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The Underworld Story

4.3 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Crime reporter Mike Reese (Dan Duryea) has a nose for news...and an eager hand under the table in return for spinning the truth in favor of moneyed perps. But after he tries to cash in on a story involving a maid accused of a society murder, Reese ultimately finds the courage to reveal the truth and make amends for his tainted past. One of this noirish film's lines of dialogue refers to
ancestral witch burnings. Intentionally or not, the line underscores the imminent blacklisting of The Underworld Story's costar Howard da Silva plus the director and the screenwriter. The intriguing story is by Craig Rice, the famed female mystery writer of the 1940s and '50s who was the cover-story subject of Time's January 28, 1946 issue.

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Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Dan Duryea, Herbert Marshall, Gale Storm, Howard Da Silva
  • Directors: Cyril Endfield
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Warner Bros.
  • DVD Release Date: November 23, 2010
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0043FXQTA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #53,157 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Craig Connell on June 1, 2009
Format: VHS Tape
The more I watch classic films, the more I discover what a great year 1950 was in the movie business. Here's another good film, and one many people are probably unfamiliar with. This one revolves around the newspaper business.

Dan Duryea, as usual, is interesting as "Mike Reese," a bad guy-turned-good guy journalist. He is joined in the cast by Herbert Marshall, Gale Storm (one of the great names in show business and who will forever be "My Little Margie" to those of us who were around in the '50s), Howard Da Silva and Michael O'Shea.

Of the above-mentioned, Da Silva was the most fascinating, as the brutal mob boss "Carl Durham." He only had a minor role, but some of his lines were outstanding and his role was memorable. Da Silva was a great actor for film noirs. This isn't really a noir, but it's close. Marshall was just fine as the newspaper owner.

The film was not kind to the newspaper business, so some media-minded national film critics (who probably had columns in daily papers) didn't like this film for that reason. Nonetheless, it's a powerful film and well-acted. Too bad it's never been offered on DVD.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This DVD features one of the best restorations of a B&W film that we've ever seen (and we've seen a lot!). It is so clear and sharp and the audio matches. A powerful performances by Dan Duryea and some beautiful cinematography add to this really good movie. This is one of the nicest, quality DVDs we've come across.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The reason I got this film was solely to watch the work of its director, Cy Endfield, and I was not disappointed. Endfield's early work is very difficult to find. Having recently seen two of his best, TRY AND GET ME and HELL DRIVERS, at a film festival, I've become a fan. (I'm hoping those two movies are made available to the public soon as they are extraordinarily good.) While this film does not quite measure up to those titles, THE UNDERWORLD STORY is beautifully crafted and has one more indelible performance by the great noir character actor, Dan Duryea.
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Format: DVD
I have learned something about film noir by attending the annual noir city DC film festival held at the American Film Institute Theater in Silver Spring and cosponsored by the Film Noir Foundation. I had the opportunity to see this rare 1950 film,"The Underworld Story" on large screen in a newly restored 35 mm print sponsored by the Film Noir Foundation. The presentation was in commemoration of the film's 65th anniversary. Foster Hirsch, a scholar of film noir and a member of the Foundation board gave a brief insightful introduction to the film. The title of the film "The Underworld Story" is something of a misnomer in that organized crime plays a secondary role.

Cy Endfield directed the film shortly before he was blacklisted as a result of the work of the House Un-American Activities Committee. Howard Da Silva, who played the gangster in the film was blacklisted as well. Much of the film seems to predict the anti-communist "witch-hunting" that would soon lead to the blacklisting. The movie discusses the power of masses and of the press, for good and for ill. The film is based on a story by Craig Rice, a pseudonym for an early woman writer of mysteries, Georgiana Ann Randolph Craig (1908 -- 1957).

The film stars Dan Duryea as an ambitious and seemingly unprincipled reporter, Mike Reese. He gets fired from his big city job and connives his way to purchase a share of a struggling small New England newspaper, owned by Catherine Harris (Gale Storm). When the daughter-in-law of a powerful newspaper is murdered, Reese, ever on the alert for the main chance, tries to rescue the small paper's failing fortunes by sensationalistic reporting. An African-American woman, the maid of the murder victim, is falsely accused of the murder.
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Format: VHS Tape
"The Underworld Story" concerns a yellow journalist who publishes an exposé that results in a gangland killing.

Mike Reese (Duryea) is blacklisted for this and his supposed connection to a mob boss. When he can't find another job Reese buys a half-interest in a small New England paper by getting the cash from gambling kingpin Carl Durham (da Silva)-- the very man he was wrongly accused of associating with. Reese then tries to profit from the murder of a newpaper magnate's daughter.

As of 2/09, "Underworld Story" was not available on DVD.

Also recommended:
Richard Widmark plays one of his "patented" gangster types in the shadowy true crime drama, THE STREET WITH NO NAME (1950). (VHS edition) (DVD edition)

Parenthetical number preceding title is a 1 to 10 viewer poll rating found at a film resource website.

(6.9) The Underworld Story (1950) - Dan Duryea/Herbert Marshall/Gale Storm/Howard Da Silva/Michael O'Shea/Alan Hale Jr. (uncredited: Ned Glass)
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