Chicago

Cast
Velma Kelly: Catherine Zeta-Jones
Roxie Hart: Renee Zellweger
Billy Flynn: Richard Gere
Amos Hart: John C. Reilly
Matron ‘Mama’ Morton: Queen Latifah
Mary Sunshine: Christine Baranski
Bandleader: Taye Diggs
Kitty Baxter: Lucy Liu

Miramax Films presents a film directed by Rob Marshall. Written by Bill Condon. Based on the musical by Fred Ebb, John Kander and Bob Fosse. Running time: 113 minutes. Rated PG-13 (sexual content and dialogue, violence).

Central Theme
The world is a three-ring circus. To take center stage you need razzle-dazzle and the ability to get people to believe what you say instead of what they see. Even then, fame is fleeting and fickle; you’ve got to self-promote, tap dance and keep the hapless, clueless, gullible, public entertained.

Story
Velma and her sister are the most successful act on the Chicago stage until Velma finds her husband cavorting with her sister, murders both and is sent to jail. Roxie aspires to attain Velma’s entertainment status, but her plans change when she murders her lover having learned he didn’t really love her and could not advance her career. Upon arriving at prison. Velma and Roxie meet Matron ‘Mama’ Morton, who doles out justice, providing her services for pay. For a price she’ll introduce Roxie to Billy Flynn, the legal system’s most successful attorney, who says he wants love but answers to money and notoriety. Roxie is surprisingly adept at working the corrupt system and with Billy’s help fabricates stories and manipulates her way to fame from within the jail. Religion is useful because people can’t resist a ¢â‚¬Ëœa reformed sinner.” So Billy and Roxie construct a background consisting of an early parental death, an upbringing by nuns in a good Catholic school. The Roxie they create is a fine, innocent, impressionable young woman led astray by jazz, liquor and bad men. Roxie’s rise in public attention clipses Velma, but then Roxie herself is nearly dethroned by the press’s interest in newer, more spectacular jazz murderers.

The stage play was based on 1930’s Chicago with it’s notorious criminal personalities teamed with a newspaper business trying to sell papers. This adaptation from the stage is an entertainingly told story with a cynical underbelly. The bad are treated good, the good are manipulated and the masses are taken for a ride. Even in the fictional and comedic telling of this story with its corrupt system, we witness the hanging of an innocent woman and cheer the guilty as they go free. Enjoy the songs, be dazzled by dance, but don’t miss the darker side of this story,

Beliefs num
–The world is a stage; your life is your own act.
–The truth will get you convicted; a lie will set you free.
–Lying is justified, because if you had been there you would have murdered too.
–Don’t try to change the system, work it.
–Hypocrisy is the key to success.
–God may be connected and helpful in heaven, but down here, you need somebody like Billy Flynn.

Questions Worth Discussing num
–Why are people fascinated with the notoriously bad?
–Can an honest person get justice in a crooked system?
–Can an honest person stay honest in a crooked system?
–Are there any systems that aren’t crooked?
–Is our news system as attracted to the sensational as the one portrayed in 1930’s Chicago?

Provocative Quotes byline
–All my life I wanted to have my own act.
==Roxie.
–The system is called reciprocity. When you’re good to mamma, mamma’s good to you.
== Matron ‘Mama’ Morton
–I never heard of a man getting killed who didn’t get what he deserved.
==Women in prison.
–He had six wives. One of those Mormons you know.
==Woman in prison about her lover.
–I didn’t do it, but if I done it, could you tell me that I was wrong? If you had been there, you would have done the same. If they use us and abuse us, can you tell us we done wrong?
==Women in prison justifying murder.
–The truth? That’s a one-way ticket to the death house.
==Billy to Roxie.
–My client feels it was the combination of liquor and jazz, which led to her downfall.
==Billy to press.
–You’re talking to the wrong people.
==Billy to Roxie when she says Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
–If Jesus Christ had lived in Chicago. And if he’d had $5,000, and had come to me–things would have turned out differently.
==Billy.
–All I want is love. You mean just one thing to me. Call me when you get the $5000.
==Billy.
–Sweetest little jazz killer ever to hit Chicago. That’s the angle I’m looking for.
==Billy.
–They’d love you a lot more if you were hanging. You know why? Because it would sell more papers. That’s Chicago.
==Billy.
–One thing they could never resist. And that is a reformed sinner.
==Billy to Roxie.
–I’m gonna tell you the truth, not that the truth really matters,
==Roxie.
–You gonna believe what I see or what I tell you?
==Billy.
–Oh. I only hope the fall didn’t hurt the baby.
==Roxie’s lie catapults her back to center stage.
–It’s all a circus. A three-ring circus¢â‚¬¦and you’re working with a star.
==Billy.
–Ever since the days of Methuselah everybody loves the big bamboozle.
==Billy.
–Can you tell the audience, I mean the jury, what happened next?
==Billy addressing the witness.
–This is Chicago kid. You can’t beat fresh blood on the wall.
==Billy explaining why Roxie loses center stage to another woman who has murdered a man.
–You can like the life you’re living or you can live the life you’d like.
==Roxie’s song.
–Thank you. Believe us we could never have made it without you.
==Last words to audience attending Roxie and Velma’s act.

Posted in Movies, Staublog in December 27, 2002 by | No Comments »

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