The American movie “Chicago” … an amazing imagination from a painful reality


5 hours ago

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It is difficult to imagine that my murder in the 1920s was the main source of a series of films and plays, the most recent of which was “Chicago” (2002), one of the most famous musical films in the history of American cinema, both commercially and artistically. But the film was more than just a famous movie, as it shows the ability of the cinematic work to convince the viewer to sympathize with two dangerous criminals, who carried out the most heinous types of crimes, murder in this case, and considered them two very entertaining characters. As for their crimes and their victims, they do not matter, as if they were inanimate objects that could be sacrificed as a low price for the fun offered by the criminals who are provided by the cinematic work.

Movie events

The events of the film take place in 1924 in the American city of “Chicago”, where the beautiful young woman “Roxy Hart” (actress Rene Zelfiker) dreams of working as a dancer and singer in a cabaret, especially after watching the show of the dancer and singer “Film Kelly” (actress Catherine Zeta-Jones). Despite being married to a kind-hearted man who tries hard to satisfy her, she has a sexual relationship with a man who claims his ability to enter the world of dancing and singing, and to perform on the same stage in which Velma is performing her shows. But that lover, while he was in her dwelling, shocked her by confessing to her in the end that he had lied to her, as all he sought was to enjoy her.
Roxy is so furious that she takes a pistol and puts him dead. “Roxy” tells her husband that she killed a thief in self-defense, and when the police come, the good husband pretends to be the killer to protect his wife from the consequences of the crime that she committed. However, the police soon discover the invalidity of the husband’s supplication and the truth about the affair between the murdered wife and the murderer, so they press hard on her to admit the truth.
Soon Roxy confesses the truth, without trying to pretend to be remorseful, and she is arrested immediately. The attorney general with political ambitions declares that he will not tolerate “Roxy” and that he will demand a death sentence for her. She was thrown into the prison for murderous women. There she meets two women who have had an important role in her future.
The first was the “Velma” dancer that “Roxy” liked, as she had been arrested on charges of killing her husband and sister because she discovered an emotional relationship between them. When “Roxy” tries to talk to her, expressing her admiration for her, “Film” ignores her with contempt. The second was the prison director, “Mama Morton” (Actress Queen Latifah), an evil and domineering woman, who provides special services to female prisoners, but each service has its price and payment method varies. “Morton” advises “Roxy” to seek the help of the wonderful “Velma” lawyer, “Billy Flynn” (actor Richard Gere), who has never lost a case in his life. “Roxy” succeeds in agreeing with this lawyer, who started his work by controlling the press coverage of the case, by making her talk about it constantly, claiming that “Roxy” was in fact defending herself, when she shot her lover, and the newspapers published incorrect information about the case, transferred. Roxy »from killer to victim and hero. The most enthusiastic journalist was the journalist “Mary Sunshine” (actress Christine Baransky) who transformed “Roxy” into the idol of the masses. Consequently, “Roxy” becomes such a famous figure that women began to imitate her hairstyle, and the prison director was one of them, as she did not hide her admiration for “Roxy”.

The film succeeded in transforming the character of the criminal and evil woman, which applies to both the characters of “Roxy” and “Velma”, into a very entertaining and attractive character, to the extent that the viewer does not care about the badness of this character, and in this way, the viewer’s mentality is manipulated, and his standards in life are changed in a way. Easy

Roxy’s success was not liked to Filma, but she wanted to take advantage of that. Not only in prison, but also in the city of “Chicago”, where she even falsely claimed that she was pregnant to win the sympathy of people, and this trick achieved great success. Roxy’s self-confidence has reached the point where she cancels her agreement with the lawyer, believing that she will be able to win on her own, but the scene of the execution of one of her colleagues, who was claiming innocence, unlike the rest of the prisoners, made her change her mind quickly, and she returned her agreement with the lawyer. The trial, which the skilled attorney turns into a funny show, begins with the help of the press, especially the journalist “Mary Sunshine”. He manipulates evidence and facts, and even represents the dramatic reconciliation between “Roxy” and her husband in front of the press. And it becomes clear that the whole trial was nothing but a show of circus under the control of the lawyer, hitting all the laws and morals, as the end justifies the means. But a surprise confuses the lawyer and his sinister plans, as Velma comes to testify, featuring Roxy’s memoirs, in which she mentions facts that prove her crime. However, the lawyer clarifies in the trial “Film” that she agreed with the public prosecutor to present this testimony in exchange for her acquittal of the murder charge against her, and questioning the veracity of what was stated in the warrants, and even hints that it is the fabrication of the public prosecutor. In the end, “Roxy” is acquitted for the falsehood of the evidence, and “Filma” is also acquitted of her agreement with the prosecutor. In the end, the lawyer reveals to “Roxy” that the memoir story was his creation, as he was the one who wrote those notes to trap the public prosecutor and achieve the innocence of “Roxy” and “Film” together in one fell swoop. As soon as “Roxy” feels free, she reveals her ugly truth to her husband, by insulting him and showing her contempt for him, and showing him not to carry her, so he left her stunned and sad.

“Roxy” is trying to enter the world of show without success, and “Film” has not had better luck. Therefore, “Film” is shown to “Roxy” for the second time that they do a double show, despite the hatred between them. The idea succeeded brilliantly, as the two perform a wonderful parade attended by a large audience, including the lawyer, the prison director and the jury who acquitted “Roxy”. The film ended with applause from the enthusiastic audience, “Roxy” says, “We would not have succeeded without you.” The film ends.

The movie is technically

The movie deservedly deserved the success it enjoyed in the cinemas, and despite the performance of each actor brilliantly, the most important factor for the success of this film was the director Rob Marshall, who also choreographed the dances, and made the viewer believe that the two stars of the film were professional dancers, as Rene Zellweger and Katherine Zeta-Jones, the majority of the dances by themselves despite not being a professional dancer, unlike Richard Gere, who had previous experience of dancing, as he had played the main role in the famous musical “Crazy”. If the viewer feels that he is watching more than one movie, then he is not at fault. The film was taken from a famous musical called “Chicago”, which was shown in 1975, and depicted all of its scenes as performances on stage. The director of this play was Bob Fauci, who was also the director of the famous “Cabaret” (1972), which was starring Lisa Manelli. It is easy to notice the similarities in the manner of directing between “Cabaret” and “Chicago.” Film buffs can also notice the similarities between “Chicago” and a lesser-known musical film, “Nine” (2009), both of which were directed by the same director.
The film succeeded in transforming the character of the criminal and evil woman, which applies to both the characters of “Roxy” and “Velma”, into a very entertaining and attractive character, to the extent that the viewer does not care about the badness of this character, and in this way, the viewer’s mentality is manipulated, and his standards in life are changed in a way. Easy, this makes the movie the viewer involuntarily sympathize with the evil character. We find this character in many notable films such as “Butch Cassidy and Sundance Cade” (1969) by Paul Newman and Robert Redford, “Bonnie and Clyde” (1967) by Warren Betty and Faye Dunaway, and “Shane” (1953) from Representing Alan Ladd and Jack Ballance. The film did not reveal clearly why the corrupt prison director helped “Roxy” or how the lawyer influenced the press, especially the journalist “Mary Sunshine”.

Historical background

Several characters in the movie were adapted from real personalities. For example, “Roxy Hart” (actress Renny Zilfiker) was based on details taken from several real characters, especially from “Beulah Annan Sharif”, who in 1924 killed her lover in her home by shooting him from Back while wearing his coat. The lover did not die immediately, but after four hours of pain, “Beulah” spent her listening to music, drinking alcohol and watching her victim die. After that, she called her husband, claiming that she had killed a man who was trying to “have sex with her” (the expression “Beulah” herself used). Beulah was able to prove her innocence in court after her already poor husband spent all he had to pay lawyers ’wages.
“Beola” deserted her husband immediately after the trial, saying “he is very stupid.” She became involved with several other men until she died of TB at the age of 28.
As for the character “Velma Kelly” (actress Catherine Zeta-Jones) in the film, it was adapted from the character of a cabaret dancer and singer Belva Geithner who, after marrying her twice, killed her lover in 1924.
The strange thing is that the court acquitted her of the accusation against her. After the acquittal, she married a wealthy ex-husband. Her new husband informed her that she had threatened to kill him because he had found her with a lover in a shameful situation.
Attorney William Scott Stewart has successfully defended both “Beulah” and “Belva”, and appeared in the film as lawyer “Bill Flynn” (Richard Gere). Why were “Beulah” and “Belva” included in one film? The reason was the journalist “Maureen Dallas Watkins” who wrote about the two trials for the “Chicago Tribune” newspaper and knew the two defendants well because she had met them personally, and she was convinced of the validity of the accusations against them. Journalist “Maureen” described “Beulah” (Roxy Hart, played by “Renny Zilfiker”) as the most beautiful in prison, while “Belva” (Belva Kelly, played by “Catherine Zeta-Jones”) described as the most elegant in prison.
The filmmaker has committed to showing the two characters in the film, brilliantly as per this description. The journalist composed a non-musical play about them in 1926.
The theatrical success, in which some of its performances were represented by a young and unknown actor at the time, called Clark Gable, and the real “Belva” also performed a role in one of the theatrical performances. This journalist also appeared in the film as the “Mary Sunshine” journalist, represented by Christine Baransky.
“Chicago” was not the first film based on the original play, as a 1927 silent movie with the same name was produced. After that, he produced a second movie in 1942, titled “Roxy Hart”, in which the famous actress and dancer Ginger Rogers starred. But this film neglected the character “Belva Kelly” and focused only on the character of “Roxy”.

٭ Researcher and historian from Iraq


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