7.7/10
2,063
26 user 37 critic

Underworld (1927)

Boisterous gangster kingpin Bull Weed rehabilitates his former lawyer from his alcoholic haze, but complications arise when he falls for Weed's girlfriend.

Directors:

Josef von Sternberg, Arthur Rosson (uncredited)

Writers:

Charles Furthman (adaptation) (as Charles Furthmann), Ben Hecht (story) | 2 more credits »
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Won 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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 Jerry Mandy ... Paloma
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Storyline

'Nobody helps me -- I help them!' boasts open-handed gangster Bull Weed, handing over what will prove to be the best investment in his high-spending career: a thousand dollars that will put the literate 'Rolls Royce' of vagrants back on his feet. Living it up in the Twenties with the aid of cool but smouldering moll Feathers, the Bull lords it over the law and his rivals alike -- specifically big Buck Mulligan, whose floral-tributes business echoes that of a certain real-life Chicago gangster... Yet Feathers, prize possession and object of envy, proves his weak point; and in the end, Bull Weed will indeed come to need help from others, and more than he has ever needed it before. But can Rolls Royce and Feathers still give it to him? And will the Bull accept? Written by Igenlode Wordsmith

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Seething Melodrama


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

29 October 1927 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La ley del hampa See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$753,300, 31 December 1928
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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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 »

Connections

Featured in The House That Shadows Built (1931) See more »

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User Reviews

 
early classic gangster
14 July 2015 | by SnoopyStyleSee all my reviews

Bull Weed is a boisterous gangster bank robber. His girlfriend is the flashy Feathers McCoy. His rival is Buck Mulligan. Wensel is a vagrant but he's no snitch. He's a Rolls Royce of silence. Bull gives Rolls Royce a thousand bucks and makes him a partner in crime. Using Rolls Royce's brains, Bull becomes even more successful. At a wild party, Buck attacks Feathers and an angry drunken Bull kills him. Bull is sent to prison. Feathers convinces Rolls Royce to run away with her but she changes her mind to break him out of prison.

This is a great pre-Depression era gangster movie. It has the classic gangster style and characters. It's a silent movie that lays out the genre that would explode a few years later. This is one in a line of developments in the gangster genre.


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