King of the Underworld (1939)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

A remake of Dr. Socrates (1935), this middling melodrama features Kay Francis as Carol Nelson, a medical doctor blaming gangster Joe Gurney (Humphrey Bogart) for the death of her husband (John Eldredge) during a police raid. Determined to get even, Dr. Nelson sets up practice in a small town where a couple of Gurney's henchmen are serving time. And sure enough, Gurney is soon in dire need of Carol's help after being wounded in a jailhouse break. Convincing the gang boss and his men that they all suffer from eye infections, the good doctor proceeds to blind the mobsters with adrenaline eye drops and then calls the cops. Warner Bros. used the general idea a third time in Bullet Scars (1942), yet another B-movie.
Classics , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
Warner Home Video

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Kay Francis
as Dr. Carole Nelson
Humphrey Bogart
as Joe Gurney
James Stephenson
as Bill Stevens
John Eldredge
as Dr. Niles Nelson
Jessie Busley
as Aunt Josephine
Arthur Ayleswofth
as Dr. Sanders
Raymond Brown
as Sheriff
Harland Tucker
as Mr. Ames
Ralph M. Remley
as Mr. Robert
Charley Foy
as Slick
Charles Foy
as Eddie
Joe Devlin
as Porky
Alan Davis
as Slick
John Harmon
as Slats
Richard Bond
as Intern
Paul MacWilliams
as Anesthetist
Richard Quine
as Student
Stuart Holmes
as Doorman
Vera Lewis
as Woman
William Gould
as Chief of Police
Clem Bevans
as Villager
Carl Stockdale
as Villager
Nat Carr
as Villager
Jack Mower
as G-Man
John Harron
as G-Man
Jimmy O'Gatty
as Gangster
Frank Bruno
as Gangster
Paul Panzer
as Gangster
Cliff Saum
as Gangster
Doc Stone
as Gangster
Tom Wilson
as Deputy
Lotta Williams
as Farmer Couple
Glen Cavender
as Deputy
Pierre Watkin
as District Attorney
Edwin Stanley
as Dr. Jacobs
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Critic Reviews for King of the Underworld

All Critics (1)

It's not a very good melodrama, but it was nevertheless enjoyable.

Full Review… | September 22, 2008
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for King of the Underworld

A good gentleman has got to know when to be just, severe, or mild A doctor and his wife run an inconsistent practice in suburban town. The physician performs inconsistently because he is distracted by illegal activities. Eventually, the illegal activities catch up with him and he is gunned down. The wife is left to start her own practice which struggles because her deceased husband had mob ties. Fortunately, the mob boss affiliated with her husband becomes her number one customer and opens the window for her to obtain revenge... "The public always takes sides. What they want is a show." Lewis Seiler, director of Kisses for Breakfast, Pittsburgh, The Big Shot, Doll Face, Crime School, Deception, and Ginger, delivers King of the Underworld. The storyline for this picture is fascinating and unfolds nicely. The script is clever with several nice Napoleon references. The cast delivers their characters well and includes Humphrey Bogart, Kay Francis, and James Stephenson. "This is a small town, you know." "And there are some small people' Ever since I saw Home Alone as a kid I have wanted to go back and see Bogart gangster pictures. His voice is so perfect for this genre and he delivers the characters perfectly. I loved Bogart and his display of ignorance and arrogance at the same time. He portrays his character perfectly and Francis plays off his performance well. This is a worthwhile old school gangster picture that is very entertaining and clever. "You're putting your head right in the lion's mouth." Grade: B

Kevin Robbins
Kevin Robbins

Humphrey Bogart plays a really Dumb Gangster,Joe Gurney, in this one. Seems to me you need to be a bit Diabolical & Intelligent to be successful as "King of the Underworld".Makes it too easy for Dr. Carol Nelson(Kay Francis) to avenge her husbands death & writer Bill Stevens(James Stephenson) to make a fool of him.

Marilee Aschwanden
Marilee Aschwanden

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