Bugsy Malone (DVD, 2006, Checkpoint)

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"Bugsy Malone": Another musical without a memorable song

Dec 5, 2012 (Updated Jan 8, 2014)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:mildly enjoyable

Cons:stupid, with no memorable songs

The Bottom Line: Cutsey child gangsters singing and hoofing


Alan Parker made ”Bugsy Malone,” advertised as “the best children’s gangster musical” (probably, it's the only one, so it's also the worst!). in 1976, before he he shot “Midnight Express” or “Fame!” or "Mississippi Burning." It is something of a cult movie for persons born during the 1960s, which is not my generation, and the movie is a cult I won’t be joining after having finally screened it.

What I like best about the movie, in which the guns shoot paintballs and there is a lot of pie-throwing, is the vintage roadsters, which are pedal-driven. I know that the clichéd dialogue is supposed to be freshly funny spoken by preadolescents, but I did not find it to be.

There is some movement to songs, as well as songs sung under montages of actions of various sorts. What there is not is a single, memorable song. Paul Williams received a Golden Globe nomination; Barbra Streisand’s “Evergreen” prevailed). The songs are not as dull as those in “Popeye” (1980) but not even a snatch from any of them remains in my mind half an hour after finishing watching the movie. None ohef t production numbers is memorable either, and there is no sensational dancing.

The 14-year-old Jodie Foster was not as jaded herein, as Tallulah,  as she was in her breakout role filmed the same year in “Taxi Driver” but there was something preternaturally adult about her. The title role was played with considerable panache by Scott Baio, and his girlfriend Blousey was played forgettably by Florrie Dugger (not heard from since).

The DVD lacks even a trailer.

The cutesy premise gets tired fairly quickly. I would not go as far as writer/director Parker who later called it "a ludicrous, ridiculous idea,” but more wit and better songs would have made a classic instead of a cult favorite for generation X.


©2010, 2012 Stephen O. Murray

For a list of my favorite (dance heavy) musicals, see here.


Recommend this product? Yes


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