Self-centred Roxie Hart is adored by her husband. She’s having an affair with one of his customers, Casely, who, tired of Roxie’s wily ways, attempts to leave her, triggering a stream of events that lead to Roxie’s notoriety.
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Very enjoyable early adaptation of the Roxie Hart tale that is every bit as entertaining as the later film and musical version. Quite cynical for 1927 this tale of media manipulation and sexual power is quite riveting. Performances are solid and the visual flourishes give evidence of DeMille's involvement.
strangely enough, between the 1942 film and the 2002 musical i actually found this to be the most cynical adaptation of the tale! it focuses mostly on roxie and her relationship with her husband, but there's no sickeningly sweet resolution at the end and there's still plenty of 1920s flapper action. a very charming movie, mostly due to phyllis haver, a wonderful actress who's seriously due for rediscovery.
Everything about the score and the performance and recording of it was pitch perfect. A number of images in the film crystalized things on a deeper level than the surface of the melodrama. The mirror with the bullet hole as a metaphor for the face and the lost life was heart rending. The list could go on and on. A surprising film. I can imagine Bunuel enjoying it.