Chicago (1927 film)
|Directed by||Frank Urson|
|Produced by||Cecil B. DeMille|
|Written by||Lenore J. Coffee|
by Maurine Dallas Watkins
|Cinematography||J. Peverell Marley|
|Edited by||Anne Bauchens|
|Distributed by||Pathé Exchange|
|Language||Silent (English intertitles)|
The plot of the film is drawn from the play Chicago by Maurine Dallas Watkins which was in turn based on the true story of Beulah Annan, fictionalized as Roxie Hart (Phyllis Haver), and her spectacular murder of her boyfriend.
The silent film adds considerably to the material in Watkins' play, some additions based on the original murder, and some for Hollywood considerations. The murder, which occurs in a very brief vignette before the play begins, is fleshed out considerably. Also, Roxie's husband Amos Hart (played by Victor Varconi) has a much more sympathetic and active role in the film than he does either in the play or in the subsequent musical. The ending is crueler to Roxie, in keeping with Hollywood values of not allowing criminals to profit too much from their crimes (although she does get away with murder).
- Phyllis Haver as Roxie Hart
- Victor Varconi as Amos Hart
- Virginia Bradford as Katie
- Robert Edeson as Billy Flynn
- Eugene Pallette as Fred Casely
- Warner Richmond as Asst. District Attorney
- T. Roy Barnes as Reporter
- Clarence Burton as Police sergeant
- Julia Faye as Velma Kelly
- May Robson as Matron Mama Morton
- Viola Louie as Two Gun Rosie
The film was long difficult to see, but a recent print was made available from the UCLA Film and Television Archive, enabling the film to play at festivals and historic theaters around the country. This has greatly improved the reputation of the film.
A print of Chicago also survives at Gosfilmofond Russian State Archives.
- Zsófia Anna Tóth. “The Merry Murderers”: The Farcical (Re)Figuration of the Femme Fatale in Maurine Dallas Watkins’ Chicago (1927) and its various adaptations. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Szeged, 2010.
- "The Representation of Aggressive Women in Various Adaptations of Maurine Dallas Watkins's Chicago," Americana: Ejournal of American Studies in Hungary, 4 (1), Spring 2008.
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