Story of the great fire of 1871. Fictional story of two sons of Mrs. O'Leary (the owner of the cow which started the fire), one a rogue (Power) the other a lawyer (Ameche). One of the most expensive films of its time ($1.8 million). Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
A lantern manufacturer wrote to the studio insisting that the fire must have been started by a lamp, not a lantern. They claimed a lantern would extinguish itself if tipped over, but that claim was found to be false by an actual experiment performed by two assistants at Twentieth Century-Fox. Soon after the fire started, the barn where the fire was supposed to have originated was thoroughly investigated, and no evidence of a lamp or lantern was found. See more »
Just before the fire in 1871, the Mayor speaks about replacing the combustible buildings in "The Patch" with newer ones made of stone and steel. The first buildings with steel frameworks were not constructed until the 1880's. Before then, large buildings were constructed of wood with a stone shell. See more »
Bad history and a knock off version of "San Francisco", but it's still entertaining.
In 1936, MGM made the huge and impressive "San Francisco". It starred Clark Gable and the singing sensation, Jeanette MacDonald and ended with an amazing earthquake sequence that brought down the crooked empire that Gable had spent the movie amassing. Here, in a totally different(?) film done just a year later, starring Tyrone Power (a prettier version of Clark Gable) and the singing sensation, Alice Faye and ending with an amazing fire sequence that brought down the crooked empire that Power and Brian Donlevy had spent the move amassing. In other words, this 20th Century-Fox film was essentially a knockoff of the original MGM film--and they barely disguised this by only waiting one year. The only major difference was that IN OLD CHICAGO is based on really, really bad history, as the whole "Mrs. O'Leary's cow" incident is complete hooey--as this never happened. Still, if you don't mind that it's a knockoff and you don't mind that it's a terrible history lesson, the film is moderately entertaining. Overall, a watchable time-passer and obvious knockoff.
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