» » Chicago Joe and the Showgirl (1990)

Chicago Joe and the Showgirl (1990) Online

Chicago Joe and the Showgirl (1990) Online
Original Title :
Chicago Joe and the Showgirl
Genre :
Movie / Crime / Drama / Romance / Thriller / War
Year :
Directror :
Bernard Rose
Cast :
Emily Lloyd,Kiefer Sutherland,John Lahr
Writer :
David Yallop
Type :
Time :
1h 43min
Rating :

During World War II, an American serviceman in London decides to impress his English girlfriend by acting as an American gangster, which soon turns deadly.

Chicago Joe and the Showgirl (1990) Online

In World War II London, Karl Hulten is an American serviceman and Betty Jones is an aspiring showgirl. When they meet, passion and desire fuel a dangerous fantasy: he is the big-time gangster named Chicago Joe; she is his glamorous moll. They go for a reckless drive, they steal a fur coat, each time she dares him to take a wilder risk, and each time he proves himself. Until their lust for excitement demands nothing short of going "all the way" - to murder. This is the shocking true story of two strangers who meet, mingle and lack into a dangerous world of their own.
Cast overview, first billed only:
John Lahr John Lahr - Radio commentator
Emily Lloyd Emily Lloyd - Betty Jones
Liz Fraser Liz Fraser - Mrs. Evans
Kiefer Sutherland Kiefer Sutherland - Karl Hulten
Harry Fowler Harry Fowler - Morry
Keith Allen Keith Allen - Lenny Bexley
Patsy Kensit Patsy Kensit - Joyce Cook
Angela Morant Angela Morant - Customer
John Surman John Surman - Mr. Cook
Janet Dale Janet Dale - Mrs. Cook
John Dair John Dair - John
Stephen Hancock Stephen Hancock - Doctor
Hugh Millais Hugh Millais - U.S. colonel
Harry Jones Harry Jones - Taxi driver
Alexandra Pigg Alexandra Pigg - Violet

Despite director Bernard Rose's frequent claims during the UK publicity campaign for the film that it was "the greatest British film ever made," the film was not only a major flop but one of the worst reviewed films of the year.

Last cinema film of Harry Fowler.

Even though Hans Zimmer is credited with the score, in an old interview with Shirley Walker, she stated for legal reasons Zimmer was credited but he didn't write any of the score and it was all done by her.

User reviews



I don't understand why most people don't like the film or even find it boring! It is one of my favorite films! I admit I don't know much about the true case, but I can tell you about the film as a fictional story: It is one of the most atmosperic films I know. The pictures are great. London's empty streets at night in wartime... the art directing really gives you the feeling of the time and place. The music, often pieces by Benny Goodman are brilliantly used to support situations and also of course is historically very well fitting. The dance scene is the most intense swing dance scene I have ever seen on film and I have seen all the Fred Astaire movies! The directing is very interesting and a bit experimental. It gives you a brilliant view into the inside of the characters. Georgina dreaming about fame and adventure likes to see "Ricky" as a really cool gangster, and herself with him as his stylish girl in his elegant car, -so we suddenly see them like that. It's an interessting and thrilling effect, not at last because especially Kiefer plays beautyfull with his charakter and the different ways he can be seen by Georgy, his actual girlfriend or the viewer. Also you get a really strong connection to Kiefer's character. I really started to feel sick and associated with him, feeling the nightmare, that he was in. Georgy is well played too, you get her childish curiosity and passion for danger, adventure and power, which is kind of charming at first, but then you also see her through "Ricky's" eyes as a demonic, dangerous killer, that is disgusting and terrifying in the same way as seductive. Even I, as being a woman can totally understand his conflict and the nightmare he is going through. I can not understand how this film can bore someone, I think it is a real treasure!


CONTAINS SPOILERS THROUGHOUT. 'Chicago Joe and the Showgirl' is based on the true story of Karl Hulten and Elizabeth Jones. Hulten was a Swedish-born American GI stationed in England during WW2. Jones was a Welsh-born woman who had drifted through several professions, including striptease. When Hulten and Jones met (in October 1944), they embarked on a crime spree that lasted for only a few violent days.

