The first screen adaptation of Chicago was a silent film and a rather saucy one at that. Phyllis Haver is on fire as the heartless Roxie Hart, who shoots her lover and spends the rest of the film attempting to game the legal system in order to get off scot-free.
It’s all very roaring but some concessions to the censors reduce its bite. However, it is still a smashing bit of twenties fun from Cecil B. DeMille, the uncredited director, and Haver is an absolute delight.
How does it end? Hover or tap below for a spoiler.Roxie does get off but the press deserts her for a newer, more exciting murderess. Roxie’s husband dumps her for a nicer girl. Roxie is free but alone.
Read my full-length review here. I also cover the defanged Code-era remake with Ginger Rogers in the lead.
If it were a dessert it would be: A deep-fried Oreo. No one pretends it is health food but it’s not like anyone was making that claim in the first place. Just sit back and enjoy the naughtiness.
Availability: Released as a fully-loaded DVD by Flicker Alley.
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I adore this movie. It created an appreciation for Victor Varconi that never came from any of his talkie appearances.
We saw it at the Silent Revue screening in Toronto last year where it was accompanied by a jazz trio. Great fun.
– Caftan Woman
Ooo, it sounds like quite the event!
This is a wonderful film of the late silent era: intensely absorbing with a perfect ending & a fine musical score. This is one of my two great “finds” of the last two years, a “find” being an excellent silent movie that I had never heard of before despite lifelong love of the form. The other, which would make a good companion feature, is “The Power of the Press.”
Yes, both wonderful.
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