Chicago the Movie
Posted 10 December 2002 - 05:11 PM
I was interested to read that the filmmakers decided to present the musical numbers as imagined events -- something going on in Roxie's head -- because they decided that audiences wouldn't accept the characters singing and dancing straight out. Even if this film is a success, that's not a good sign for future musicals.
Posted 10 December 2002 - 09:11 PM
I have serious doubts about Richard Gere in that role, but you never know. I also wish very intensely that Bob Fosse were still around to direct.
I totally agree with you on that. There's a clip somewhere around online of him singing "Razzle Dazzle" and sounded...strange...(what kind of accent is he using?). Hugh Jackman would be so much better in the role, if only he didn't have to do an X-men sequel. I wish Fosse was alive, also, and have Bette Midler and Liza star in it as original planned (the movie would have been shot much earlier, though). I'm still looking forward to seeing Catherine Zeta-Jones- who I hear is amazing in it- and Renee Zellweger star as the "merry murderesses."
I didn't know that the movie was through the eyes and imagination of Roxie, but it seems pretty clever to me. I read a review of it already and the critic actually criticized it for being too theatrical and wasn't filmed like a movie. The critic went on to compare it to Cabaret, and said Cabaret was "movie"-like while Chicago was like a filming of a stage production.
Posted 11 December 2002 - 04:48 AM
Posted 11 December 2002 - 07:37 AM
Posted 11 December 2002 - 11:11 AM
I haven't seen the stage show, but I did read both adaptations, including the Van Druten non-musical one. I thought a flaw in all of the adaptations, including the film, was that the original story was remodeled into a Star Vehicle, with virtually everything set up to showcase adorable quirky Sally. To a certain extent, this was unavoidable – that's showbiz. But it did mean that less attractive sides of Sally's personality were elided, she has WAY too much talent, and so on. (I thought Minnelli's final number in the movie, performed in bravura Liza At the Palace style, was especially ludicrous.)
I think I know why Isherwood didn't want homosexuality mentioned. It wasn't squeamishness, since as Mel notes Isherwood was always very open, even militant, in such matters. But not in his art, until his later novels. If you inject a sex plot where it was not intended to be, you don't expand the meanings – you contract them. Issy doesn't have any sex in the original; his sexuality is suggested but not stated. A central part of Isherwood's artistic method is based on what is not said. It's not always an advance, or an improvement, to shout from the rooftops what need only be implied. In the film, Issyvoo "progresses" to two sexes, and it's too much.
He didn't die until the mid-eighties, I'm pretty sure.
Posted 11 December 2002 - 02:09 PM
Posted 11 December 2002 - 04:34 PM
Posted 20 December 2002 - 09:54 AM
Bill Condon, who wrote the screenplay, and Rob Marshall, the director, have solved the problem of movie actors looking silly when they suddenly burst into song by making all the musical numbers take place in Roxie Hart's imagination. This works, but it does get a little repetitious. The frenetic editing at the beginning of the film, very MTV, worried me, but the movie then settled down to a headache-free pace.
It's been five years since I've seen the show, so I can't comment with great authority about how much was left out or what was added, but I'm very familiar with the CD and noticed that several songs were cut. This didn't bother me except for one song, "Class," which I adore. The Playbill article linked above tells why they had to cut it, and I understand, but still wish that audiences who will never see the stage show could have gotten a chance to hear it. Fortunately, it'll be included in the DVD and CD.
None of the three principals — Renee Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Richard Gere — can sing or dance well, and this affects their performances in different ways. Zellweger has enough acting to do (and she does it so well) that you don't notice it too much, but Zeta-Jones doesn't look like a dancer (she's a bit, um, fleshy). Gere's singing and dancing made me cringe. He acts well enough, but I would have much preferred to see someone else in the role. dirac, Kevin Spacey was reportedly offered the part but turned it down to do something else, and he would have been a big improvement. (He can sing, but I don't know if he can dance.)
They've made Roxie a more sympathetic character than she is onstage, and the whole film comes across as less cynical. Zellweger balances Roxie's hardness and naiveté very well. But Zeta-Jones's performance didn't work for me. She wasn't "low" enough, too ladylike, too soft in a way. I didn't believe that she'd lived the kind of hard life she describes, and her inflections in the singing didn't have the punch that I've heard from other singers. Watching Christine Baranski, who really can sing and dance, in the small role of Mary Sunshine, it was hard not to think what a better Velma she would have been. Queen Latifah as Mama Morton and John C. Reilly as Amos Hart were both wonderful. Chita Rivera, the original (1975) Velma, can be spotted in a tiny cameo, and at the end of the closing credits there's a reprise of "All That Jazz" by an uncredited singer who sounds a great deal like Bebe Neuwirth, the original Velma of the 1996 Broadway revival.
Posted 20 December 2002 - 11:24 AM
The sister of a friend of mine was one of the dancers in the film, so I am looking forward to seeing it.
My online researches haven't turned up any credits for the dancers, which I find disappointing to say the least. Also, I gather that none of the dancers were invited to the premiere of the movie.
Posted 20 December 2002 - 12:11 PM
Posted 20 December 2002 - 01:56 PM
"Zeta-Jones doesn't look like a dancer (she's a bit, um, fleshy)." A bit harsh, isn't it? I know her body can't compare to the ballet dancers of today, but why should it affect an actress in a jazz/musical role?
Posted 20 December 2002 - 02:03 PM
Posted 20 December 2002 - 04:28 PM
Archaeo, I'd heard that CZJ has a musical theater background, but I didn't see evidence of it here. And bear in mind that this is just my opinion — others may think I'm all wrong.
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