Festival of Ideas presents… Chicago (1927) + Live piano accompaniment

Like the musical Chicago that won the Best Picture Academy Award and five other Oscars in 2002, this original 1927 version descends from a 1926 hit Broadway play by Maurine Watkins. But Frank Urson’s 1927 hit is far more than just a standard adaptation set within the jazz era of gangster land Chicago.

Sexy, jazz-loving and dressed to kill, Roxie Hart (Phyllis Haver) has a doting, handsome husband in Victor Varconi; not to mention a gold-digging affair on the side with Eugene Pallette, who pays and pays, eventually with his life. Put on trial for murder, Roxie secures lawyer Billy Flynn (Robert Edeson), equal part mob mouthpiece and publicity agent. When Roxie hits the headlines, the courtroom theatrics begin.

A terrifically entertaining mix of humor, sex, death and melodrama, as well as a pungent critique of trash journalism, Frank Urson’s Chicago, establishes the city of Chicago as one of the most dangerous and yet exciting cities to live in 1920s America.

This historic piece of cinema will be accompanied with live piano by John Sweeney. With thanks to Lobster Films, Paris.

This special screening is part of a series of events in collaboration with South West Silents, Bristol Festival of Ideas, Cube Cinema, Curzon Cinema and Arts and Watershed celebrating the films of the Weimar Republic as well as the ‘City and Silent Film’. These two seasons run through September, October and November 2019 as part of the Festival of the Future City 2019.

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Run Time: 84 minutes

Rating: PG