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Underworld (1927)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 29 October 1927 (USA)
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 ... 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 See more »


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
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

'Bull' Weed: -There was something I had to find out - - and that hour was worth more to me than my whole life.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Scarface (1983) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Lost Gem That Deserves to Be Seen (Especially with New Soundtrack!)
4 November 2007 | by MITCH!See all my reviews

I just saw a re-issue of this film tonight as part of the 26th annual Three Rivers Film Festival in Pittsburgh and I was highly satisfied. The Alloy Orchestra were on-hand to provide an all-new live score, which created a near-perfect match for this underrated classic.

The acting was spot-on (although admittedly a much different style than modern audiences are used to), the set design and lighting were pitch-perfect (check out the copious amounts of confetti at the Underworld Ball), and the complexities of the characters and plot line far exceeded anything I was expecting from an 80 year-old film. Suffice it to say that modern cinema has not cornered the market on engaging, surprising and provocative storytelling.

If you have a chance to see Underworld, particularly when accompanied by the Alloy Orchestra, take the opportunity. It's a rarefied experience that's well worth your 90 minutes.


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