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Chicago (1927) Poster

(1927)

Trivia

Although Frank Urson is credited as the director, it was widely known (and even publicized) at the time that producer Cecil B. DeMille directed most of the film (including 11 days of re-takes). DeMille took his name off the picture because his Biblical epic, The King of Kings (1927) was also playing in theaters at the time. Reportedly, DeMille's friend, theater owner Sid Grauman, convinced the director that audiences wouldn't want to see an amoral crime drama with an adulterous heroine so soon after seeing DeMille's film about the life of Christ.
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The Broadway play, "Chicago," which inspired this film, 1942's Roxie Hart (1942), and the Tony-award winning musical and Oscar-winning 2002 film, was based on a true story. The characters of Roxie Hart and Velma Kelly were inspired by the real-life cases of two Chicago women -- Beaulah Annan and Belva Gaertner -- who each murdered their lovers in 1924. Both women were tried in separate cases, which became media sensations in Chicago, and both were acquitted. Playwright Maurine Dallas Watkins covered both trials as a reporter for the "Chicago Tribune," and adapted her experiences into the play, "Chicago."
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Presented by the San Francisco Silent Film Festival to a sellout house of 1400 at the Castro Theatre on Saturday December 2, 2006.
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Rights to the Maurine Dallas Watkins play were bought by producer/director 'Cecil B. deMille' for $25,000.
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The first stage version of Chicago opened at the Music Box Theater on December 30, 1926 was directed by George Abbott and ran for 172 performances. The opening night cast included Francine Larrimore as Roxy Hart. Robert Barrat, Charles Bickford, Ferike Boros, George Cowell, Juliette Crosby, Edward Ellis, Edith Fitzgerald, Charles Halton, Eda Heinemann, Charles Kuhn, Charles Slattery, G. Albert Smith and Dorothy Stickney were also in the cast.
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This film opened on the same day that the famous musical "Show Boat", written by Jerome Kern' and Oscar Hammerstein II, and which has a lengthy sequence set in Chicago, first opened on Broadway.
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The final budget of $264,397 in 1927 is equivalent to $3,566,716 in 2017. The original playwright, Maurine Dallas Watkins, sold the rights for $25,000 which would be $337,250 in 2017.
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Originally budgeted at $236,417 for a thirty-eight day shoot. The production ran over-schedule to forty-five days and over budget to a cost of $264,397.
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