English titles WriterMaurine Dallas Watkins, Lenore J. Coffee Release dateDecember 27, 1927 (1927-12-27) Based onChicago
by Maurine Dallas Watkins CastPhyllis Haver (Roxie Hart), Victor Varconi (Amos Hart), Virginia Bradford (Katie), Robert Edeson (William Flynn), Eugene Pallette (Rodney Casley), Warner Richmond (Asst. District Attorney) Similar moviesThe Ring, Miss Lulu Bett, For Alimony Only, Nice People, Tenth Avenue, A Ship Comes In
Chicago 1927 silent film nitehawk cinema live sound cinema live guizot
A married woman (Phyllis Haver) becomes a media sensation when she stands trial for shooting her lover.
Chicago is a 1927 comedy-drama silent film produced by Cecil B. DeMille and directed by Frank Urson.
Based on a true crime story, the movie is about a wild jazz-loving and boozing wife Roxie Hart who kills her boyfriend in cold blood after he leaves her, and how she finagles her way out being convicted. Remade once as a movie, and as a Broadway musical.
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 to Hollywood considerations. The murder, which occurs in a very brief vignette before the play begins, is fleshed out considerably. Also, Roxies 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 more cruel 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
Julia Faye as Velma Kelly
Victor Varconi as Amos Hart
May Robson as Matron
Eugene Pallette as Rodney Casely
Robert Edeson as William Flynn
Maurine Dallas Watkins wrote the story for Chicago and Roxie Hart. Phyllis Haver appears in Chicago and The Way of All Flesh. Cecil B DeMille produced Chicago and directed The Volga Boatman. Victor Varconi and others appear in Chicago and Changing Husbands. Victor Varconi appears in Chicago and Federal Fugitives.
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 the film also survives at Gosfilmofond Russian State Archives.