Before La La Land signaled the return of the musical once again, the previous announcement was made by Rob Marshall‘s Chicago. Based on the 1975 Kander and Ebb musical, Chicago (2002) concerns itself with Velma Kelly and Roxie Hart, two accused murderers who each turn to courtroom magician Billy Flynn to defend them in court. Catherine Zeta-Jones (who won an Oscar), Renee Zellweger (who was nominated), and Richard Gere assumed the roles of the murderesses and their lawyer in the 2003 Best Picture winner. Though the movie is regularly listed as a “disappointing” Best Picture winner, it has held up remarkably well in the intervening years. As fame and notoriety become increasingly synonymous with importance and prominence, the movie has proven even more prescient and relevant than it seemed in ’75 and ’02. And though Marshall has been a little less successful with his big-screen adaptations of Nine and Into the Woods, that does not deny the power of what he did in 2002. At that point, with the exception of Disney animated movies, musicals were considered all but dead. Not only did Chicago prove that there was still space at the multiplexes for singing, it also successfully transferred a less sunny aesthetic from the stage to the screen. Optimistic and bright musicals have always seemed to be just waiting in the wings to return to prestige (as La La Land demonstrated), but Chicago showed that a less tuneful, more cynical take was what audiences had actually been pining for. The cast does exceptional work (including Oscar nominees Queen Latifah and John C. Reilly) and the cinematography, costumes (by famed designer Colleen Atwood), and production design are divine. With Rob Marshall poised to bring another musical to the big screen next year (Mary Poppins Returns) and La La Land earning raves, it’s time to pay another visit to the darkly comedic Chicago.
Source: Amazon Prime