BUGSY MALONE [1976 / 2018] [SteelBook Collector’s Edition] [Blu-ray] [UK Release]
The 1976 Musical Gangster Comedy Film! Fantastic . . . A Cinematic Treat!
New York, 1929: a war rages between two rival gangsters, Fat Sam [John Cassisi] and Dandy Dan [Martin Lev]. Dandy Dan is in possession of a new and deadly weapon, the dreaded “splurge gun.” As the splurge flies, Bugsy Malone [Scott Baio], an all-round nice guy, falls for Blousey Brown [Florrie Dugger], a singer at Fat Sam’s speakeasy. Bugsy Malone has designs on Blousey Brown are disrupted by the seductive songstress Tallulah [Jodie Foster] who wants Bugsy Malone all for herself. With an all-child cast placed in a mobster era, armed with custard instead of bullets and belting out some superb songs, this is simply entertainment at its best!
FILM FACT No.1: Awards and Nominations: 1976 Cannes Film Festival: Nomination: Palme d'Or for Alan Parker. 1977 Academy Awards®: Nomination: Best Music, Original Song Score and Its Adaptation or Best Adaptation Score for Paul Williams. 1977 Golden Globes: Nomination: Best Motion Picture for a Comedy or Musical. Nomination: Best Original Score in a Motion Picture for Paul Williams. Nomination: Best Original Song in a Motion Picture for Paul Williams (Song: "Bugsy Malone"). 1977 BAFTA Awards: Win: Best Production Design/Art Direction for Geoffrey Kirkland. Win: Best Screenplay for Alan Parker. Win: Best Sound Track for Clive Winter, Ken Barker and Les Wiggins. Nomination: Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music for Paul Williams. Nomination: Best Costume Design for Monica Howe. Nomination: Best Direction for Alan Parker. Nomination: Best Film. 1977 Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA: Nomination: Golden Scroll for Best Fantasy Film.
FILM FACT No.2: ‘BUGSY MALONE’ was Sir Alan Parker's first feature film. Sir Alan Parker was trying to find a film project that was not "parochial" and decided upon an American gangster setting: "I had four young children and we used to go to a cottage in Derbyshire at weekends. On the long, boring car journey up there, I started telling them the story of a gangster called Bugsy Malone. They’d ask me questions and I’d make up answers, based on my memories of watching old movie reruns as a kid." Alan Parker's eldest son suggested children should be cast as the "heroes." The director chose to cast several unknown actors in the film. The film was rehearsed and shot in England, largely on Pinewood Studios' "H" stage, with locations in Black Park Country Park, Wexham in Buckinghamshire and Reading, Berkshire.
Cast: Scott Baio, Florrie Dugger, Jodie Foster, John Cassisi, Martin Lev, Paul Murphy, Sheridan Earl Russell, Albin 'Humpty' Jenkins, Paul Chirelstein, Andrew Paul, Davidson Knight, Michael Jackson, Jeffrey Stevens, Peter Holder, Donald Waugh, Michael Kirkby, Jon Zebrowski, Jorge Valdez, John Rafter Lee, Ron Meleleu, Paul Besterman, Kevin Reul, Brian Hardy, Dexter Fletcher, Bonnie Langford, Mark Curry, Kathryn Apanowicz, Vivienne McKone, Helen Corran, Lynn Aulbaugh, Nick Amend, John Williams, Herbert Norville, Louise English, Kathy Spaulding, Fifi Marchese, Romana Kyriakou, Joanna Garbutt, Melanie Kelly, Beverley Horn, Susan Baker, Geraldine Cobb, Caren Lumsdale, Eileen Campbell (uncredited), Alan Cole (uncredited), Phil Daniels (uncredited), Paul DeFreitas (uncredited), Trevor Edwards (uncredited), Graham Fletcher-Cook (uncredited), Ella Harper (uncredited), Lee Mannering (uncredited), Gillian Privett (uncredited), Julie Privett (uncredited), Jonathan Scott-Taylor (uncredited) and Julie K. Smith (uncredited)
Director: Sir Alan Parker
Producers: Alan Marshall, David Puttnam and Robert Stigwood (uncredited)
Screenplay: Sir Alan Parker
Composer: Paul Williams
Cinematography: Michael Seresin (Lighting Cameraman) and Peter Biziou (Lighting Cameraman)
Image Resolution: 1080p (Eastmancolor) (uncredited)
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audio: English: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
English: 2.0 LPCM Stereo Audio
Running Time: 93 minutes
Region: Region B/2
Number of discs: 1
