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In Old Chicago (1937)

Approved  |   |  Action, Drama, Musical  |  15 April 1938 (USA)
6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 1,353 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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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

According to the DVD which includes the roadshow version (information given in the accompanying leaflet) Western Costumes didn't have enough costumes on hand to dress all the extras in the fire scenes and had to borrow proper period costumes from other costumiers across the country. 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

[last lines]
Molly O'Leary: We O'Learys are a strange tribe. There's strength in us. And what we set out to do, we finish.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Art Director (1949) See more »

Soundtracks

I've Taken a Fancy to You
(1937) (uncredited)
Music by Lew Pollack
Lyrics by Sidney D. Mitchell
Sung and danced by chorus girls at The Hub
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Tyrone, the cow, and going up in flames
15 June 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Immortalized by Martha at the beginning of "Who's afraid of Virginia Wolff," "In Old Chicago" is a dramatization (you know, 20th Century Fox style) of the 1871 Chicago fire. As is fitting, it focuses on the owners of the cow that allegedly started it all, the O'Learys. Tyrone Power is the drop dead gorgeous, bad boy brother of good Don Ameche. "Little Miss Alice Faye," (as Martha says) plays Power's love interest, a dance hall girl.

All of the performances are good, the threesome of Power-Ameche-Faye being a great combination that works well here and in "Alexander's Ragtime Band." Faye gets to show off her voice, and she looks very pretty, having graduated from the days when Zanuck tried to make her look like Jean Harlow. The role was actually intended for Harlow, who died before she could do it; Gable was also supposed to be loaned out for the Power role. Power had only started with Fox a year earlier. Harlow's death killed the deal. Also in the film is Rondo Hatton, referred to by Power as "Rondo." Hatton suffered from acromegaly after laughing gas exposure in World War I. Standing side by side were a man who, due to disease, was deformed and ugly, and Power, perhaps the handsomest man in the world. More ironic yet, Power had no appreciation of his looks, feeling they kept him from roles he wanted.

The fire and devastation effects are fantastic, Fox no doubt feeling the "heat" from MGM's "San Francisco" earthquake scenes.

Alice Brady gives a strong performance, with a somewhat melodramatic monologue at the end. She won an Oscar, which was stolen by the person she sent to accept it. A lovely actress, it's a shame she died at the age of 47.


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