Law Of The Underworld (1938)

law of the underworld 1938

Good B movie spoiled by an unbelievable ending. What makes it worth seeing are the performances by Eduardo Ciannelli as a gangster and Lee Patrick as a moll.

Tommy and Annabelle are walking through Central Park the night before their wedding. They’re mugged by Rocky (Eduardo Ciannelli) and his pal Frank.

Across town the new D.A. Warren Rogers (Walter Abel) is putting together a crime fighting team. He’s trying to recruit his wealthy friend Gene Fillmore (Chester Morris). Gene says he’s too scared to take an active role.

Rocky and Frank return to gang headquarters. Rocky and the gang’s moll Dorothy Palmer (Lee Patrick) are having an affair behind the boss’ back. Now the boss returns. It’s Gene. While discussing a jewel robbery Gene designed Rocky objects. He thinks it’s too small time. It’s another attempt to gain control of the gang.

To everyone’s surprise Tommy and Annabelle barge in. Tommy has a gun. He tells Rocky he wants his money back. It’s no effort to disarm Tommy. Gene takes them back to his place. He wants them to be part of the robbery. They’ll get two grand.  Gene warns Rocky about any gun play.

Tommy and Annabelle walk into the store and ask to see engagement rings and the salesman brings out some trays. As planned Johnny (Jack Carson) and another gang member start a fight outside. In the confusion Tommy and Annabelle leave and Rocky and the others walk in and rob the place.

As they’re getting away the salesman comes out and Rocky puts a bullet in him. Inside he killed the store owner. While waiting to hear how things went Gene is telling Dorothy that this is the last job and they can get married. He turns on the radio and hears about the killing.

At gang headquarters, the Club Sultan, Rocky is waiting for Gene with a gun. It ends with Gene shooting Rocky thanks to interference from Tommy and Annabelle as Dorothy looks on. The law of the underworld kicks in as the gang wants to put Gene on trial. Dorothy lies about what happened and it looks like curtains for Gene.

Tommy and Annabelle tell them all what really happened and Dorothy storms out. She calls the D.A. and tells him if he wants the gang he should raid the club. She also asks for protection. The joint is raided and all the cops nab are Tommy and Annabelle who are hiding under a table. Gene sends gang member Batsy after Dorothy.

Things look bad for Tommy and Annabelle. The ending is way too righteous but the first two thirds are okay.

Lee Patrick changed her gun moll image of the 40’s in a big way when she played Henrietta Topper in the TV series “Topper” (1953-55).

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About vintage45

I'm a big fan of vintage books,movies,TV shows and music. I encourage everyone to patronize your local used book/record store and pick up some of the good stuff. My posts are capsule reviews of some favorites that you may want to investigate. The albums posted aren't really reviews but items from my collection that are still available. I try and point out highlights of each one and let the music speak for itself. Thanks to all for checking out the blog.
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