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The Underworld Story

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The Underworld Story

The Underworld Story
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Cy Endfield
Produced by Hal E. Chester
Screenplay by Henry Blankfort
Cy Endfield
Story by Craig Rice
Starring Dan Duryea
Herbert Marshall
Gale Storm
Howard Da Silva
Music by David Rose
Cinematography Stanley Cortez
Edited by Richard V. Heermance
FilmCraft Productions
Distributed by United Artists
Release dates
  • July 26, 1950 (1950-07-26) (United States)
Running time
91 minutes
Country United States
Language English

The Underworld Story is a 1950 American film noir directed by Cy Endfield and featuring Dan Duryea, Herbert Marshall, and Gale Storm. Howard Da Silva plays the loud-mouthed gangster Carl Durham, one of his last roles before becoming blacklisted.[1]

The newspaperman played by Duryea is similar in tone (a reporter that does anything for publicity for himself regardless of ethics) to Kirk Douglas in Billy Wilder's Ace in the Hole (1951). This B-movie was shot in black and white by director Cy Endfield and cinematographer Stanley Cortez.


  • Plot 1
  • Cast 2
  • Reception 3
    • Critical response 3.1
  • References 4
  • External links 5


When newspaper reporter Mike Reese (Duryea) loses his job at a big city paper he finds that no one else will hire him. Reese borrows money from a gangster and buys half the interest in a small-town newspaper, The Lakewood Gazette, in the town of Lakeville. The newspaper is owned by Catherine Harris (Storm), who immediately has differences with Reese on how the paper should operate. Reese, trying to use the paper as a step up, latches onto a murder of a woman who happens to be the daughter-in-law of a newspaper magnate. When a local black woman is suspected, Reese turns the story into a media circus and soon his reporting is back in the spotlight again. The film is notable for the pejorative use of the word "nigger", though this is clearly dubbed, not what was originally filmed.



Critical response

The New York Times film critic, Bosley Crowther, panned the film. He wrote, "It is so poorly made, so haphazard and so full of detectable holes that it carries no impact or conviction, regardless of credibility. Mr. Chester and his associates are free to proclaim, if they wish, that newspaper men are no good. We think the same of his film."[2]

Film historian and critic Billy Wilder's Ace in the Hole, raw greed leads to gross injustice. Like Wilder's venal Chuck Tatum, the reporter in The Underworld Story thinks of little beyond the next fast buck. 'Times are tough all over,' says a cynical official. 'Pretty soon a man won't be able to sell his own mother.'"[3]


  1. ^ The Underworld Story at the American Film Institute Catalog.
  2. ^ Crowther, Bosley. The New York Times, film review, July 27, 1950. Accessed: August 17. 2013.
  3. ^ Erickson, Glenn. DVD Savant, film/DVD review, October 16, 2010. Accessed: August 17. 2013.

External links

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