‘Chicago’ burns with talent

Gregg Shapiro, Contributing writer

When Kander & Ebb’s Tony Award-winning musical Chicago finally hit the big screen in 2002 after a few failed attempts (including proposed versions rumored to star Liza Minnelli and Goldie Hawn), it was a massive success. The winner of six Oscars, including best picture, Chicago seemed to signal the return of the big-screen movie musical. 

Neither of the lead actresses in the film Chicago — Renée Zellweger and Catherine Zeta-Jones — was known for her musical stage work. But under the direction of Rob Marshall, the duo glittered as murderous jazz-age mamas Roxie Hart and Velma Kelly, respectively — and Zeta-Jones took home an Oscar for her work.

Now available in a Blu-ray+DVD+Digital HD/Ultraviolet Diamond Edition, with more than two hours (!) of new content, Chicago is holding up better than the city it’s named for. Bill Condon’s inspired Oscar-nominated screenplay transforms wannabe performer Roxie’s musical numbers into effective flights of fancy. As inmates, Roxie and Velma compete for the spotlight and the sympathies of the public and the press. They sing and dance to their (and our) hearts’ content.

Supporting players John C. Reilly (as Roxie’s “invisible” husband Amos), Queen Latifah (as warden Mama Morton), Christine Baranski (as newspaper columnist Mary Sunshine) and Richard Gere (as unscrupulous lawyer Billy Flynn) all make the most of the Kander & Ebb songs, including “The Cellblock Tango,” “All That Jazz,” “Mr. Cellophane,” “Razzle Dazzle” and “Nowadays.”

Special features include commentary by Marshall and Condon, which offers fascinating insight into the film. You’ll also find the deleted “Class” scene, and much more.