Underworld (1927)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.5

USA, 1927.  Story by , titles by , adaptation by , .  Cinematography by .  Music by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by

This excellent, beautifully shot drama is considered the film that sparked the craze for gangster movies in the thirties. Rough thug  finds his lawyer friend  at a bar and convinces him to give up the booze, turning the man from a useless bum to a dapper dan in no time. When Bancroft deals with a rival for ‘s affection by getting violent with him, he goes to prison, which does not soothe his worries about losing his dame one bit. He immediately assumes that he has gone to the joint because she’s running around on him with Brook and that they’ve been plotting together from the beginning. Meanwhile, she actually does plot with Brook, but to work out how they’re going to bust Bancroft out and not to run away with each other. Shadowy photography pierced by gorgeous neon lights make it an early example of film noir well before it would become an industry standard, and the performances are terrific.

The Criterion Collection:  #529

Academy Award:  Best Original Story

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s