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"Chicago" Story



From Jonathan Rosenbaum's Chicago review [Movies, Section Two, December 27]:

"The story here started out as Roxie Hart, a cynical, satirical 1942 William Wellman comedy set in the 20s and inspired by The Front Page (though written by Nunnally Johnson). It reappeared as a stage play by Maurine Dallas Watkins, then as a stage musical by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse, of which there were various versions, including one in the late 70s directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Liza Minnelli that I thought painfully static."

1. The Maurine Watkins play Chicago came first, in 1926. It was filmed as Chicago in 1927. Roxie Hart was a remake.

2. The Front Page premiered in 1928. It was influenced by Chicago, not the other way around.

3. Liza Minnelli replaced Gwen Verdon during a brief illness; she never starred in the show on her own.

4. There has been no movie version since 1942, so: Martin Scorsese? What the hell are you talking about? New York, New York, perhaps?

Craig Gustafson
Glendale Heights

Jonathan Rosenbaum replies:

My apologies for the multiple errors--which many readers have kindly pointed out. Despite the fury of some who have insisted that I couldn't possibly have seen Liza Minnelli in a stage production directed by Martin Scorsese, the fact is while I misidentified the show, I did see her in Scorsese's Los Angeles production of The Act, which was staged after Chicago opened and also had songs by Kander and Ebb; I saw Roxie Hart around the same time, which may help account for the scramble.

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