This is hopefully to become an either weekly or monthly feature on a past film and why a particular scene works to illustrate the general feeling of the entire picture or in some cases how it fails. I would love to hear your insights and thoughts on this idea. And maybe even a few suggestions as to other movies that could be showcased in this format. I hope you enjoy.
Directed by: Rob Marshall
Starring: Renee Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Richard Gere and Queen Latifah
Released: 10th of December 2002
Runtime: 113 minutes
Rating: PG-13 for sexual content and dialogue, violence and thematic elements.
This is an event picture because it has changed modern films and reignited a dormant genre. Chicago brought back the movie musical by daring to be original. The film won over critics as it waltzed away with 6 Academy Awards including the coveted Best Picture. It wasn’t limited to critics as Chicago grossed more than $170 million becoming the highest grossing musical in nearly 20 years. Without the overwhelming of the films, other such as The Phantom of the Opera, The Producers and Dreamgirls would have never gotten off the ground. A large debt is owed to Chicago.
Setting up the scene:
There is not much to setup this particular scene because it takes place early on in the film. Through this performance we are introduced to the two main players and the lure of Jazz. Not only is this the beginning scene for the movie but it also sets the tone in which the entire film follows. Chicago assaults us from the first moment with violence, sex and, of course, Jazz. This works to immediately draw viewers in and due to a strong screenplay and a keen eye on direction it never relents.
The Scene (this post may contain images and language that is not suitable for all ages):
I chose the performance of “All that Jazz” simply because it is the first clue audiences are given that this isn’t their grandfather’s musical. The number opens with Velma Kelly (Zeta-Jones) arriving late to a gig, but then we see her in the dressing room washing what appears to be blood from her hands. An indicator this isn’t going to be one of those happy, sunny musicals, ie Grease. At the same time Roxie Hart (Zellweger) is in the club with a man who has promised to make her a star. During the performance, the audiences see the passion filled beginning of this affair and its rather abruff ending. Chicago was innovative in its approach to the musical. The filmmakers never make the performances seem hookey or stupid because all the musical number take place within Roxie’s mind. This allows for the performances to be grand without seeming unrealistic.Chicago is a musical like no before it. And this scene is the first taste of this new cocktail. Even months after viewing this is one scene and song that will still stay with you. Even people that have hated musical found some quality in this film. If you haven’t seen Chicago, do yourself a favor and check it out, because this film will Razzle-Dazzle you.
Here it is This is part of the scene, which I found through youtube, but I strongly recommend picking up a copy.