Studio: The Rank Organisation / Park Circus / ITV Studios Home Entertainment
Andrew's Blu-ray Review: ‘BUGSY MALONE’  is Screenwriter/Director Sir Alan Parker's utterly delightful, very tongue-in-cheek love letter and homage to the gangster film genre. With a cast entirely composed of under-16 year olds, the film traces the turf war between two rival gangs, one, headed by the aptly-named Fat Sam, boss of the Grand Slam Speakeasy joint; the other by the shady, pencil-moustached Dandy Dan. It is 1929 in Gotham, a vicious mob war is tearing the city apart. One man is caught in the middle. So begins, Screenwriter/Director Sir Alan Parker's utterly delightful, tongue-in-cheek love letter to the gangster film genre.
Here we find small boys who talk like Al Capone. Young girls are dressed in flapper dresses. Machine guns that only fires whipped cream. That's the bizarre genius that is a 1976 film musical with a unique take on prohibition-era Chicago. As if you don't know, Scott Baio stars as Bugsy Malone, a wise-guy who gets tangled up in a local gang rivalry, while a 14-year-old Jodie Foster is Tallulah, singer at the local speakeasy. Ridiculous, of course it is, and that is why we love the film so much and of course the premise is bonkers but it worked a treat, and of course launching British director Sir Alan Parker onto the Hollywood A-List status and introducing a very young Jodie Foster to the world as the vamp speakeasy songstress Tallulah.
That said, here we have the brilliant director Sir Alan Parker and producer David Puttnam, who knew that casting young adults alone would not carry the film on its own, which of course turned out to be totally rock-solid in every department. Sir Alan Parker's script is as sharp as any wise guy’s suit, and his attention to the genre period is a constant joy, and Sir Alan Parker even coaxes totally professional poised performances from his brilliant professional young performers, in particular John Cassisias as Fat Sam, and Jodie Foster as Tallulah, while generally side-stepping any kind of stage-school nauseating performances.
The film is a veritable treasure-trove of remarkable young talented cast carries the film effortlessly. The humour has something of a choreographed slapstick sequences, and the prepubescent cast pretending to be adults isn't quite as disconcerting in itself as Jodie Foster's charged performance as gun moll Tallulah. Almost 30 years later, the film still holds up, within inspired set designs, wonderful costume designs and brilliant musical compositions that place it among the finest of the 1970s decade.
It was at the time very difficult to imagine that writer/director Sir Alan Parker and producer David Puttman thought that audiences would not go a Musical spoof of Prohibition-era gangster comedy, which takes a standard Depression-era gangster movie template and turns it into a musical performed entirely by children and it works so well as a tongue-in-cheek gangster comedy with a massive helping of wonderful tuneful musical songs and is helped with an outstanding performance with a very young and talented Jodie Foster.
‘BUGSY MALONE’ is a gloriously inventive, entertaining gangster movie pastiche, with kids as mobsters and molls, driving pedal cars and splurge guns that fire stuff that resembles a custard-pie mix. Future star names include Scott Baio as the hero and, and in particular Jodie Foster as the speakeasy vamp who was reportedly furious when her big number “My Name is Tallulah” was dubbed by a professional singer. The songs and set pieces are still fresh and infectious and most of the young adult cast are mesmerisingly good. I defy anyone not to be caught up in the charm and nostalgia that works so well is down to the high quality chosen youngsters, the elaborate production design built across Pinewood stages, and an excellent set of songs by Paul Williams. Of course, it is cheesy as hell, but the film has earned its merit over the many years since its release in 1976 and you can’t help but smile along. So all in all, I love this film, especially ever since I viewed in the cinema and a great honour to add this to my ever increasing Blu-ray Collection.
