When I first watched Chicago at the movie theater, I was not fully satisfied. I wanted more, so I went back to get some and watched it six more times with different friends and family members! Last summer during a visit to my native Mexico City, I had the opportunity to watch drag queens perform several numbers from the movie-musical. They did an amazing job, without surpassing the outstanding performances of the actors in the film. Last year, I visited NYC for the first time and indulged in the rows of the Ambassador theatre experiencing Chicago, the Broadway musical, and because I had seen the movie many times before, I knew all the songs and dances by heart. I loved it, but it was actually the movie that influenced me to become a “Chicago fan.” The movie is based on the 1996 Chicago revival of the original musical version of 1975. It was thrilling knowing that the making of the musical into a mainstream production would increase its accessibility and widen its distribution into all the corners of the world; now there is no excuse for people not to experience Chicago, and though not everyone can go to Broadway to see it, just about anyone can indulge themselves in this dazzling movie in the comfort of their homes. In addition to a fantasy world of singing, dancing and Vaudeville, the film also provides a narrative that is explicitly presented through Roxie’s point of view, creating a counter human side to Roxie’s fantasy world so that the audience can easily identify and engage. Chicago is a must see film for anyone who likes to spoil themselves with an outstanding award-winning musical composed of a catchy plot, truly superb acting, commendable direction, and a clever soundtrack.
Bob Fosse’s dazzling adaptation of the plot is a key element that contributed greatly in making Chicago achieve the success it did. Set in the 1920’s, Chicago is based in the real-life murders trials of two women who were eventually exonerated of their alleged crimes. The film’s main characters are Roxie Hart, a housewife who often fantasizes about becoming a Vaudeville star, and Velma Kelly, a vaudeville queen b who desires far more fame than she already has. They both find themselves in the Cook County Jail on “murderesses row”. Crime and short-lived fame are the central themes of this movie. Murder and lies are sensationalized and glorified. It is no surprise that p...
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...Other songs may not only introduce characters, but also explain situations as they advance the narrative. Take for example Mama Morton’s “When You’re Good To Mama,” this number not only introduces Mama, but it also exposes the way in which things are run in the Cook County Jail, where Roxie and Velma are inmates. The song “We Both Reached for The Gun” is imperative to the musical as it tells Roxie’s story from Billy Flynn’s perspective, which ultimately attains her discharge from jail. Chicago is packed with great energizing songs that always seem to reach several climaxes as they build momentum towards a big musical orgasm, as is the case with the last song of the film, “Nowadays”, where Roxie and Velma perform together on stage for the first time. Regardless of their function, all the songs in the soundtrack have a certain finesse that makes the movie a real auditory delight.
In conclusion, everyone who enjoys the magic of Broadway and the fantasy world of Hollywood must watch Chicago. Although it is at most difficult to translate a stage musical to an Award-winning film, the vision of director was carefully carried making Chicago a very enjoyable film for the whole family.
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