Chicago (2002) / Nine (2009)
While I was writing my review for Nine (and even watching it) I was trying not to compare it to Chicago. Mainly because I love Chicago and it is one of my favorite films ever, so to compare another musical directed by Rob Marshall on one viewing would not be very fair. So I have decided to take a deeper look into both movies and not really say which one is better, but to show comparisons.
I guess it is better to start off with the similarities they share . . . the stories are told and seen through the mind of the main characters. In Chicago this is through Roxie Hart (Renee Zellweger) and in NIne through Guido Contini (Daniel Day-Lewis). They both want to change their lives and make everything better for themselves. Roxie wants to perform on stage and Guido wants to make another movie, which he is struggling with.
With the stories being told with the musical numbers in the head of the main character, this gives freedom to put together some fantastic and extravagant musical performances which could be more difficult to do in a different format. Thus in both films the musical numbers become quite raunchy and provocative.
Wouldn’t it make our thoughts so much more interesting if a musical number broke out every time we were thinking about something or a different way of seeing someone. Well I think so at least, I can’t be the only one who thinks that? Especially if it looks like “All I Care About” from Chicago and involves Richard Gere in his underwear?
Another amusing comparison that I could not help making is that in Chicago Roxie is married to Amos who she looks too good to actually be with. Yes, you can call me shallow but they don’t really work together, the same can be said about Carla in Nine and her husband who she was totally too good to be with like Roxie. Maybe that can be classed as trademark from certain musicals? Should we feel sorry for these men, or just expect that it would happen. Well in Chicago we have more of a reason as we get to know Amos and he sings the very emotional “Mr Cellophane”.
The main difference between the two films has to be the role of the women in them. In Chicago the women are very much in control of their lives and do not really treat the men very well. In Nine the women are all based around their relationship with Guido and how they pretty much do anything for him. I think these are very different extremes of how women can behave over men. Roxie and Velma lashed out and killed in cold blood because men lied to them, so they definitely could not have lived with Guido he would not have found himself alive for very long!
The costumes and dance routines are all very similar, Nine was able to have some bigger sequences because of the amount of people involved in the movie. “Be Italian” being such an example of this, with the amount of dancers involved. I think in terms of love and relationships Nine goes deeper into this, showing the different way a man behaves with the different women in his life. Whereas Chicago has more women against each other whilst also against men, but then being able to for “friendships”.
Both movies contain sexual reference, images and very suggestive dancing in the musical numbers, which I think has to be more down to the director Rob Marshall than anything else. As I have seen Chicago on the stage 3 times and it is not as sexy as the movie. Nothing really wrong with having more sexual references but both seem to tease and suggest more than actually show, which I think is brilliant with the whole less is more scenario. The outfits aka basque, suspenders, stockings etc scream sexy and are evident in both movies.
They are both sexy, have musical numbers, beautiful women, attractive men, stories, thinking points and so much more. As I stated at the start of this blog I was never aiming to pick between the two movies and say which I like better or which is my favorite. This was just to compare what differences and similarities they both have after the attention they have gotten mainly because of Rob Marshall in the directors chair.
Chicago does not have as many actors/actresses in the movie hence having one real lead and the other 3/4 characters being more supporting. I have just realised that I have not really mentioned the impact of Queen Latifah in the role of Mama Morton in Chicago who has one big musical number, “When Your Good To Mama” which is also very sexy and one of the first showing how Roxie see’s someone flashing between what is happening and the song/performance in Roxie’s head. Which just works out so brilliantly. Richard Gere as Billy Flynn has the same type of impact just bigger as he has more songs and a slightly bigger role.
With Nine having so many different actresses as different women in Guido’s life it had to be done in a different way. This meant that mainly other than his wife the other women were shown in one at a time and had their moment in the spotlight. The biggest example I can use for this is Nicole Kidman as Claudia who is an actress in his movie, who loved him in an unusual way to quote the song. Such a small role for Kidman but I actually liked her appearance and felt it served the purpose in helping to show that Guido really did have something in regards to women wanting him.
So can you compare and come to a conclusion about which one of these movies is your favorite? This maybe something that changes depending on your mood when watching . . . or you might be in the dislike of Nine club which unfortunately seems to be rather large at the moment.