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Underworld U.S.A.

USA 1961. Dir: Samuel Fuller. 99 min. DCP

“Every shot is a smack in the eye” (V. K. Perkins) in Underworld U.S.A., a ruthless, relentless revenge noir from pulp-fiction primitivist Sam Fuller (Pickup on South Street, The Naked Kiss). The film transforms the G-Men-versus-gangsters thriller into something akin to a war movie — another violent genre for which Fuller had sensational, lurid flare. Cliff Robertson is pitiless anti-hero Tolly Devlin. As a boy, he witnessed his hoodlum father murdered by the Mob. Now he works both sides of the war between the FBI and the Syndicate — and exploits blonde babe Cuddles (Dolores Dom), who loves him — in a single-minded quest for vengeance. The film likely influenced Boorman’s Point Blank (also screening in this program). “The masterpiece among Fuller’s crime films, this marries a penetrating analysis of organized crime to the shock-therapy of Fuller’s style” (BFI Companion to Crime).


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REVIEWS

"Arguably Fuller’s most efficient, brutal, and unsentimental film."

Senses of Cinema | full review