This is the same premise that's been told better elsewhere. Hulten and Jones had the same dynamic as Bonnie and Clyde, or Starkweather and Fugate (the couple who inspired the movie 'Badlands'). A cheap psychopath meets a girl who wants some thrills. She's aroused by the danger he represents. Her arousal emboldens him to increasingly violent acts.

'Chicago Joe and the Showgirl' opens with an unseen American narrator informing us portentously that this story is absolutely true, and that nothing has been invented nor changed. This sort of statement activates my baloney barometer, but I felt better when I saw David Yallop credited as scriptwriter. Yallop is a brilliant journalist who has authored several true-crime books, impeccably researched and scrupulously accurate. As the opening credits rolled, I recognised the voice of the narrator: he is John Lahr, an American journalist based in London, likewise noted for scrupulous accuracy in his writing. Lahr does not appear on screen in this film, perhaps because his somewhat comical facial features would remind audiences of his father Bert Lahr. (Coincidentally, the two stars of this film -- Kiefer Sutherland and Emily Lloyd -- also had actor fathers.)

I'm sure that Yallop knows far more than I do about the Hulten/Jones case, yet I spotted two inaccuracies. When Hulten and Jones first meet, he invites her to pick out a well-dressed woman whose fur coat Jones fancies, which Hulten then steals for her. Later, as they seek greater thrills, their crime spree escalates until Hulten murders a cabdriver. In real life, the coat Hulten stole off a woman's back was white ermine; in this movie, it's a darker fur. More crucially, the film reverses the order of these incidents: in real life, Hulten stole the fur *after* he murdered the cabbie, with Jones eagerly witnessing both crimes. I assume that the filmmakers deliberately reversed these incidents so that the couple's crimes would build up to the homicide that got them nicked.

Emily Lloyd (Welsh by name but not by upbringing) makes a creditable effort to copy the working-class Neath accent of Elizabeth Jones. (Ironically, the real Betty Jones was not very good-looking, even by 1940s standards; the real Karl Hulten was far more handsome than Kiefer Sutherland.) Sutherland gives an impressive performance; in early scenes, he strides through London in a lieutenant's uniform and returns the salutes of enlisted men. Later, we learn that he's actually an AWOL private.

This film's art direction is elaborate, yet wretched. Kiefer Sutherland's performance as a 1944 psychopath is compromised by his 1990 hairstyle. (U.S. Army soldiers in WW2 were not issued styling mousse.) Emily Lloyd and all the other women in this film have coiffures and make-up reflecting somebody's 1990 notion of 1940s retro, rather than actual 1940s styles. Women in wartime Britain had to improvise cosmetics or do without; it would have been nice to see some mention of that here. Yet I was impressed by a brief scene of an elaborate multi-tiered wedding cake ... made of cardboard, with a secret compartment containing the real and far less impressive (wartime) cake.

At one point, the killers duck into a cinema to watch 'Double Indemnity'. (Was this movie screened in wartime England?) I dislike movies in which the characters attend a (better) movie that conveniently reflects their own situation.

After the couple are arrested, the British authorities hand over Hulten to the U.S. Army for military trial. The film gets this detail right: Army lawyers deposed Hulten, then chose to give him back so the Home Office could try him in Crown Court. The movie's climax is utterly laughable, featuring the collision of two old-movie clichés. A line of helmeted and bewhiskered British bobbies (out of 'Dixon of Dock Green') face off against a line of trenchcoated American reporters with snap-brim trilbies and elaborate flashbulb cameras (out of 'The Front Page'). I expected the bobbies to twirl their truncheons and mumble 'Here now, what's all this, then?' while the reporters would grab candlestick telephones and shout 'Get me Rewrite!' Actually, this last scene isn't meant to be realistic: it's shown from Betty Jones's viewpoint, and she's now entertaining delusions of showbiz glamour. Still, this climax reminded me of several much better films -- the musical 'Chicago', 'King of Comedy' and especially 'Sunset Boulevard' -- in which a delusional criminal basks in imaginary stardom while Justice closes in.

