This was a departure for director Wellman, and he handles it in good order, giving ROXIE HART a loud and brash nature that only occasionaly stretches the burlesque comedy beyond its boundaries. Rogers is a sassy, gum-snapping dance hall girl in 1920s Chicago. When her husband, Chandler,
murders a man, Rogers takes the fall, figuring the trial publicity will give her career a boost. She hires Menjou as her lawyer, and the crafty attorney schools her in how to sway a jury. Menjou's out to make a name as well, so getting Rogers to play the part is of the utmost importance. His trial
strategy depends, among other things, on Rogers' shapely legs which she flashes to the jury without mercy. After a trial worthy of any burlesque review, Rogers is not too surprisingly found innocent. She quickly jettisons Chandler for the favors of Montgomery, a reporter who has fallen in love
with her while covering the trial. ROXIE HART is a wonderful farce, and Rogers delivers a nice-sized chunk of ham with her performance. It's a role that the actress clearly enjoys, giving the film an energetic center that just doesn't stop as she chews the scenery along with her gum. Menjou and
the supporting cast rally around her in good style, an enjoyable ensemble that electrifies the farce. Wellman directs at a fevered pitch, firing this along at a delirious pace that occasionally overwhelms itself. Rather than let some subtle humor sneak in, Wellman goes for the broad every time.
Wellman was impressed by Chandler's performance and promised him a part in his next picture, A GREAT MAN'S LADY. The two developed a symbiotic relationship and would work together often in the future. This was based on a play by Maurine Watkins and had hit the screens once before, in 1928, under
the title CHICAGO. In 1975, stage and film director Bob Fosse resurrected the material for a new Broadway musical, once again using the title "Chicago."
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- Rating: NR
- Review: This was a departure for director Wellman, and he handles it in good order, giving ROXIE HART a loud and brash nature that only occasionaly stretches the burlesque comedy beyond its boundaries. Rogers is a sassy, gum-snapping dance hall girl in 1920s Chica… (more)