BUGSY MALONE MUSIC TRACK LIST
BUGSY MALONE (Written by Paul Williams) [Performed by Paul Williams]
FAT SAM’S GRAND SLAM (Written by Paul Williams)
TOMORROW (Written by Paul Williams)
BAD GUYS (Written by Paul Williams)
I’M FEELING FINE (Written by Paul Williams)
MY NAME IS TALLULAH (Written by Paul Williams)
SO YOU WANNA BE A BOXER (Written by Paul Williams)
ORDINARY FOOL (Written by Paul Williams)
DOWN AND OUT (Written by Paul Williams)
YOU GIVE A LITTLE LOVE (Written by Paul Williams) [Performed by Paul Williams]
Blu-ray Image Quality – The Rank Organisation and ITV Studios Home Entertainment brings us a stunning remastered 1080p image presentation and equally enhanced with 1.85:1 aspect ratio that really shows off this film, to look even better than when the film was released in the cinema in 1976. The colours are lush, convincing, and very natural looking, and in doing so give great details and reflections of Sir Alan Parker's vision of a stylized gangster saga where dark alleys and smoky bars serve as a major role in making us believe it is the real thing and also giving us a great atmosphere. This new upgraded Blu-ray release offers a very film-like look and what a cinema film buffs expect to see with a film of this calibre. What about the actual Blu-ray disc by ITV, the quick answer is, this is the best ever I have seen of the ‘BUGSY MALONE’ film and on top of all this, it is a totally perfect Blu-ray disc and far superior of the inferior DVD version currently on the market and one that retains The Rank Organisation original lab work, giving us a superb at times exceptionally sharp look, and the colours look bright and accurate. So, if you have even the slightest of interest in Alan Parker's imaginative gangster saga, don't torture yourself, this is a must have Blu-ray disc, because once again, this is a very natural looking presentation which I certainly enjoyed a great deal and so well done The Rank Organisation and ITV Studios Home Entertainment for your sterling professional work on this brilliant Blu-ray disc. Please Note: Playback Region B/2: This will not play on most Blu-ray players sold in North America, Central America, South America, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Southeast Asia. Learn more about Blu-ray region specifications.
Blu-ray Audio Quality – The Rank Organisation and ITV Studios Home Entertainment presents us with the wonderful and natural sound experience in 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. This is a very clean and very well balance soundtrack mix, which helped to give us a very pronounced dialogue presentation, and especially when it came to the musical numbers, especially from the child actors miming to the actual adult singer, was perfectly executed, also I really enjoyed the audio experience with the battle scenes and especially with the sounds of the splurge guns being used against the child actors when they get “splurged.” Overall, this is a very balanced audio experience and no major sound issues to report. So once again, this is a brilliant and excellent audio presentation and all done in a very professional way via The Rank Organisation and ITV Studios Home Entertainment for their best ever work done on this brilliant Blu-ray disc.
Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:
Audio Commentary with Screenwriter/Director Sir Alan Parker: Here we are personally welcomed to this in-depth audio commentary with Sir Alan Parker, but unfortunately once again this was for the inferior DVD release and I find that such an unprofessional attitude with these companies who bring out these Blu-ray discs, whereas it should have been re-recorded and mentioning it was for this Blu-ray release. Anyway Sir Alan Parker mentions The Rank Organisation’s big gong being struck and mentions that this has always been a good indication that you are always going to witness a good J. Arthur Rank film. As the film opens, Sir Alan Parker mentions the night shot street scene, and informs us that this set was built on the Pinewood Studios biggest stage and they had to do this because they wanted total control of the environment and the fact that it is illegal for child actors to work late into the night, especially if they had to film a night scene in a real street setting. The street scene was based on a real street in the Lower East Side in New York. Sir Alan Parker talks about the Splurge guns that were invented by him but in reality, they did not work 100%, and was operated by compressed air, and with the custard pies, over a 1,000 were used throughout the filming. We find out that the idea for ‘BUGSY MALONE’ came about because Sir Alan Parker at the time had four children and use to tell stories to his children about heroic children adventures and at the end of the stories his children ask why can’t children be heroes especially in films and as they say, history was in the making of this film. We find out that Fat Sam’s Speakeasy Band were from The National Youth Jazz Orchestra and was founded in 1965 and is based in in Westminster, London. The eight girls in the chorus line, were chosen from every dance schools from all over England, and had to watch over 20 hours of video tapes and of course they had the horrible task of letting down so many young hopefuls that were not chosen. Sir Alan Parker talks in glowing terms about the beautiful pedal powered cars, that were handmade and do a maximum of 10 m.p.h., but we are informed looked better in the film than in real life and some are still around today for hire. In the first restaurant scene, we are informed that one of the young waiters was a very young and famous British actor Phil Daniels. Also Sir Alan Parker gives great praise about the actress Jodie Foster, in saying how professional her performance was and especially working with her and of course had done a few films previously in Hollywood. When we see the rival gang boss man Dandy Dan arrive in his garden, this was actually the gardens of Pinewood Studios. The audition scene at the theatre was actually shot at the Richmond Theatre in London and of course it is the first time we get to see the over the top performance of the precocious child actor in the guise of the famous Bonnie Langford and Sir Alan Parker loved this over the top performance and was of course acting out like an over the top Shirley Temple. To finance the film in 1975 and was a very difficult situation, as money was really tight and the United Kingdom was going through a bad recession, so to get the film financed and made, Sir Alan Parker went to The Rank Organisation, where they offered him half the money he needed and the other half of the money he needed came from The National Film Finance Consortium that a film funding agency in the United Kingdom which operated from 1949 until it was wound up in 1985 and finally raised a £Million Pound Sterling, and to be able to proceed, was told he had to go to America to get the distribution rights before the film could be started, and luckily persuaded Paramount Pictures to pick up the film rights. Another person that Sir Alan Parker gives great praise to and that was the costume designer Ms. Monica Howe, who made her film debut in 1976 with ‘BUGSY MALONE,’ for which she received a BAFTA Award for Best Costume Design nomination at the 31st British Academy Film Awards and had to make over 500 different costume designs in the style of the 1929 period. Sir Alan Parker talks about the collaboration with the brilliant song writer and composer Paul Williams and Sir Alan Parker had to fly to America to meet the man himself and it all happened at Fox's Deli in Rochester, New York and Paul Williams was very enthusiastic and really enjoyed the whole experience. Sir Alan Parker wanted to premiere the film at the Cannes Film Festival in 1976, and producer David Puttnam was really enthusiastic, but the man in charge at the time hated the film, but with a few strings pulled, finally got the show the film, and was a massive hit with the audiences. As we get to the penultimate part of the film, where all the down and outs help Bugsy Malone thwart Dandy Dan’s gang members at the warehouse, which in fact was a disused biscuit factory, and we eventually get to see Baby Face, who was portrayed by the famous British actor Dexter Fletcher and 27 years later met Sir Alan Parker at a party and asked the director if he remembered him in his film and of course was amazed and great to meet him again after all these years and really liked the Baby Face character in his film. When we finally get the big showdown at Fat Sam’s Speakeasy, where Dandy Dan’s gang members raid the joint, Sir Alan Parker says filming this scene was the most fun thing he has ever done and also enjoyed filming, and they used over a 1,000 custard pies, and when Jodie Foster finally gets a custard pie in her face, and says, “So this is show business,” and was Sir Alan Parker’s most favourite lines in his film, and also says the idea of making a film with 100% child actors as the most lunatic idea, but despite this, he feels the film was made with a whole lot of love, and also feels all the child actors, who of course are now all grown up, will hopefully feel they made history, and hopefully enjoyed the whole experience, and especially feel proud when watching the DVD release at the time of its release. As we get near to the end of the film, Sir Alan Parker says, “After 20 years making this film, yep, pretty crazy, and in a funny weird way, I feel very proud of the film.” So as the very end credit appears, Sir Alan Parker says, “So this is Alan Parker and now signing off, and thanks for listening.” As for me, this was a really wonderful and fun audio commentary to listen to, as we get to hear lots of in-depth thoughts from the Director about the making of the film and also lots of nice anecdotes about the child actors and who he enjoyed working with the most and of course also thanks all of the cast and crew for their sterling work and who really did a really fantastic professional job, but also telling us what a fun time it was to make the film. So I give this audio commentary a 5 star rating, as it is that good.
