Sunday, December 10, 2006

BUGSY MALONE - a kids film with sass

BUGSY MALONE is an awesome kids film. We loved it so much my cousin's nick-name remains Bugsy to this day. But it wasn't until I came to write this review that I realised how odd a film it is. In fact, it must have been nigh on impossible to pitch to the money-men: a movie-musical with pre-teen kids playing gangsters in prohibition era New York. And, given how much more fearful we have become, I doubt any film-maker would get away with having a dolled-up fourteen-year old singing seductively in a smokey nightclub today. Still, BUGSY MALONE belongs to a more innocent time, for me at least. And I reckon every kid should get a chance to see this truly great movie.

A pre-Chachi Scott Baio plays Bugsy Malone, a smooth-talking hoodlum that everyone loves. He hangs with Fat Sam, an old-fashioned mobster who runs an underground nightclub where glamourous Tallulah (Jodie Foster) sings cabaret and plain Blousey Brown sings backing vocals. The movie has two strands. The first sees Bugsy trying to woo a sceptical Blousey despite Tallulah's attentions. The second sees Fat Sam's empire come under attack from Dandy Dan - a spivvy new gangster who's replaced the old technology (Custard pies) with a new WMD (the Splurge Gun.) Everything is acted to perfection and filmed in beautiful period costumes and locations.

The movie is filled with memorable characters, charismatic performances, great songs, murders, illegal boxing, seduction, betrayal, custard pie fights and True Love. Honestly, short of THE PRINCESS BRIDE, I can't think of a better way to spend an hour and a half than watch this movie!

BUGSY MALONE was originally released in 1976. It is on re-release in the UK.

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