Written by: Michael Den Boer on April 7th, 2018
BluRay released: March 20th, 2018
Approximate running times: 98 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: DTS-HD Mono English
Subtitles: English SDH
BluRay Release: Twilight Time
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $29.95
Underworld U.S.A. was written and directed by Samuel Fuller whose other notable films include, Pickup on South Street, House of Bamboo, The Crimson Kimono, Shock Corridor, The Naked Kiss and The Big Red One. Key collaborators on Underworld U.S.A. include, cinematographer Hal Mohr (Woman on the Run, The Wild One) and composer Harry Sukman (A Bullet for Joey, Salem’s Lot).
Content wise, Underworld U.S.A. has all the ingredients that have since become synonymous with the Film Noir genre. The premise is well executed and the briskly paced narrative ensures that there is never a dull moment. The characters are well-defined and their motivations are never in doubt. Another strength of this film is Tolly’s relationship with a young woman named Cuddles. There is a dynamic to their relationship that is in direct contrast to the type of relationship’s that usually befall Film Noir protagonist’s.
The cast is very good in their respective roles. With this film’s standout performances being, Cliff Robertson’s (Too Late the Hero, Obsession) in the role of this film’s protagonist Tolly Devlin. He delivers an utterly convincing performance that perfectly captures his characters intensity. This film’s most memorable performance is Richard Rust (Homicidal, Naked Angels) in the role of a sadistic hit-man named Gus Cottahee.
From a production stand point, there is not an area where this film does not excel. The black and white cinematography let the performances take center stage. And the visuals do a superb job reinforcing the escalating tension.
Standout moments include, the scene where Tolly witnesses his father’s death, the scene where a corrupt police chief commits suicide, the scene where Gus Cottahee runs over a young girl riding her bike and the film’s finale provides a very satisfying resolution to the events that have just unfolded.
Underworld U.S.A. comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. The source used for this transfer is in excellent shape. The image looks sharp, black and contrast levels are consistently strong throughout, grain looks natural and there are no issues with compression.
This release comes with one audio option, a DTS-HD mono mix in English and included with this release are removable English SDH subtitles. The audio sounds, clean, clear, balanced and robust, when it needs too.
Extras for this release include, an option to view the Twilight Time catalog, an eight-page booklet with an essay about the film’s written by Julie Kirgo, an option to listen to an Isolated music track, a trailer for the film (2 minutes 25 seconds), a featurette titled Martin Scorsese on Underworld U.S.A. (5 minutes 8 seconds) and a featurette titled Sam Fuller Storyteller (24 minutes 14 seconds).
Topics discussed in the interview with Martin Scorsese include, his thoughts about Underworld U.S.A. and Sam Fuller.
The extra titled Sam Fuller Storyteller is a tribute to Sam Fuller that includes comments from those who knew him. Besides Underworld U.S.A., this extra also touches upon the other films that Fuller directed that were distributed by Columbia Pictures.
Overall Underworld U.S.A. gets a solid release from Twilight Time, highly recommended.
Note: This Blu-Ray release is a limited-edition release of 3,000 copies.