She always plays peekaboo… right before she shoots you. Animated GIF


Phyllis Haver was the silver screen’s first Roxie Hart and does she ever own the part! The 1927 version of Chicago is a mad bit of twenties wildness and Miss Haver’s performance is a huge part of what makes it a success.

The plot, if you will recall, is that Roxie plugs her lover and then tries to get off the hook with the help of a very clever lawyer. Thought lost for decades, it was rediscovered in the personal archive of Cecil B. DeMille (the film’s uncredited director) and has finally been restored to its rightful place as one of the darlings of the silent movie fandom.


It’s working, shutup willya? Animated GIF


Phyllis Haver’s wonderfully expressive face is one of the great assets of the 1927 film version of Chicago (yes, that Chicago). Her Roxie Hart is a somewhat homicidal gal with a heart of pure granite. In this case, she is hiding from the bill collector when he comes to call. Ukuleles, player pianos and silk lingerie are not free, as it turns out. Five minutes later, she plugs her lover with a revolver. Oh that Roxie!

You can read my review of the film here.


“This is a decent jail!” Animated GIF

chicago-1927-this-is-a-decent-jailPhyllis Haver’s Roxie Hart and Julia Faye’s Velma have met their match with the jailhouse matron. The battle started with Velma accusing Roxie of using peroxide, Roxie pulling off Velma’s wiglet and it all went downhill from there. The root of the animosity? Which one of these dishy murderesses is the more famous or, should I say, infamous? Who has more columns, more photos, more condemnation from decent citizens?

Ah, Chicago. I love you so!


A beautifully restored print has been released on DVD by Flicker Alley.