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Roxie Hart [VHS] (1942)

Ginger Rogers , Adolphe Menjou , William A. Wellman  |  NR |  VHS Tape
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Ginger Rogers, Adolphe Menjou, George Montgomery, Lynne Overman, Nigel Bruce
  • Directors: William A. Wellman
  • Writers: Nunnally Johnson, Ben Hecht, Maurine Dallas Watkins
  • Producers: Nunnally Johnson
  • Format: Black & White, Closed-captioned, HiFi Sound, NTSC
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • VHS Release Date: December 6, 1995
  • Run Time: 75 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6303662560
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #436,277 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

This 1942 satirical comedy stars Ginger Rogers as the title character, who agrees to be accused of murder so the publicity will advance her dancing career. Whether she actually committed the crime is irrelevant to the reporters, who fall all over themselves to give Roxie her 15 minutes of fame (well, this compact movie is actually 75 minutes long). Adolphe Menjou costars as the blustery defense lawyer who sees no possibility of losing, and George Chandler plays the meek husband left in Roxie's dust. Among the highlights are the judge, lawyers, and client primping for every photo opportunity, and Rogers's nostalgic tap dance on a metal prison staircase. Roxie Hart was based on the play Chicago, which later became the basis for the Bob Fosse musical with Gwen Verdon (and then Ann Reinking in the 1997 revival) in the Rogers role. --David Horiuchi

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
46 of 47 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A star vehicle for Ginger Rogers April 11, 2003
Format:VHS Tape
Most people these days will want to see this film in order to compare it to the musical CHICAGO. ROXIE HART was the film adaptation of a previous stage hit CHICAGO, which introduced to the world the character Roxie Hart and her attorney Billy Flynn. I think it would be a shame if that was the only reason people watched this. Ginger Rogers turned in one of the half dozen best performances of her career in the title role (though in 1942 I think she was better in Billy Wilder's film debut as a director, in THE MAJOR AND THE MINOR). For those who only know her from her musicals paired with Fred Astaire, this film could be a surprise. Ginger had actually managed by 1942 a number of excellent non-musical comedic roles. It is ironic to compare this film with the 2002 musical version, and realize that the nonmusical version starred a musical star, while the musical starred a nonmusical actress (though Renee Zellweger acquitted herself very well indeed).
Adolph Menjou is great as Billy Flynn. Menjou is sometimes today remembered more for his nonscreen activities than his acting. He cooperated with the House Un-American Activities Committee in the forties in ferreting out "communists" in Hollywood, which has placed him historically in a rather poor light. He is also remembered for being one of the best dressed men of the 20th century, appearing regularly at the top of lists of the best dressed men in the world for years. He was a star of the silent screen, but while he made a number of very good films in the sound era (including a tremendous role as a corrupt French officer in the great Stanley Kubrick anti-war film PATHS OF GLORY), his success was haphazard.
This is a very satisfying film, and one can enjoy it either on its own merits or by comparing it with the recent Oscar-winning musical and Tony-winning stage musical. Either way, it is a film that the more recent versions shouldn't make us forget.
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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ginger Rogers is simply great! August 21, 2004
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
We all know about the 2002 Academy Award Winning Musical "Chicago", starring Catherine Zeta-Jones, Richard Gere and Renée Zellweger, but not too many people knew that this story had been filmed before as plain comedy in 1942.

Ginger Rogers does an excellent job portraying the rather vulgar & low-brow, but very appealing Roxie Hart, who is being judged for shooting a man, something she, in fact, didn't do...but, which oddly enough, she must pretend she did, in order to gain public notoriety & "stardom", in the late `20s Chicago!

She has to convince a Jury (integrated by men-only) to acquit her not-guilty, the poor young thing! (Rogers), helpless, shy, "demure", ...she just had to fight for "her honor"....and in the process she (hilariously) displays (in front of the Jury) many-a-smile and lots of "legs" (and batting eyelashes too!), to obtain it!!

Adolphe Menjou is excellent as her attorney, the "best in town", guiding her through all kind of schemes to gain both the acquittal and the press-coverage she so desperately needs to show "her talents" and become a "public name"...BTW, you have to watch Rogers dance the blackbottom!

