Chicago


Artykuł pochodzi z pisma "Guardian"

Rob Marshall's film version of the jazz age musical takes us right back to an era of high-living, nightclubs, sexual decadence, teetering on the abyss of financial ruin - the 1970s. The original show, with book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse, premiered on Broadway in 1975 - three years after the release of Bob Fosse's barnstorming movie Cabaret. In fact the whole style of this movie, its staging, its photography and choreography, looks very much as if nothing much has changed in the intervening 30 years.
But it isn't exactly Cabaret the film resembles. What this looks like is a sort of grown-up version of Bugsy Malone, that very entertaining but strangely knowing 1976 kiddie-musical by Alan Parker, starring Jodie Foster in the most adult role she's ever had in her life. If you don't believe me, do an image-search on the internet and compare Renée Zellweger in this movie to the youngster Florrie Dugger in Bugsy, playing the goody-two-shoes heroine Blousey. Really very similar, down to the pert blonde 'do and not entirely intentional air of cluelessness. The same tone of naughty-but-nice criminality and low-cal raunchiness prevails throughout Chicago, suitable for the coach parties and weekend-breakers flocking to the current London West End stage revival.
Putting their best hoofin' feet forward are Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Richard Gere. Renée plays Roxie Hart, the hardworking gal who dreams of showbiz glory. A no-good low-life uses her sexually and tries to dump her, so she fills him full of lead. Pending trial, Roxie winds up in the women's prison, meeting über-vamp Velma Kelly, a nightclub chanteuse who has just handed her sister a one-way ticket to Violentdeathville for fooling around with her husband. Catherine Zeta-Jones impersonates her in a Louise Brooks bob, looking sleek and sexy and about 8ft tall.
Finally there is the pewter-haired, crinkle-eyed heartbreaker himself: Richard Gere, filling his chalk-striped, double-breasted suit and snap-brimmed fedora as if to the manner born. He plays Billy Flynn, an appallingly venal criminal lawyer who specialises in this kind of case, adept not merely at manipulating juries but credulous newspapermen as well, spinning them sensational tales to create the publicity and marketing deals which are going to pay his monster fee. He's Clarence Darrow and Max Clifford rolled into one.
Chicago is a very difficult show to open out cinematically, for the simple reason that it's almost entirely set in a prison - imprisoned there, in fact. And Marshall often elects simply not to open it out. For great swathes of time, it looks like a very expensively filmed record of the theatre production on a giant sound stage, rather than a living, breathing film on its own account. The sleazy dance numbers sometimes happen on a fantasy level: inside Roxie's or Velma's head. The wild abandon of the chorus line will be debunked by their sudden absence as one of the leading ladies leans across an ordinary, smoky room to insinuate something. It's all just pretend. Which is stretching things a bit, considering that the musical convention of bursting into song is pretend in the first place.
But what glorious songs! Razzle-Dazzle, All That Jazz - these are showtunes with nuclear warheads. Chicago doesn't have the visual flair and invention of Baz Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge, but what it does have are these showstopping musical numbers, properly embedded in the fabric of the show itself. They're not, as in Luhrmann, a miscellaneous bunch of old pop tunes, but wonderful original classics. I laugh out loud every time I hear the cheeky lines from Razzle-Dazzle: "Give them an act with lots of flash in it/And the reaction will be passionate." That's a rhyme Byron would have been proud to write.
John C Reilly plays Amos, Roxie's poor, deluded schmuck of a husband and with his hang-dog, victim face, he's ideal casting. Marshall throws away some of his song Mr Cellophane; he isn't allowed to get to the end of it uninterrupted so that we get the full pathetic effect of him whimpering: "Thanks for listening." Great song, though.
These are unstoppable numbers; not enough on their own, however, to get a film into orbit. And after seeing the principals strut their stuff, striking choreographed poses with one knee bent and hat tipped with devilish sexiness over one eye, you begin to suspect a whiff of naff. Or if not that, then sameness: familiar-looking shots of supposedly louche nightclubs with a single spotlight in which the dust-motes are circling, the camera doing an adoring and celebratory swirl around the leading lady as she belts out the final note - and it's all sugar-coated with ersatz glam-sleaze and unthreatening toughness.
It isn't that anyone's neglecting to give one hundred and one per cent or that there isn't loads of fun to be had in the set-pieces. Richard Gere has a terrific moment when he his way out of a tight spot in court, and into the jury's affections. But that works because the action is happening outside the prison; it has removed to another location in the blink of an eye. In short, where it starts to look like a film. I left feeling that this had been unambitious and a bit of a missed opportunity. But Chicago is a very good bet for those who don't have the leisure to make it to London for the stage show, and want a reliable, cheaper ticket-price approximation with (mostly) proper Americans in the cast.



