HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
American Fiction
Poor Things
Thunderclap
Zeiram
Legend of the Bat
Party Line
Night Fright
Pacha, Le
Kimi
Assemble Insert
Venus Tear Diamond, The
Promare
Beauty's Evil Roses, The
Free Guy
Huck and Tom's Mississippi Adventure
Rejuvenator, The
Who Fears the Devil?
Guignolo, Le
Batman, The
Land of Many Perfumes
Cat vs. Rat
Tom & Jerry: The Movie
Naked Violence
Joyeuses Pacques
Strangeness, The
How I Became a Superhero
Golden Nun
Incident at Phantom Hill
Winterhawk
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City
Maigret Sets a Trap
B.N.A.
Hell's Wind Staff, The
Topo Gigio and the Missile War
Battant, Le
Penguin Highway
Cazadore de Demonios
Snatchers
Imperial Swordsman
Foxtrap
   
 
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
   
 
  Bugsy Malone Phantom Flan Flingers
Year: 1976
Director: Alan Parker
Stars: Scott Baio, Florrie Dugger, John Cassisi, Jodie Foster, Martin Lev, Paul Murphy, Sheridan Earl Russell, Albin 'Humpty' Jenkins, Paul Chirelstein, Andrew Paul, Davison Knight, Mark Curry, Louise English, Dexter Fletcher, Bonnie Langford, Phil Daniels
Genre: Musical, Comedy, HistoricalBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 5 votes)
Review: Roxy Robinson thought he was careful, and he was, but even the most watchful person can make a mistake; his first was to work for Fat Sam (John Cassisi) and his second was to try to escape from his boss's rivals by hiding in a blind alley. Sam has a problem on his hands, and that problem is his business rival Dandy Dan (Martin Lev) who has discovered a novel new way to muscle in on his territory: the splurge gun, a weapon which is so efficient that there's no way Sam's henchmen can compete. So what can he do as his power is whittled away slowly but surely?

The clue's in the title, Sam, Bugsy (Scott Baio) is your man. This eccentric musical was a pastiche of all those thirties gangster movies starring Humphrey Bogart or James Cagney, the novelty being that all the roles are played by children. It wasn't the only movie to feature an all-child cast but is the most celebrated and seeing it now it's still very appealing in the way it sends up the genre clich├ęs in its own good-natured way. Though oddly the manner in which the consciously artificial style operated meant it was best not to examine it too closely: for a start, when characters are hit by the splurge guns, they really do die in the movie, as if writer and director Alan Parker was hewing too closely to those conventions.

This did up the stakes for the unlucky Sam - Bugsy might be the star, but it's Fat Sam who's the best character - and translated into a tension in the movie as if the tone was torn between parody and sincerity. As this was a musical as well, Paul Williams wrote a rightfully Oscar-nominated score packed with catchy tunes, though Parker refused to allow his cast to sing them, therefore it's kind of disconcerting hearing adult voices singing the songs which the children mime to. Forgotten today is the criticism the film received from those who objected to the sight of these kids essentially being made to grow up too fast on camera for some concerned viewers' liking, an opinion which may surprise about what has become a popular school production.

Tallulah's song for example seems a bit, erm, inappropriate, although anyone who's seen Freaky Friday will know Jodie Foster who played the role always acted older than her years and here she seems to be that bit more aloof than her fellow characters, as if too close to thinking and nearly saying, "What am I doing here with these morons?!" Yet the idea of acting out the classic movies, at times amusingly amateurishly in this case, was something that appealed across the board to make this a childhood favourite and Parker cannily tuned into that make-believe world where reality is prepared for through the activity of playing around with your imagination; many's the grown-up who recalls wishing they could have been involved in something that looked so much fun as a movie when they were little.

As for Bugsy, he is the eye of calm this hurricane of tomfoolery revolved around, romancing aspiring singer in Sam's speakeasy Blousy Brown (Florrie Dugger) and fending off the advances of moll Tallulah (another reason kids might not like her) as all the while Dandy Dan's operations close in and he finds he is more needed than he anticipated. With the curious mixture of the infantile - the throwing pies, the vintage vehicles which are actually pedal cars - and the more mature - the way in which lives are at stake, the odd moments of sober emotional reflection, often in song - it was interesting that by the end everyone managed to reach a new level of understanding, inspiring even. It was as if they recognise they have to put away childish things as the old proverb goes, and for all the slapstick there was a bittersweet quality to Bugsy Malone. But again, probably best not analysed too closely lest you break the fantastical spell, as on the whole the film was like a cross between Little Caesar and Tiswas. "So this is showbusiness?"
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 49719 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Alan Parker  (1944 - 2020)

Stylish British director, from advertising, with quite a few musicals to his credit: Bugsy Malone, Fame, Pink Floyd The Wall, The Commitments (possibly his best film) and Evita. Elsewhere he has opted for serious-minded works like Midnight Express, Shoot the Moon, Birdy, Angel Heart, Mississippi Burning and The Life of David Gale. The Road to Wellville was a strange attempt at outright comedy.

 
Review Comments (3)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Enoch Sneed
  Louise Hackett
Darren Jones
Mark Le Surf-hall
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: