Underworld, U.S.A. is a slick gangster melodrama made to order for filmgoers who prefer screen fare explosive and uncomplicated. In this picture, the 'hero' sets out on a four-ply vendetta of staggering proportions and accomplishes his mission with the calculation and poise of a pro bowler racking up a simple four-way spare.

Underworld, U.S.A. is a slick gangster melodrama made to order for filmgoers who prefer screen fare explosive and uncomplicated. In this picture, the ‘hero’ sets out on a four-ply vendetta of staggering proportions and accomplishes his mission with the calculation and poise of a pro bowler racking up a simple four-way spare.

The yarn follows the wicked career of supposedly decent but hate-motivated, revenge-consumed fellow who, as a youngster, witnessed in horror the gangland slaying of his father by four budding racketeers.

As the central figure, Cliff Robertson delivers a brooding, virile, finely balanced portrayal. It’s a first-rate delineation atop a cast that performs expertly. Dolores Dorn supplies romantic interest with sufficient sincerity, and Beatrice Kay is persuasive as the decent, compassionate woman whose fervent, but unfulfilled, desire for motherhood gives rise to a vague mother-son relationship with Robertson.

Director Samuel Fuller’s screenplay [from the Saturdaty Evening Post articles by Joseph F. Dinneen] has its lags, character superficialities and unlikelihoods, but it is crisp with right-sounding gangster jargon and remains absorbing.

Underworld, U.S.A.

Production

Globe/Columbia. Director Samuel Fuller; Producer Samuel Fuller; Screenplay Samuel Fuller; Camera Hal Mohr; Editor Jerome Thoms; Music Harry Sukman; Art Director Robert Peterson

Crew

(B&W) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1961. Running time: 98 MIN.

With

Cliff Robertson Dolores Dorn Beatrice Kay Paul Dubov Richard Rust Larry Gates
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