Chicago Lightning is a romantic suspense novel that begins with the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre in Chicago on February 14, 1929 and ends around midnight two days later in Five Points, New York City.
She’d have loved a box of chocolates on Valentine’s Day.
What she got was a gangland massacre and a run for her life.
To get an overall feeling of the Roaring Twenties, I recommend these for movies that, taken together, offer a view of life in the 1920s with decent portrayals of the privileged elite, lower middle class, and working class poor social groups with overlaps in and among the plots.
Some Like it Hot
Set in Chicago 1929, this 1959 movie is a black and white romantic comedy (often touted as the greatest comedy ever filmed) starring Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, and Jack Lemmon. The basic plot involves two musicians (Curtis and Lemmon) who dress in drag to keep from being caught and killed by mafia gangsters, because they witnessed a St. Valentine’s Day massacre-like crime. The movie is a great bit of fun with just enough serious undertones running through it to counter the screwball Curtis/Lemmon silliness.
This is a feel-good romp that is worth re-watching every so often.
The Great Gatsby
Set in Long Island, New York 1922, this movie adaptation from the book by F. Scott Fitzgerald gives a glimpse into the 1920s world of the social elite. Whether you watch the original 1974 version starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow or the 2013 remake with Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan, you will experience the decadence and social privilege that degenerates into a violent confrontation that, for me, has an unsatisfactory and existential ending.
I felt the same way about the book from page one to the end—somewhat sullied and unusual, to quote Captain Jack Sparrow.
Set in Chicago 1924 , this 2002 movie musical starring Catherine Zeta-Jones, Renée Zellweger, Queen Latifah, and Richard Gere is based on the 1975 stage musical. The story interweaves the scandal, celebrity status, and corruption equated with the 1920s Jazz Age. The story was inspired by real events in 1924 Chicago. Two women were accused of murdering their lovers, and were ultimately acquitted. The crime reporter covering their stories, Maurine Watkins, wrote a play about the women’s escapades in 1926.
The music is lively, memorable, toe-tapping, and imminently sing-a-longable; te acting is top-notch; and the storyline is fabulously fun.
The Roaring Twenties
Set in Chicago from the end of WWI through the 1920s, this 1939 black-and-white movie was written, filmed, and marketed as a ‘gritty gangster epic’ to deliberately condemn the debauchery, corruption, violence, and hopelessness of unemployment that defined the 1920s. The movie censors and the social mores of the time were strict when it came to depicting alcohol, violence, and loose morals. Censors would allow a movie production to depict these negative attributes of society only if there was a moral to the story at the end and that the ‘bad guys’ were properly and fully punished and/or sorry for their wicked ways that led them to ruin.
You can’t go wrong with James Cagney as the decent citizen, the military hero, who amasses a fortune through bootlegging, when he is unable to acquire honest employment as jobs aren’t readily available for the returned-home military veterans. He lives the high life for a long time, but ultimately fall into ruin and despair, loses the ‘good’ girl to another man, and then comes to a violent end of his own doing. Humphrey Bogart never disappoints as the heavy who ‘gets his’ in the end, also.
The Roaring Twenties is a cult classic, and those of you familiar with another cult movie, Reefer Madness, will recognize a Reefer Madness-esque sequence in the movie that will make you laugh out loud.
Still, this movie is a keeper, and you’ll re-watch it for the classic that it is.
Until next time,
Look for Kaye here—
Day 1 – Jan. 25th – Chicago Lightning – book video
Day 2 – Jan. 26th – Popular Songs of the 1920s
Day 3 – Jan. 27th – Notable Events of the 1920s – 1920 through 1924
Day 4 – Jan. 28th – Notable Events of the 1920s – 1925 through 1929
Day 5 – Jan. 29th – Chapter 1 Micro Excerpt
Day 6 – Jan. 30th – Slang – 1920s era
Day 7 – Jan. 31st – Pre-order
Day 8 – Feb. 1st – 1920s Kitchen
Day 9 – Feb. 2nd – ‘Roaring 20s’
Day 10 – Feb. 3rd – Chapter 2 Micro Excerpt
Day 11 – Feb. 4th – 4 Movies
Day 12 – Feb. 5th – 1928 Phantom 1 Rolls-Royce
Day 13 – Feb. 6th – Speakeasy
Day 14 – Feb. 7th – Chapter 2 – Micro Excerpt #3
Day 15 – Feb. 8th – Pre-FBI – brief history
Day 16 – Feb. 9th – 1920s radio
Day 17 – Feb. 10th – Release Day, Micro Excerpt #4, and bullet resistant clothing
Day 18 – Feb. 11th – “The Hedge”
Day 19 – Feb. 12th – What did it cost? 1925-1929
Day 20 – Feb. 13th – Hello? Who’s calling?
Day 21 – Feb. 14th – 1920s reference books and book video