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Roxie Hart (film)

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Director  William A. Wellman
Initial DVD release  April 20, 2004
Country  United States
7/10 IMDb

Genre  Comedy, Romance
Language  English
Roxie Hart (film) movie poster
Release date  February 20, 1942
Based on  Chicago (play) 1926 play  by Maurine Dallas Watkins
Writer  Nunnally Johnson (written for the screen by), Maurine Dallas Watkins (play)
Characters  Velma Kelly, Roxie Hart, Billy Flynn
Cast  Ginger Rogers (Roxie Hart), Adolphe Menjou (Billy Flynn), George Montgomery (Homer Howard), Lynne Overman (Jake Callahan), Nigel Bruce (E. Clay Benham), Phil Silvers (Babe)
Similar movies  InSpectres, Some Like It Hot, The Blues Brothers, I, Robot, The Package, Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Tagline  The gal who became a national pastime!

Ginger rogers charleston scene from roxie hart 1942

Roxie Hart, also known as Chicago or Chicago Gal, is a 1942 American comedy film directed by William A. Wellman and starring Ginger Rogers, Adolphe Menjou, George Montgomery, Nigel Bruce, Phil Silvers, William Frawley and Spring Byington. The film is an adaptation of the 1926 play Chicago by Maurine Dallas Watkins, a journalist who had found her inspiration in two real-life Chicago trials she had covered for the press. The play had already been adapted once before, as the 1927 silent movie Chicago, and it would later be adapted as the 1975 musical Chicago, which in turn was adapted as the 2002 film Chicago.


Roxie Hart (film) wwwgstaticcomtvthumbmovieposters7669p7669p

The screenplay, by Nunnally Johnson, focuses on a Chicago showgirl who confesses to a murder in the hope the publicity will propel her faltering show business career. In the original play, and its other adaptations, Roxie Hart was guilty but acquitted of her crime. However, in order to conform to the Production Code, which regulated moral guidelines for Hollywood films at the time, this version portrayed Roxie as innocent but misguided in her attempt to achieve fame.

Roxie Hart (film) Roxie Hart film Wikipedia

Ginger in roxie hart

Plot summary

Roxie Hart (film) Roxie Hart

As soon as Stuart Chapman (Ted North) starts his new job as a newspaper reporter in Chicago, he is pulled into a murder investigation together with his new colleague Homer Howard (George Montgomery). As they sit down in a bar having a drink after a long day, Homer starts telling about a case he reported on in 1927 - a murder case involving the young dancer Roxie Hart (Ginger Rogers).

Roxie Hart (film) Roxie Hart William A Wellman 1942 Movie classics

Back in 1927, a theatre booking agent, Fred Casely, was murdered, and his body was found in Roxie's apartment. Roxie's husband Amos (George Chandler) is immediately questioned by the police, but Roxie is persuaded to let herself get arrested for the murder, since a woman hardly ever gets convicted of murder in Chicago. Besides, the fame she would earn for taking the blame could definitely improve her fading career. That is how reporter Jake Callahan (Lynne Overman) and Casely's partner E. Clay Benham (Nigel Bruce) reasons with Roxie to convince her of what to do.

Roxie Hart (film) Amazoncom Roxie Hart Ginger Rogers Adolphe Menjou George

Roxie takes the blame, even though she knows her husband is guilty of the murder. Her mugshot is taken at the police station. When in jail, Roxie talks to different reporters about the case, including Homer, who has just started out as a journalist. Her husband also gets her the best lawyer money could buy, Billy Flynn (Adolphe Menjou), who is the closest thing to a show artist to ever enter a court room.

Roxie Hart (film) Lauras Miscellaneous Musings Tonights Movie Roxie Hart 1942

Billy decides they will use the fact that Roxie is a weak woman and claim she killed the man in self-defense. Billy sets up a series of interviews with journalist reporters. Roxie is instructed to charm the reporters and dance her own trademark dance "The Black Hula".

Roxie Hart (film) Blogging By Cinemalight Roxie Hart

Homer is one of these reporters who are charmed by the lovely Roxie. He also finds out that Amos in fact is the real killer from her apartment building janitor, Michael Finnegan, and decides to help Roxie out. When the press turns to report on another "lady criminal", Gertie Baxter (Iris Adrian), and the publicity tide turns in favor of a tougher treatment of women criminals, Roxie pretends to be pregnant to sway the public opinion back to her ring side.

Roxie Hart (film) Roxie Hart William A Wellman 1942 Movie classics

To further create sympathy for Roxie, Billy moves her trial further into the future, and gets Amos to divorce her. Roxie still doesn't trust the legal system enough, and wants Billy to find Finnegan and get him to testify in court on her behalf. It turns out Finnegan is dead, and the written statement he left before he died is judged as inadmissible evidence.

Billy still manages to get Roxie off the hook, and her fainting in front of the jury helps her case tremendously. She is found not guilty of the murder, but Amos is arrested instead, stealing all the publicity from Roxie. Out of the limelight, Roxie has to choose between marrying the poor reporter Homer and a rich member of the jury, stockbroker O'Malley (William Frawley).

In present time 1942, Homer finishes his story and gets up. He addresses the man behind the bar, who is O'Malley, now a former stockbroker because he lost everything in the 1929 crash. A moment later, Homer is picked up from the bar by his wife, Roxie, who arrives in a car with their six children and announces she is pregnant with another.


  • Ginger Rogers as Roxie Hart
  • Adolphe Menjou as Billy Flynn
  • George Montgomery as Homer Howard
  • Lynne Overman as Jake Callahan
  • Nigel Bruce as E. Clay Benham
  • Phil Silvers as Babe
  • Sara Allgood as Mrs. Morton
  • William Frawley as O'Malley
  • Spring Byington as Mary Sunshine
  • Ted North as Stuart Chapman
  • Helene Reynolds as Velma Wall
  • George Chandler as Amos Hart
  • Charles D. Brown as Charles E. Murdock
  • Morris Ankrum as Martin S. Harrison
  • George Lessey as Judge Cannon
  • Iris Adrian as 'Two-Gun' Gertie Baxter
  • Production

    Roxie Hart was originally supposed to star Alice Faye but pregnancy prevented her from taking on the role.


    Roxie Hart (film) Wikipedia
    Roxie Hart (film) IMDb Roxie Hart (film)

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