Written by / 5/08/2021 / No comments / , , , , , , , , , , ,

RICHARD RUST STEALS SAMUEL FULLER'S 'UNDERWORLD U.S.A.'

Rust & Robertson in the USA Year: 1961 Rates: ***1/2

This gritty Samuel Fuller Post-Noir has a teenage hood trained by his hoodlum father while raised by a bar-owning lush with a heart of gold, setting up your basic revenge tale since the kid witnessed his old man beaten and killed in a shadow-filled alley by four men — but he only actually sees one of them...

And thus grows into a contentedly crooked Cliff Robertson, whose Tolly Devlin, serving time, finds that one recognized killer dying in jail, of natural causes, but not before naming names so that, when Tully gets out, the body count vengeance trail begins... 

Sadly, this intriguing set-up gets distracted by the UNDERWORLD crime-bosses and especially, on the other side of the fence, the District Attorney: What should have remained tighter to Robertson's dogged perspective loses steam and lacks focus... 

Yet is sporadically made up for NOT by his character, dealing with melodramatic ingenue Dolores Dorn, looked-after by that experienced surrogate-mother Beatrice Kay (aptly channeling Thelma Ritter from Fuller's PICKUP ON SOUTH STREET), whose creepy doll collection adds to the director's surreal 1960's arthouse-aesthetic that'd continue with SHOCK THERAPY and THE NAKED KISS... But the scene-stealer is a coldly handsome thug/shooter played by Richard Rust as Gus, chain-smoking while killing left and right (even deliberately running over a kid on a bicycle): narrowing-down what would have been a far less effective crime-thriller without him — a reminder to the audience of what's the unapologetic heartless of the matter.  

Kevin Bacon lookalike (or vice versa) Richard Rust in UNDERWORLD U.S.A.
Richard Rust in UNDERWORLD U.S.A.
Dolores Dorn  in UNDERWORLD U.S.A.
Richard Rust in UNDERWORLD U.S.A. with Cliff Robertson
Cliff Robertson and Beatrice Kay in UNDERWORLD U.S.A.
Richard Rust in UNDERWORLD U.S.A.
Richard Rust in UNDERWORLD U.S.A.
Richard Rust in UNDERWORLD U.S.A. w/ Cliff Robertson & Robert Ernhardt
Kevin Bacon doppelganger (vice versa rather) Richard Rust in UNDERWORLD U.S.A.
Richard Rust in UNDERWORLD U.S.A.
Richard Rust in UNDERWORLD U.S.A. with Cliff Robertson
David Kent as a young Cliff Robertson in UNDERWORLD U.S.A.
Cliff Robertson in UNDERWORLD U.S.A.
Twilight Time Blu Ray cover of UNDERWORLD U.S.A.
Richard Rust as Gus in UNDERWORLD U.S.A.
Richard Rust as Cliff Robertson in UNDERWORLD U.S.A.
David Kent mugs an old drunk to Molly Malloy in Underground USA
Richard Rust and Joni Beth Morris in UNDERWORLD U.S.A.
Richard Rust and Joni Beth Morris in UNDERWORLD U.S.A.

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