George Montgomery is good as a young reporter who falls for Roxie, and the rest of the cast is filled with great character actors like Lynne Overman, Nigel Bruce, Spring Byington, William Frawley, Sara Allgood, Phil Silvers,...all of whom give expert and flawless performances.

The story was filmed before as a silent in 1927, as "Chicago", with Phyllis Haver as Roxie Hart.

Fox's DVD edition is great, giving us a great, sharp, crisp (in glorious Black & white) copy of the film.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Different but lots of fun April 13, 2003
Format:VHS Tape
I watched this out of curiousity after becoming a fan of Chicago the movie. It's fun to compare and contrast the modern version against this Ginger Rogers vehicle. Check out familiar characters (such as the prison matron "Mrs." Morton and Mary Sunshine) new characters (the reporter who has a crucial role in the end) and even missing characters (no Velma Kelley.)
This 1942 film has the title character as a woman on trial for shooting a man who is strongly implied to be her lover. Unlike the Roxie Hart in Chicago, this Roxie is innocent and only on trial for publicity to bolster her show business career. Rogers is a lot of fun and chews the scenery as the gum snapping Roxie. In retrospect, it seems a natural that this story became a musical. Aside from a brief tap dance sequence, it's too bad Rogers couldn't show off her musical talents here.
Make note to watch for the totally different but funny ending.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Razzle Dazzle May 5, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
Based on the same play as the current hit musical "Chicago," this outstanding movie has much of the same dialogue and a surprising amount of the same pungent satire (Adophe Menjou IS Johnnie Cochran). The movie's chief asset is Ginger Rogers, who gives the greatest performance of her career. She's fearless enough to play Roxie as a vain, selfish knucklehead and skillful enough to somehow make her sympathetic. Plus she does two wonderful solo dances that demonstrate once and for all that she had absolutely no need of her ex-partner... whatshisname. And, finally, those legs... wow. The movie has slight flaws: Roxie has been made innocent of murder (maybe) and a fairly icky framing device has been added. And, of course, the Kander and Ebb songs are missed. Nonetheless, this is a great, great movie -- hard, fast, and hilarious.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it
I love Ginger Rogers and I love the musical Chicago. This is a great movie.
Published 1 month ago by S. White
5.0 out of 5 stars Timeless
This movie is so wonderfuly done, it's Ginger Rogers at her best. Great cast and very entertaining. We'll be watching this over and over.
Published 6 months ago by Clawja
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than Chicago
Same story line as the more recent "Chicago" but made many years earlier and in black and white which doesn;t diminish its enjoyability. Ginger Rogers is terrific as Roxy... Read more
Published 8 months ago by david erickson
5.0 out of 5 stars Uproarious fun!
I love good musicals and "Roxie Hart" (1942) is one of them. I can't believe that the movie story based on the true story that inspired "Chicago", wow! Read more
Published 8 months ago by Victoria
4.0 out of 5 stars GINGER, YES! .... ROXIE, WELL ....
The five stars are mainly for the crisp black and white print. In this rather stingy release, we get the movie, two versions of the film's previews and a rather self-serving group... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Calicokid
4.0 out of 5 stars An entertaining film!
I had just finished watching the original silent film, "Chicago" and I thought that this fell short of the silent version. Read more
Published 9 months ago by George L. Herrick
5.0 out of 5 stars To Die For.....
Greetings All, This is Ginger at her best! I had never seen this before and I really liked it! Laughs are pleantyfull and the acting is great all around. Read more
Published 11 months ago by William E. Bondar Jr.
2.0 out of 5 stars roxy hart with Ginger Rogers 1942
Boy, it sure didn't take much to entertain us back then. I think Bea Arthur said it best than anyone I have ever heard quoted. Read more
Published 12 months ago by sowhat
5.0 out of 5 stars A Satire on Newspapers and Courts
Roxie Hart, 1942 film

Roxie Hart is a showgirl who is accused of murder of a boyfriend (she is married). Read more
Published 14 months ago by Acute Observer
5.0 out of 5 stars TOO MUCH FUN!
Published 15 months ago by E. Tarnay
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