Bugsy Malone (1976)

Alan Parker directs Scott Baio, Florence Garland and John Cassisi in this homage 1930s cinema where the gangsters are played and the music number are performed by kids.

Another beloved film from my childhood. In that we watched it ALOT as kids. Been possibly a decade or even two decades since I revisited it in its entirety.  A weird mix… adult voices on lip syncing kids, golden age period detail with splurge guns and pedal automobiles. The production values are high but tellingly creating a purposefully movie-fied universe. Clunky yet crafted. You can’t really tell if it is charming or compromised. Only Jodie Foster’s Tallulah and Fat Sam feel like fully fledged characters. And some of the songs wallow… yet there are enough I feel warm nostalgia for (Tomorrow, My Name is Tallulah, So You Wanna Be a Boxer and the grand finale group hug of a closing number). At times it can be joyous but in the main it feels like an experimental kids film that got very lucky it worked at all. There’ll always be something juvenile yet satisfying about watching an entire cast take custard pies to the face. Splat!

7

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