Archive for August 30th, 2013

chicago 2

by Allan Fish


Roxie, Roxie!

p  Cecil B.de Mille  d  Frank Urson, Cecil B.de Mille (uncredited)  w  Lenore J.Coffee  play  Maurine Watkins  ph  J.Peverell Marley  ed  Anne Bauchens  m  Rodney Sauer  (reissue)  art/cos  Mitchell Leisen

Phyllis Haver (Roxie Hart), Victor Varconi (Amos Hart), Robert Edeson (Billy Flynn), Virginia Bradford (Katie), Eugene Pallette (Casely), Warner Richmond (Asst. D.A.), T.Roy Barnes (reporter), May Robson (Mama Morton), Viola Louie (Two Gun Rosie), Julia Faye (Velma Kelly),

Even when the 1942 version of Maurine Watkins’ play, Roxie Hart, was released, it was believed that the 1927 silent original was lost.  Over the decades the original praise was replaced by a certain incredulity that it was ever made at all.  It would have stayed lost but for the care of its maker, and when I say maker I don’t mean credited director Frank Urson.  He’d been de Mille’s assistant on The King of Kings, which was still showing in theatres and churches nationwide when de Mille began production of Chicago.  He soon took over directorial control and, while Urson was listed as nominal director on over half the days’ shooting records, de Mille then spent nearly two weeks in post-production doing retakes.  Yet when it came for its first public showing around Christmas 1927, de Mille’s name wasn’t on the credits.  He felt the subject unseemly and un-Christian for his name to be attached to, at least while the Christ film was still raking it in for the Paramount coffers.  Yet he kept an original nitrate print in his own collection and it was there, amongst the archives of his personal estate, that Chicago was found.  (more…)

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