“Underworld USA”

May 28, 2008

1961. The last Durango Kid film was 1952’s “The Kid From Broken Gun”. It was also Charley’s last film.

Except for an uncredited role in this Samuel Fuller classic.

Watching “Underworld USA” was like playing an extended game of “Where’s Charley?” Every time someone mentions a character before we meet him, my ears perked up.

Could he be Gela, Gunther, Smith or Vic Ferrer — the four men who beat Cliff Robertson’s father to death in an alley? Could he be the prison Doc Meredeth who Cliff cons into helping him discover the identity of his father’s killers? Could he be Chief of Detective Fowler, who’s on the take? Or the missing bookkeeper Menkin? Or even Earl Conner, the Underworld Chief?

SPOILER ALERT: Charley played none of these roles!

Whoever started this internet rumor, I would like to thank you for an enjoyable evening revisiting a great old film. However, Charley ain’t in it!

It’s too bad. It’s a juicy idea. Maverick Sam Fuller casts retired Western star in small but pivotal role, which he plays without credit. I was even imagining that maybe Fuller casts a bunch of other Western heroes of yesterday — Tex Ritter, Tex Harding, Russell Hayden — and they all played mob bosses in a big sit-down scene or something.

Alas.

I don’t know how this started, but I did see that, according to IMDB, there is someone in the cast by the name of

Charles Sterrett Investigator (uncredited)