Underwoorld, without mentioning Chicago as the scene of the ensuing maching-gun warfare between the crooks and cops, evidently is a page out of Ben Hecht’s underworld acquaintance with the Cicero and South Side gun mob.
There’s a wallop right through and yet the film retains romance, clicks not a little on comedy (through the medium of Larry Semon) and even whitewashes itself with a ‘moral’ that banditry cannot successfully defy the law and that the wages of sin are death.
Hecht could have made Underworld a true biography of Cicero with the ‘alky’ gun mob, with a little switching of the motivation, but instead of bootlegging, our hero is a jewelry store sampler. George Bancroft as Bull Weed, a sympathetic crook, explains why Paramount re-signed him by his performance in Underworld. Clive Brook, cast as the regenerated drunkard an Evelyn Brent, as Bancroft’s girl, complete the outstanding trio.