6.8/10
2,071
43 user 18 critic

In Old Chicago (1938)

Passed | | Action, Drama, Musical | 15 April 1938 (USA)
Trailer
3:28 | Trailer
The O'Leary brothers -- honest Jack and roguish Dion -- become powerful figures, and eventually rivals, in Chicago on the eve of its Great Fire.

Director:

Henry King

Writers:

Lamar Trotti (screen play), Sonya Levien (screen play) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Won 2 Oscars. Another 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tyrone Power ... Dion O'Leary
Alice Faye ... Belle Fawcett
Don Ameche ... Jack O'Leary
Alice Brady ... Molly O'Leary
Andy Devine ... Pickle Bixby
Brian Donlevy ... Gil Warren
Phyllis Brooks ... Ann Colby
Tom Brown ... Bob O'Leary
Sidney Blackmer ... General Phil Sheridan
Berton Churchill ... Senator Colby
June Storey ... Gretchen
Paul Hurst ... Edward (Mitch) Mitchell
Tyler Brooke ... Specialty Singer
J. Anthony Hughes ... Patrick O'Leary
Gene Reynolds ... Dion O'Leary as a Boy
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Storyline

In 1854, the patriarch Patrick O'Leary of the O'Leary family dies in an accident nearby Chicago while traveling amid-western prairie. His wife Molly O'Leary raises her three sons alone working as laundress. Her son Jack becomes an idealistic lawyer; Dion is a gambler; and Bob helps his mother in the laundry business and marries local Gretchen (June Storey) in the old area known as The Patch. Dion meets the singer Belle Fawcett in the cabaret owned by Gil Warren and they fall in love with each other and become lovers. They also open a business of their own to compete with Gil that becomes their enemy. However Gil invites Dion to join the politics with him but Dion plots a scheme with tragic consequences. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

blockbuster | fire | lawyer | cow | brother | See All (52) »

Taglines:

A STORY WRITTEN IN FIRE! (print ad - Lubbock Morning Avalanche - Palace Theatre - Lubbock, Texas - April 19, 1938 - all caps) See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Publicity ads stated that Niven Busch's story was entitled "We, the O'Leary's," but legal records indicate there was never such a story title. The fabrication was developed by someone at Twentieth Century-Fox well after the story and screenplay was completely written, thinking it would give the story a more catchy title. 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

[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 »

Alternate Versions

The original roadshow version of "In Old Chicago" ran 111 minutes, and was cut to 95 minutes for a 1943 re-release. For many years, the longer version was thought to be lost, and only the shorter re-release print was shown on television, and released on video in 1994. In 2002 the missing elements to the original version were found, and the 2005 DVD release included both the original and the shorter versions. See more »

Connections

Featured in The Art Director (1949) See more »

Soundtracks

I'll Never Let You Cry
(1937) (uncredited)
Music by Lew Pollack
Lyrics by Sidney D. Mitchell
Sung by Alice Faye and an unidentified male quartet at The Senate
See more »

User Reviews

 
Well It's the Best Film I've Ever Seen About the Great Chicago Fire
27 October 2010 | by SupachewySee all my reviews

The historical drama In Old Chicago is directed by Henry King and stars Tyrone Power, Alice Faye, and Don Ameche. The film takes place in 1870s Chicago.

The film starts out with a family heading to Chicago in 1854. On the way to Chicago the father decides to race a train after his children ask him to do so and he loses control of the cart and ends up badly injuring himself, so much so it leads to his death. When the remainder of the family enter Chicago two of the children accidentally dirty a woman's dress and the mother offers to clean it for her. The mother is so good as cleaning she starts a business and then it is cut to 1870. All the boys are grown up one is a lawyer, one is involved with gambling and other frowned on affairs, and the final one does not really have that much of a part so it doesn't matter. The son that is a lawyer, Jack (Ameche), is convinced to run for mayor and Dion (Power) is one of the heads of a somewhat crime organization. The two are rivals, but then the great fire starts burning...

The writing for this film is decent. It is an interesting concept having the two brothers pitted against each other, I like that part a lot. But every relationship involving a woman of romance just seemed so unnatural and forced. It was just like if anyone talked to a woman in a few minutes they would be in love. I liked towards the end everything that had to do with the fire, I thought that was very interesting and kept my attention. After the film ended though not much was very memorable.

Henry King's direction for this film was quite good. One shot in particular I liked was when it was in the bar and the camera dollied backwards and I saw all the bartenders serving beer to the large crowd of people. This shot was so much more efficient than just an overhead shot displaying the large amount of people because it felt like I was actually there. Also King directed everything with the fire brilliantly as well. He got solid performances from all his leads as well.

The editing for this film was equally as good as the direction. One thing I liked in particular was when the mother was washing the clothes and all the years passed by over her washing. I thought that was much smarter than just going to the next shot and putting 1870 on the bottom of the screen. Again with the fire scenes everything was edited perfectly, especially involving the special effects.

The acting was solid by most of the cast. I thought Tyrone Power played his part very well, he was likable even though his character was devious. I did think the parts where he was with any woman besides his mother were ridiculous, but that wasn't his fault it was the writers and director. Alice Faye did not give that great of a performance but I thought her role was somewhat useless so it was hard for her to be good. Don Ameche basically just read his lines and furrowed his brow during the whole film so nothing remarkable. Alice Brady won an Oscar for her role as the mother and she deserved it. She was basically a caring mother that did not want her sons to be running around and being with women who were not of class. She played the part perfectly and really could not have improved.

Overall I give this film a very weak 7/10. My main issue is that after the film I almost immediately forgot it but during the film it was quite an experience. I would recommend this film to anyone who enjoys historical dramas.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

15 April 1938 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Chicago See more »

Filming Locations:

Chicago Illinois, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,800,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (roadshow)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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