abyss - an immeasurably deep gulf or great space , otchłań, przepaść
to barnstorm - to tour through rural districts staging usually theatrical performances; to travel from place to place making brief stops (as in a political campaign or a promotional tour) , agitować
to belt out - to sing in a forceful manner or style, wyśpiewać na całe gardło
bob - a way of cutting hair so that it is the same length all the way round your head, fryzura na pazia
to burst into - to give vent suddenly to a repressed emotion (e.g. burst into tears) wybuchnąć (np.płaczem)
cheeky - impudent, marked by contemptuous or cocky boldness or disregard of others , impertynencki
credulous - ready to believe especially on slight or uncertain evidence, łatwowierny
crinkle-eyed - crinkle – a thin fold, especially in your skin, o pomarszczonych oczach
to debunk - to expose the sham or falseness of , demaskować, ujawniać
devilish - resembling a devil, diabelski, szatański
fedora - a low soft felt hat with the crown creased lengthwise , rodzaj kapelusza
flair - a uniquely attractive quality , polot, wyjątkowość
to flock - to gather or move in a flock ( a large group of the same kind of people), zbierać się w grupy
to fool around - to spend time idly, aimlessly, or frivolously, here: to engage in casual sexual activity wałęsać się, (tu:) mieć romans
glam-sleaze - neologizm utoworzony z wyrazów glamour (an exciting and often illusory and romantic attractiveness) i sleaze (immoral behaviour, especially involving sex or dishonesty) urok przestępcy
hang-dog - a despicable or miserable person nikczemny, żałosny człowiek
to hoof - to dance, to walk, tańczyć, poruszać się tanecznym krokiem
lead - bullets, ołów (kule ołowiane), to fill with lead - zastrzelić, nafaszerować ołowiem
to lean - to incline, deviate, or bend from a vertical position, pochylać się, skłaniać
louche - not reputable or decent , nieprzyzwoity, nie szanowany
miscellaneous - heterogeneous, consisting of diverse things or members, różny, róznorodny
naff - silliness, głupota
naughty - archaic : vicious in moral character, wicked; guilty of disobedience or misbehavior zły; niegrzeczny
pathetic - having a capacity to move one to either compassionate or contemptuous pity, żałosny
pending - during, podczas
pert - amusing but slightly disrespectful, impertynencki, zuchwały
pewter-haired - srebrnowłosa
raunchiness - obscenity, smuttiness, obsceniczność, nieprzyzwoitość
razzle-dazzle - a lot of activity that is intendet to be impressive and excite people, popisy, wygłupy
resemble to - to be like or similar to, przypominać, być podobnym
schmuck - jerk, an annoyingly stupid or foolish person , głupek, palant
showtune - hit, przebój
sleazy - marked by low character or quality, niechlujny, byle jaki
sleek - elegant, stylish, elegancki, stylowy
snap-brimmed o złamanym rondzie (o kapeluszu)
spin (stories or tales) to - to tell a story that is not true in order to decieve, opowiadać banialuki, okłamywać
to strut your stuff - to show your skill at doing something, popisać się
sugar-coated - superficially attractive or palatable, lukrowany, nieprawdziwy, pozornie piękny
swathes - a long broad strips or belts, połacie, zwoje
swirl around - twisting, whirling, kręcenie się wokół
tapdance - a step dance tapped out audibly by means of shoes with hard soles or soles and heels to which taps have been added, stepować
teeter to - to move unsteadily, waver, vacillate, chwiać się, balansować
to tip - to lean at an angle instead of being level or straight, przekrzywić
to dump someone - to brake up with someone, rzucić kogoś, zerwać z kimś
venal - open to corrupt influence and especially bribery, sprzedajny, skorumpowany, przekupny
warhead - the section of a missile containing the explosive, chemical, or incendiary charge, głowica bojowa
whiff - a slight trace or indication , powiew
to whimper - to make a low crying sound, skamleć, mówić płaczliwym głosem
wind up to - to end up, skończyć, zakończyć


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