Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Based on a real-life incident, Maurine Watkins' semi-satirical novel and play Chicago was first brought to the screen in 1927. Phyllis Haver was ideally cast as gum-chewing dance-hall girl Roxie Hart, who shoots her lover full of holes and then is forgiven by her faithful -- if not entirely honest -- husband Amos (Victor Varconi). Put on trial for murder, Roxie comes to enjoy the publicity, and soon willingly becomes the darling of the media (it helps that she's convinced herself that no jury in their right mind will condemn a "celebrity"). Feeding upon this, Roxie's flamboyant defense attorney Flynn (Robert Edeson) likewise revels in the hoopla stirred up by enterprising reporter T. Roy Barnes. The only person who doesn't enjoy the spectacle is Amos Hart, who becomes so fed up that he tosses Roxie out of their house, finding comfort in the arms of housemaid Katie (Virginia Bradford), who has loved him all along. A cleaned-up but no less rowdy version of Chicago was filmed by William Wellman in 1943 under the title Roxie Hart; three decades later, the property was revived as a Broadway musical, which has flourished on the road-show circuit ever since.
murder-trial, celebrity, dance-hall-girl, flapper, husband, lover, love-triangle, murder, publicity