Blake is in love with an aristocratic woman whose husband seriously injures him. Blake's friendship with Lord Nelson provides the basis for Blake's part in the growth of Lloyd's insurance ... See full summary »
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
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 »
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 »
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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