Special Feature: Art Gallery  [1080p] [1.37:1] [1:02] Here we get to view a series of brilliant hand drawn colour illustrated storyboards of a rough outline for certain scenes in the film ‘BUGSY MALONE,’ and as you view the images, you get to hear one of the songs written, composed and sung by Paul Williams.
Special Feature: From Sketch to Screen  [1080p] [1.37:1] [4:06] With this special feature, it should really be entitled ALAN PARKER’S SCRIBBLES TO SCREEN and here we get to view a series of very rough hand drawn black-and-white storyboard sketches of the outline for the film ‘BUGSY MALONE’ and at the same time it is synched to the films soundtrack, especially relating to what you would be viewing of the actual film, but only up to the point where we enter Fat Sam’s Grand Slam Speakeasy joint.
Special Feature: Photo Gallery  [1080p] [1.37:1] [1:56] Here we get to view a selection of wonderful rare black-and-white promotional and behind-the-scene photographs. In the background we get to hear the sad melodic song that the character Blousey Brown [Florrie Dugger] sings in the film, which the actress had to mime to the recording of the real singer.
Special Feature: Promo Reel  [1080i] [1.85:1] [6:47] Here we are introduced to Fat Sam [John Cassisias] in a rare in-depth promotional short film for the ‘BUGSY MALONE’ film, and of course we get to view loads of clips from the film to give you a flavour of what you get to view when you finally get round to seeing the film ‘BUGSY MALONE.’ We also get some input from the actors Jodie Foster [Tallulah], Florrie Dugger [Blousey Brown] and Scott Baio [Bugsy Malone].
Teaser Theatrical Trailer  [1080i] [1.85:1] [1:50] Here we get to see actress Jodie Foster personally promoting The Rank Organisation Teaser Theatrical Trailer for the film ‘BUGSY MALONE.’
Theatrical Trailer  [1080i] [1.85:1] [2:52] Once again we get to see actress Jodie Foster personally promoting The Rank Organisation Theatrical Trailer for the film ‘BUGSY MALONE.’
Finally, ‘BUGSY MALONE’ is a delightful magical film that really swings and especially seeing all the young actors mime to grown-up pre-recordings, meaning that the boy’s voices comically plummet a dozen octaves as soon as they start crooning. But this only adds to the total delightful fun, and with such wonderful melodic irresistible tunes by the brilliant tune smith Paul Williams. Anyway who really cares, it is a totally magical delightful viewing experience. Sure, some of the performances are distinctly Year Nine drama class, but the whole idea is so gloriously weird it doesn't matter and is totally thrilling and simply nothing like it has been done or been seen before. The great set piece songs and splurge gun attacks at Fat Sam's Grand Slam speakeasy, and Scott Baio's utterly winning performance as the delightful and engaging Bugsy Malone, ensure this film musical is guaranteed to inspire those warm Sunday afternoons, where the whole family enjoy sitting around watching the television kind of feeling. And there is proof that there is some justice in Hollywood; Jodie Foster, the only old child actor who went onto achieves full-blown mega-stardom, who sometimes acts her small co-stars off the screen. So all together now: "We could have been anything that we wanted to be and it’s not too late to change. You give a little love and it all comes back to you (da da da ra da da da)." Highly Recommended!
Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Aficionado Le Cinema Paradiso United KingdomBack to homepage