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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. Written by
Jonah Falcon <email@example.com>
I read the Maureen Watkins play after seeing "Chicago" (2002) and "Roxie Hart" (1941). I was definitely looking forward to seeing this long lost 1927 version. While, I did enjoy many things, there were also some disappointments.
The good things are the little comic bits that are added which the play and other two movies do not have. These include Roxie putting black stockings on her door to pretend that someone inside has died to trick a repo-man and putting her husband's tie around her neck to show what the hangman's noose will look like. The rehearsal of her "looks" before the jury is hilarious, so are the three gum chewing young women spellbound by the trial as if watching a movie. These little bits really brighten the movie.
Unfortunately, probably because conservative, religious nut Cecil B. DeMille was the producer, the sharp satire of the play and the two other movies is sharply curtailed. What we get instead is a quite melodramatic subplot which takes up almost one quarter of the film. It involves the husband and his stealing money from the lawyer Flynn and his relationship with a housekeeper. This subplot is dull and undercuts the sense of sexiness and gallows humor that the play and the other movies thrive on.
While a good film and certainly worth seeing, it doesn't match the greatness of the later films or earlier play. The DVD does have some nice extras, including a well done documentary short looking at the real trial, Maureen Watkins original newspaper articles, a 1950 documentary on the 1920's and "The Flapper Story" a delightful 1985 documentary.
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