6.5/10
877
21 user 7 critic

King of the Underworld (1939)

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.

Director:

Lewis Seiler

Writers:

George Bricker (screen play), Vincent Sherman (screen play) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

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

Drop That Gun, Killer! See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 January 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Unlawful See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The script for the film was unfinished by the time that principle photography had begun. 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

Aunt Josephine: You're putting your head right in the lion's mouth.
Dr. Carole Nelson: That's what I've got to do.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Diese Drombuschs: Abschied im Zorn (1990) 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

 
A gangster movie with a light touch
20 September 2008 | by LCShackleySee all my reviews

Husband-and-wife doctor team Carole and Niles Nelson are doing modestly well in their careers, but Niles has a gambling problem. His luck changes when he (unknowingly) saves the life of a gangster from Joe Gurney's mob and gets a big bonus from the gangleader himself. Loving his change of fortune (and snazzy new apartment), Niles continues to receive payoffs for patching up other injured members of the gang. Unfortunately, his shady deals come to light in a police raid, which hangs a shadow over his wife's career as well.

At this point the plot comes into focus, as Carole Nelson has to rescue her career before her license is suspended. This involves bringing the gang to justice more or less single- handedly.

This is not a hard-edged gangster picture, but a plot that might have been comfortable on a show like MATLOCK or MURDER SHE WROTE. There is some tension, but the mood is kept light by Bogart's tongue-in-cheek performance of a stupid gangster who imagines himself as the "Napoleon of Crime." His other gang members also function more as stooges than hoodlums. And there's some snappy dialog between Bogart and Francis, especially when she's treating his injuries at his hideout. Of course, as in all gangster flicks, there's a big shootout ending, but with a humorous twist. This is a good short film showing Bogart on his rise to stardom.


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