Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

In Old Chicago (1937)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

In Old Chicago (1937)

In director Henry King's urban disaster film and family drama - a fictionalized account of the historic fire in Chicago in the 19th century:

  • the spectacular 20-minute sequence of the famous Chicago fire of 1871 with thousands fleeing into Lake Michigan as a panoramic shot shows the city totally ablaze
  • the concluding segment in which Irish immigrant matriarch Mrs. Molly O'Leary (Oscar-winning Alice Brady) watched the city burn down in the distance with playboyish entrepreneur son Dion (Tyrone Power) and pretty saloon singer Belle Fawcett (Alice Faye) in his arms; she spoke sadly about the loss of her crusading lawyer son Jack (Don Ameche): ("It's gone, and my boy's gone with it. But what he stood for will never die. It was a city of wood, and now it's ashes, but out of the fire will be coming steel. You didn't live to see it, my lad, no more than your father did before you. God rest the two of you. But there's Dion left, and his children to come after"); Dion assured his mother: ("He'll have his dream, Ma. Nothing can lick Chicago any more than it could lick him")
  • the ending sequence of wet-eyed Molly steadfastly speaking words of hope that the city would rebuild and survive, and life would go on - the dream of both her boy Jack and her deceased husband Patrick: ("Aye, that's the truth. We O'Learys are a strange tribe. There's strength in us. And what we set out to do, we finish")

The Sequence of the Chicago Fire of 1871

Molly's Hopeful Words


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