In Old Chicago

1937, Drama/History, 1h 35m

12 Reviews 1,000+ Ratings

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In Old Chicago Photos

Movie Info

In 1871 Chicago, honest lawyer Jack (Don Ameche) and his reckless saloon owner brother Dion (Tyrone Power) are two very different men attracted to the same beautiful singer, Belle (Alice Faye). Personally and professionally at odds, their relationship is tested as Jack becomes mayor of Chicago, while his brother becomes a leader in disreputable entertainments. Their conflict culminates in the Great Chicago Fire, started by a cow belonging to their mother, Mrs. O'Leary (Alice Brady).

Cast & Crew

Tyrone Power
Dion O'Leary
Alice Faye
Belle Fawcett
Don Ameche
Jack O'Leary
Alice Brady
Molly O'Leary
Andy Devine
Pickle Bixby
Tom Brown
Bob O'Leary
Sidney Blackmer
General Phil Sheridan
Berton Churchill
Senator Colby
Tyler Brooke
Specialty Singer
J. Anthony Hughes
Patrick O'Leary
Gene Reynolds
Dion O'Leary as a Boy
Bobs Watson
YoungBob O'Leary
Billy Watson
Young Jack O'Leary
Thelma Manning
Carrie Donahue
Show all Cast & Crew

Critic Reviews for In Old Chicago

All Critics (12) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (8) | Rotten (4)

  • As a film entertainment it is socko.

    March 26, 2009 | Full Review…
  • With a star-filled cast and a fitful sense of drama, it's pretty much the same old recipe as the equivalent cycle of megabudget '70s exploiters, but the climactic conflagration is certainly worth the wait.

    June 24, 2006 | Full Review…
  • Mr. King's direction, occasionally, is inspired, and the photography has unusual style and dramatic impact.

    March 25, 2006 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Under Henry King's direction there is little of the old Fox pep.

    August 9, 2005 | Full Review…
  • ...quite a sociological punch, and a real Chicago flavor. Dirty politics, saloon gangs, slums, tricked elections, fake reform parties. Why old Chicago?

    April 17, 2020 | Full Review…
  • The sincerity of all the actors still surprises. [Full Review in Spanish]

    September 3, 2019 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for In Old Chicago

  • Oct 25, 2013
    The story of a cow and all the problems it caused by burning down a major city. This was an early attempt to create a disaster film and there simply wasn't the technology available to make a decent go of it.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Oct 09, 2011
    This film feels somewhat lost among the Hollywood gems of the thirties, though it was nominated for several Academy Awards, and lent to one of the biggest mysteries concerning Alice Brady's Oscar trophy. The story revolves around the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. There is a large myth that purports that a cow in Mrs. O'Leary's barn set it off a fire, destroying most of the town. In this story Mrs. O'Leary is a widow with three sons living in Chicago. She works night and day as a washer woman to support Jack, a lawyer, Dion, a gambler, and Bob, a newlywed. Most of the plot follows the story of Jack and Dion, played by the wildly popular Don Ameche and Tyrone Power. Before we even get to the tragedy aspect of the film, the first hour or so follows Dion's rise to power in The Patch, the crime riddled section of Chicago, filled with gambling, alcohol, and loose women. Dion falls for and manipulates Belle Fawcett, a performer who sets up a new club with him to the disdain of her former boss, Gil Warren. The romance between Dion and Belle is abusive at best, many scenes showing him pinning her down, catching her before she can run away, and ambushing her several times while she and her maid scream for the police. Of course, in thirties fashion, she sees his roguish charm and falls in love with him. Weaving through are the politics of the mayoral race, in which Jack is a candidate against Gil Warren. This leads to a bout of conflict between the two brothers, one trying to clean up the city, the other trying to make a quick buck. Then, after Dion tricks both Jack and Belle, the barn is set aflame, and we get to watch some really amazing special effects for the time period. There is so much illness, and depression as we watch people get stampeded, families split apart, and others dying young in the flames. This film doesn't hold back, or play out to any cliches when it comes to the ensuing action, making it both a character study of the disenfranchised O'Leary clan, and particularly Dion, the man without ethics who everyone keeps giving the benefit of the doubt. A strong film from a strong era of moviemaking.
    Spencer S Super Reviewer
  • Sep 05, 2010
    Sure it's an epic historical movie, but that doesn't mean it has to be boring! Good actors, but the movie could have been a lot better.
    Aj V Super Reviewer

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