6.8/10
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44 user 17 critic

In Old Chicago (1938)

Approved | | 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 »
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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 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 (51) »

Taglines:

The great American motion picture!


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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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:

Oakdale, California, 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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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

Dion O'Leary marries Belle Fawcett so that she cannot testify against him in court but a wife cannot be forced to testify against her husband--she can testify of her own free will. See more »

Quotes

[repeated line]
Dion O'Leary: We O'Learys are a strange tribe.
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 Pyrates (1991) See more »

Soundtracks

The Irish Washerwoman
(uncredited)
Traditional
Played on a harmonium by Alice Brady and danced by Tyrone Power, Don Ameche,
Tom Brown and June Storey
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Fighting fire with fire.
11 January 2009 | by SpikeopathSee all my reviews

This is the fictional story of the O'Leary family and the birth of the Great Fire of Chicago.

Big budget, big stars and a completely big production, In Old Chicago may be deemed as a Zanuck cash in on the previous years MGM eye opener, San Francisco, it is however a wonderful picture that features two differing halves of worth. Casting aside historical accuracy (lets really not go down that road in cinema history), this Henry King directed piece firstly engages us as a jaunty family character piece, only to then pull the rug from underneath us to let in political intrigue, deception, down right ugliness and a near $2 million fire besieged Chicago!

Tyrone Power, Don Ameche, Alice Faye, Alice Brady (Best Supporting Actress Academy Award) and Brian Donlevy all line up to entertain the viewers, all possibly aware that they are merely the starter course for the extravagant main course that will be the 20 minute final reel of panic and burning disaster. Yet to focus merely on the fire itself, and the effects that some 70 years later still impact smartly, is to do the first half a disservice, characters are formed and the story is fully fleshed to make the wait for the fire completely worth our time. It's no history lesson for sure but the devilment of some characters, and the ineptitude of some others, more than make this an essential watch for fans of 30s cinema. 7.5/10


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