Come on babe, why don’t we paint the town . . . and All That Jazz !!!
Best Picture winner in 2003, and rightly so. Chicago really did mark the return of the musical. Showstopping and so entertaining.
The story is about Roxie Hart (Renee Zellweger) and Velma Kelly (Catherine Zeta Jones) who are in jail for murder. They hire Billy Flynn (Richard Gere) as there lawyer to help them get away with it. Mamma Morton (Queen Latifah) also helps them.
Many musical numbers are featured throughout the film. The opening scene and song, is “All That Jazz”. This really does have to be the best opening to a musical. With Velma belting out all that jazz. Roxie’s husband Amos (John C. Reily) attempts to help her until he realises that she had been cheating on him with Fred Casely (Dominic West). “Funny Honey” is Roxie’s song about her husband Amos, which is overlapped with the police finding out it was in fact Roxie who killed Fred.
“When your good to mamma” is the entrance of Matron “Mamma” Morton which is a fantastic entrance. Having Mamma being like a red hot mamma which is a cool angle to take especially with Queen Latifah in the part.
I have seen the stage show three times and love the way it was adapted for the film. With everything happening through Roxie’s mind. Instead of just breaking out in song every now and then. It builds up the musical numbers by what is occurring between the characters. Then with the musical numbers and dancing appearing to be on a stage, the use of the prison bars “Cell Block Tango” and “All I care About”.
“We both reached for the gun” is a very clever part in which Billy speaks for Roxie. Treating her like a dummy. Singing for her (which is rather amusing).
“Roxie” this number is when Roxie believes she is going to be a big star with her name in lights when she gets out of jail. I think she looks very much like Marylin Monroe in this number. Very old style Hollywood.
“I can’t do it alone” is Velma’s other big number. Where she is trying to persuade Roxie that she could take the part her sister used to do in a double act. As she can’t do it alone. Fantastic dance routine from a desperate Velma who is trying so hard to impress Roxie. As Roxie as stole all her press.
“Mister Cellophane” is Amos’ big number when he makes clear that he feels like he is invisible. I find this song really heart felt and heartbreaking as Amos does seemed to be ignored by all of those around him. “You can look right through me, walk right by me, and not even no am there . . . “.
“Razzle Dazzle” sung by Billy Flynn just before Roxie’s trial, explains the whole view on the film. “Give ’em the old razzle dazzle, razzle dazzle ’em.” I really enjoy that musical number set in the court with the dancers draped over the judge and Amos at different points. Showing that the whole trial (and the world) is a circus.
After the trial, another murder takes place as the verdict is announced causing all of the reporters not to care about Roxie anymore. She is now yesterday’s news and as Billy says “that’s Chicago”. Amos is the only person sitting in the court room as he actually believed Roxie was really pregnant. He then finds out the truth and she leaves him.
Roxie is shown auditioning but not making it and then is met by Velma, who said one Jazz Killer is nothing, but two . . . and the last scene opens with Roxie and Velma having their own double act. “Nowadays/Hot Honey Rag” which is a fantastic way to end the movie. Shows Roxie and Velma being back on top again.
An original song “I Just Move On” was written for the movie and played over the credits sung by both Renee Zellweger and Catherine Zeta Jones. Was nominated for an Oscar but did not win it (which was totally shocking!!!).
Yeah I am a massive musicals fan and this is the film which really started it all off. Its just razzle dazzle and all that jazz. Which everyone one should watch in my opinion. It also was which started me being a massive fan of Catherine Zeta Jones, who totally deserved her Oscar. 🙂