps a man (James Stephenson) with a reputation as a writer in order to tell him his life story and make him the "king of the underworld." But Kay Francis spoils all his plans when she has to prove herself innocent of criminal charges pending against her due to a prior event. She fools the hoods into believing they will go blind if they don't let her help them.

The story has several implausible script problems and never really comes off as credible. Interesting only to see that Bogart was far more worthy of his early material than the studio realized. And Kay Francis has one of her more believable roles in this crime melodrama.


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