At the end, Lahr's narration returns to tell us the outcome: Hulten was executed in HM Prison Pentonville a few weeks before V-E Day. Betty Jones was given a long prison sentence, and eventually paroled. The grim truth is that this 'wild' couple, often deemed the British version of Bonnie and Clyde, were two very common criminals indeed. So were the real Bonnie and Clyde -- in their entire crime career, Bonnie and Clyde never stole as much money as Jesse James grabbed in a single hold-up -- but at least Bonnie and Clyde were brilliant at self-promotion, and they'll be famous for a long time. Hulten and Jones were cheap and worthless, and they deserve to be forgotten. So does this movie, which I'll rate 3 out of 10.


I am a big fan of Kefer Sutherland and i have seen most of his movies but its hard to get some because Australia has not got his old ones on DVD or video but i found this gem of a movie on video at an op shop for $1 so i bought it and went home and watched it.This movies about a true story about a man (Sutherland) who is in the army and he meets a woman (Emily Lloyd) in war torn London in 1944 and together they become a deadly twosome.The first half an hour of this movie was a bit boring but the other hour was good and this movie is way under rated its not a 4.4 its at least a 6.Over all this this movie was good and Kefer Sutherland Does a great job at acting in this movie and my rating is 6 out of 10.


I agree with Jack Sommersby's comment that the film was boring, although he probably knows more about directing than I. However, the film somewhat chronicles what happened in this case and I think that Keifer did an OK job of portraying Hulten. In my opinion, the film would have been much better if it had shown Hulten's and Jone's trial at the Old Bailey, his subsequent hanging at the Pentonville prison, and her being sent to Holloway prison for life.

Richard Clark has an excellent Web site that is just loaded with facts about the prison system and capital punishment in the U.K. going back to the early 18th century.

This film is nowhere near the calibre of "10 Rillington Place" and "Let Him Have It."


David Yallop's "Let him have it" was riddled with inaccuracies and half - truths,consequently I approached "Chicago Joe" with some trepidation only to find that here he has got most of the facts right only for the entire movie to fall victim to the 1990's fad for faux 1940's retro,failing to grasp the most elementary fact that people during the second world war neither looked,spoke nor behaved anything like they would half a century in the future.Mr K.Sutherland is,brutally,nothing like a G.I deserter,rather he is a time - traveller visiting the past and trying to fit in to avoid discovery.Miss E.Lloyd, given the crutch of an accent to assume,does rather better as his moll/muse. In truth there was a good - sized community of American deserters centred around London and they would quickly have given "Chicago Joe" up to the Old Bill in order to divert interest away from themselves. Many of them were engaged in the second oldest profession with the sideline of rolling drunks and the less- hazardous "badger game" and the presence of an obvious psycho in their midst would have been bad for business. As "Joe"'s sad,pathetic sidekick,Miss Lloyd fulfills the promise shown in "Wish you were here",hiding vulnerability under a thin veneer of cynicism.Although perhaps not quite star - crossed lovers,they were certainly an ill - met couple,each egging the other on to further depravities until they take the final,irrevocable,step. As film makers grind their way through "Notable British Trials" they might care to study one or two of the well - known cases where subsequent investigation has given cause for concern rather than ones where the defendants richly deserved their fate.Take Dr Crippen for instance,there is absolutely no evidence that the remains found in his fireplace were those of his wife.....now that,surely,would be the starting point of an interesting movie...


I've been watching quite a few ho-hum films lately and this one doesn't quite reach even that status.

We are first assured that this movie is 100% factual, and I guess it came close. I see how the story of a criminal couple on a short crime spree sold tabloid newspapers, but it just didn't make an interesting movie. It aspires to a forties look, but is too ninetiesh for me.

The acting is okay, but no outstanding performances. Directing...well, not very good. Scrept's sorta blah.

There's maybe one good though lurid scene in this and that isn't enough to make sitting through the movie to see.
Global Progression

Global Progression

Perhaps I shouldn't be commenting on this film, as I couldn't sit through the entire showing. I rented this movie, because I am always drawn to movies of the 40's/50's era. Well, that was a mistake. Should have learned my lesson with Mulholland Falls, but this one took "bad" movie to a whole new level.

There's not much to say about this movie, except "avoid at all costs".