To escape sinful impulses, Ben Harvey, a callow youth, leaves his small town for Chicago in 1910. A pickpocket promptly relieves him of his money, and he nearly starves before Queen Lil ... See full summary »



(screenplay), (novel)
Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Francis Sullivan
Axel P. Johanson
Tim Grogan
Roy Poole ...
The Governor
Lilah Letterby
Dr. Lazarus
Joan Huntington ...
Merie Earle ...
Claudia Bryar ...
Virgil Harvey


To escape sinful impulses, Ben Harvey, a callow youth, leaves his small town for Chicago in 1910. A pickpocket promptly relieves him of his money, and he nearly starves before Queen Lil takes him under her wing, gives him a room in her high-class bordello, and gets him a job at a newspaper. He's so sweet and dumb, he thinks Lil's is a boarding house. He's soon caught up in an electoral struggle between a secretly corrupt reformer and an openly corrupt councilman. Can Ben expose corruption or will he be caught up in allure of power? An alcoholic investigative reporter and the bordello's ingénue try to help him grow up. Written by <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The movie of a 19-year-old who went to town-- who went to TOWN! See more »



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for brief nudity/sexual content | See all certifications »




Release Date:

23 March 1970 (Denmark)  »

Also Known As:

Chicago, Chicago  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$8,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


This was originally going to be produced by " Cleopatra " s Walter Wanger in 1964. See more »


In a seduction scene, Melodie Johnson tears open Beau Bridges' shirt, revealing a smooth chest. They are interrupted by George Kennedy who chases Bridges out of the house. When Bridges turns to shout back at Kennedy, his shirt is still unbuttoned but there is hair all over his chest. See more »


Ben Harvey: It all sex and money! Sex and money!
See more »


Featured in The 80th Annual Academy Awards (2008) See more »


Tomorrow Is My Friend
Sung by Jimmie Rodgers
Lyrics by Alan Bergman & Marilyn Bergman
Music by Henry Mancini
See more »

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User Reviews

Innocent lost in a biographical film

It is a colorful movie, full of wonderful characters. This movie shows the life of a young boy, named Ben Harvey -maybe young Ben Hecht-who tries to succeed as a reporter in Chicago. It features in the cast the beautiful and mercurial Melina Mercouri, who as Madame Lily-owner of a brothel- 'adopts' Ben when he runs to Chicago to prove himself. Melina Mercouri provides the film with one stellar performance, but you can not stop the thought that she is restrained in some scenes, especially in the beginning with an unflattering piece of hair. She even sings a song of Henry Mancini that as far as I know has never been recorded. (Mercouri although never a professional singer, had a wonderful voice that helped here to record some classic songs like 'Never on Sunday'. Keith and Kennedy are good in their but easily forgotten. Bridges provides some somewhat stupid expressions, but his part is never developed, as N.Jewison never gave him directions.

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