Chicago (1927 film)

Chicago is a 1927 American comedy-drama silent film produced by Cecil B. DeMille and directed by Frank Urson.

Chicago lobby card.jpg
Lobby card
Directed byFrank Urson
Produced byCecil B. DeMille
Written byLenore J. Coffee
Based onChicago
by Maurine Dallas Watkins
StarringPhyllis Haver
Julia Faye
Victor Varconi
May Robson
CinematographyJ. Peverell Marley
Edited byAnne Bauchens
Distributed byPathé Exchange
Release date
  • December 27, 1927 (1927-12-27)
Running time
118 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageSilent (English intertitles)
Box office$483,165[1]


The plot of the film is drawn from the 1926 play Chicago by Maurine Dallas Watkins which was in turn based on the true story of Beulah Annan, fictionalized as Roxie Hart (Phyllis Haver), and her spectacular murder of her boyfriend.

The silent film adds considerably to the material in Watkins' play, some additions based on the original murder, and some for Hollywood considerations. The murder, which occurs in a very brief vignette before the play begins, is fleshed out considerably. Also, Roxie's husband Amos Hart (played by Victor Varconi) has a much more sympathetic and active role in the film than he does either in the play or in the subsequent musical. The ending is crueler to Roxie, in keeping with Hollywood values of not allowing criminals to profit too much from their crimes (although she does get away with murder).


Preservation statusEdit

The film was long difficult to see, but a recent print was made available from the UCLA Film and Television Archive, enabling the film to play at festivals and historic theaters around the country. This has greatly improved the reputation of the film.[2] Flicker Alley released the film on Blu-ray on October 6, 2020.[3]

A print of Chicago also survives at the Gosfilmofond Russian State Archives.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Birchard, Robert S. (2009). Cecil B. DeMille's Hollywood. University Press of Kentucky. Appendix A. ISBN 978-0-8131-2324-0.
  2. ^ "Progressive Silent Film List: Chicago".
  3. ^

External linksEdit