Gangsters -- United States -- Drama, Revenge -- Drama

Underworld U.S.A.

Archival 35mm Print


Cliff Robertson, Dolores Dorn, Beatrice Kay, Paul Dubov,

As a teenager, petty thief Tolly Devlin sees his father savagely beaten to death in a dark alley, and payback becomes his life’s pursuit. In Fuller’s purest film noir, starkly photographed by Hal Mohr in deep shadows with occasionally ricocheting cameras, Cliff Robertson’s Devlin is a brutishly single-minded protagonist, a far cry from the wily but magnetic pickpocket of Pickup on South Street or the hooker with a heart of gold in The Naked Kiss. Doomed by his revenge motive, he is an amoral hood through and through: his substitute mother cleans his wounds and tries to keep him straight, but he still eyes the combination lock on her safe. When a would-be lover declares her desire for his children, he responds with insults and derisive laughter. In Fuller’s noir universe, there’s no redemption for the pathologically obsessed.

Peter Conheim
  • Samuel Fuller
  • Hal Mohr
Print Info
  • B&W
  • 35mm
  • 99 mins
  • Academy Film Archive
  • Swank Motion Pictures

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View Underworld U.S.A. documents  

Samuel Fuller (program note), Institut Valencià de l'Audiovisual i de Cinematografia Ricardo Muñoz Suay, Quim Casas, 2010

Underworld USA (program note), Cinematheque Ontario/a division of Toronto International Film Festival Group, James Quandt, 1999

Pulp fictions: the films of Samuel Fuller (program note), Cinematheque Ontario/a division of Toronto International Film Festival Group, James Quandt, 1998

Un Americain en Normandie: le jour j de Samuel Fuller (press kit), GMT Productions, Noël Simsolo, 1994

Revivals in focus -- excerpt (review), Village Voice, Andrew Sarris, 1987

The American cinema (program note), Blake Lucas, 1970

Excerpt from an interview with Sam Fuller (before he shot The naked kiss) (program note), 1969

Underworld, U.S.A. (review), Monthly Film Bulletin, P.J.D., 1962

Underworld, U.S.A. (review), Variety, Tube., 1961

Underworld, U.S.A. (review), Filmfacts, 1961

Displaying 10 of 17 publicly available documents.

View all Underworld U.S.A. documentation on CineFiles.