Silent 1927 gangster melodrama ‘Underworld’ in Capitol Saturday

The Capitol Theatre, 220 W. Dominick St., presents the 1927 gangster melodrama "Underworld" as part of its silent movie series at 7 p.m. Saturday.

New Jersey organist Bernie Anderson Jr. will accompany it and two short subjects on the Capitol Theatre’s Möller theatre organ, which was installed in the theater in 1928 for the purpose of providing musical accompaniment for silent films.

Admission is $8.50 for adults, $7.50 for seniors and students, $6.50 for Capitol Friends and $1.50 for children age 12 and under. Tickets are available at the door, in advance from the Capitol box office at 337-6453, and online at

The program will run approximately two hours.

The story revolves around a gang kingpin, George Bancroft, who while making his getaway from a bank robbery, kidnaps a passing derelict, Colin Clive, that he fears is a witness to the event. The derelict turns out to be a down-on-his-luck lawyer, who the gang leader rehabilitates and makes his trusted adviser. Complications ensue when the lawyer, who despises the violent world into which he has been forced, falls for the gang leader’s moll, Evelyn Brent.

Noted for its gritty look into the sordid life of the New York criminal element, "Underworld" has often been credited as the picture that started the gangster movie genre.

"Underworld" was directed by Josef von Sternberg, described by Sean Axmaker of Parallax View as a "storyteller of unparalleled talent and one of the great directors of silent cinema."

Also on the bill will be two short subjects: "Bumping Into Broadway" and "Koko Explores." 1919’s "Bumping Into Broadway" stars bespeckled comedian Harold Lloyd as an ambitious young man whose attempts to help a struggling actress Bebe Daniels lead to hilarious consequences. "Koko Explores," from 1927, is a cartoon from Fleischer Studios, which later created Betty Boop and Popeye.

All three silent movies will be shown in 35mm prints on the Capitol’s 20-foot high screen.

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