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In Old Chicago (1937)

Approved | | Action, Drama, Musical | 15 April 1938 (USA)
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:
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Pickle Bixby
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Gil Warren
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General Phil Sheridan
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Senator Colby
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Gretchen
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Edward (Mitch) Mitchell
Tyler Brooke ...
Specialty Singer
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Patrick O'Leary
Gene Reynolds ...
Dion O'Leary as a Boy
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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>

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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
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film is quite reminiscent of the prior year's San Francisco (1936). Indeed, perhaps a response to the MGM's successful disaster film, this is made in the same vein, where the much awaited earthquake doesn't happen until the last few minutes, equally, the Chicago fire here doesn't until the very last few minutes of the film. Both films also deal with romance betrayal and a cabaret singing female lead. See more »

Goofs

It is implausible that Belle Fawcett would sing a song called "In Old Chicago" since, technically, the movie takes place exactly then, so it wouldn't be called "old" in their contemporary time. See more »

Quotes

Dion O'Leary: Nothing can lick Chicago!
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Soundtracks

The Blue Danube Waltz, Opus 314
(1867) (uncredited)
Written by Johann Strauss
Played for dancing at the election party
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User Reviews

 
"We O'Learys Are A Strange Tribe."
11 August 2004 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

This was the first of three films that teamed Tyrone Power and Alice Faye, the others being Alexander's Ragtime Band and Rose of Washington Square. In Old Chicago and Alexander's Ragtime Band also had Don Ameche in it. And it set a pattern, no way was Ameche going to get Faye when Power was on the scene.

Ty Power's roles in his Fox days fell in two Categories. He was either the total romantic hero or he was a hero/heel. In In Old Chicago he's the latter although Power usually has the heroic side win out in these parts, he's not above a little scheming. Power's Dion O"Leary both double crosses Brian Donlevy and marries Alice Faye not just because he loves her, but so she can't testify against him. But Ty's always a charming likable cuss and Ameche is always the straight arrow, but slightly dull rival and in this case, brother.

However the film is known for two things. It gave Alice Faye her first real notice as actress. Up to this point, she'd been a Jean Harlow wannabe right down to the platinum blonde hair. Here Faye gets those period costumes that she wore so well. It was the first of many successes in that genre.

The second thing is the grand special effects showing the burning of Chicago. Even almost 70 years later it's a spectacular sight.


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