TNB Night Owl–Bugsy Malone

Wheel of cheese cut and stacked in front of a stone wall. Photo by Alexander Maasch.

Tonight’s Friday flick is actually pretty good. It’s a gangster movie from 1976.

It’s also a musical comedy.

Did I mention the entire cast is 16 years of age or under?

I’m serious–it’s not bad if you can get past the strangeness of the concept.

BUGSY MALONE (1976) was the brainchild of Alan Parker who would make up stories about a Prohibition-era gangster to entertain his four kids. When it came time for Parker to write and direct his first feature, the tales of Bugsy seemed a perfect fit. It was one of his kids that suggested that it be told with an all child cast.

The story is pretty standard as gangster movies go. Fat Sam is a mob boss who runs a speakeasy. Bugsy Malone works for Sam as a fixer of sorts. His romance with torch singer Tallulah has gone by the wayside since meeting New Girl Blousey, while protecting Sam’s criminal empire from a rival boss, Dandy Dan. Hits are put on each other’s gangs (with whipped cream launched instead of bullets), songs are sung, and instead of a dramatic final gunfight, there’s an epic pie fight that reportedly used over a thousand cream pies.

Part of the charm comes in the cast of mostly unknowns, save for Jodie Foster as the world-weary Tallulah who’d done a different kind of organized crime movie that year, TAXI DRIVER. The titular Bugsy was the first movie for a very young Scott Baio. Director Parker picked Paul Williams because of his work on PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE and simply because he liked the guy.

Although this was the first movie for Alan Parker, you can see flashes of sequences that would find their way to another musical he would direct: PINK FLOYD’S THE WALL.

This fun flick is a great way to start the weekend. Enjoy:

QUESTION OF THE NIGHT: What is your favorite flavor cream pie?

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