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In Old Chicago (1937)

 -  Action | Drama | Musical  -  15 April 1938 (USA)
6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 1,286 users  
Reviews: 34 user | 16 critic

The O'Leary brothers -- honest Jack and roguish Dion -- become powerful figures, and eventually rivals, in Chicago on the eve of its Great Fire.

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(screen play), (screen play), 1 more credit »
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Title: In Old Chicago (1937)

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Won 2 Oscars. Another 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Belle Fawcett
...
...
...
Pickle Bixby
...
Gil Warren
Phyllis Brooks ...
Ann Colby
Tom Brown ...
...
Berton Churchill ...
Senator Colby
June Storey ...
Gretchen
Paul Hurst ...
Edward (Mitch) Mitchell
Tyler Brooke ...
Specialty Singer
J. Anthony Hughes ...
Patrick O'Leary
Gene Reynolds ...
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Storyline

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 <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The great American motion picture!


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

15 April 1938 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Chicago  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,800,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (roadshow)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The 20-minute climactic fire sequence cost $150,000 to stage and burned for three days on the Fox back lot. It helped make this one of the most expensive films made at the time. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Dion O'Leary: Nothing can lick Chicago!
See more »

Connections

Featured in Pyrates (1991) See more »

Soundtracks

Strolling with My Lady Love
(1937) (uncredited)
Music by Lew Pollack
Lyrics by Sidney D. Mitchell
Written for the movie but not used
See more »

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User Reviews

The Great Chicago Fire
5 February 2006 | by (Chicago) – See all my reviews

The film is delicious in that brassy, over-blown 20th Century Fox way. Among the absurdities is Alice Faye singing "In Old Chicago" in a town that was 35 years old. Yet it's amazing that so much of the actual fire's history is accurately portrayed, such as Mrs. O'Leary's "peg-leg" neighbor who sounded the alarm for the immediate DeKoven St. neighbors. Some of the bigger shots are copied right from lithographs of the period. But then most of the politics is totally fraudulent.

Women extras were not allowed to appear in dangerous situations in '30s Hollywood so watch closely during the street scenes where there are runaway horses and racing fire engines. The "ladies" scrambling around are clearly tall men in Victorian drag. It's a hoot.

Those viewers of a certain age may remember a Sunday evening TV program in the '50s with Walter Kronkite called "You Are There" which put you into historical events. The episode featuring the Chicago Fire cannibalized this Fox film and lifted much of the disaster footage.

There are so many parallels to the previous year's big MGM success "San Francisco" (1936) with Clark Gable and Jeanette McDonald. Here we have Alice Faye also singing in a saloon, a disaster during the night, "dirty politics" with an attempt to clean out the slum zone, little kids in danger during the fire, buildings being dynamited to contain the blaze, the hero searching for days for his lost love among the victims, and so forth.


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