I had to look back at my “Top Ten List” and was shocked that I didn’t include this movie. It was and is a great musical. The movie came out in 1976. A good year for some of my favorite movies. (You’ll see why when I post another movie review). The movie was written and directed by Alan Parker. The music was written and performed by Paul Williams. (He was the voice of the Penguin in Batman: The Animated Series!? Awesome.) What sets the movie apart from all others musicals and movies alike, it starred only child actors. Only two stars of the movie are still well known today. I am sort of pissed that my school never tried doing this as a production. From what I have read online, it seems to be a huge hit at schools. I wish I could have played Dandy Dan. He is my favorite.
Someone once said, if it were raining brains, Roxy Robinson wouldn’t even get wet.
– Fat Sam
The movie begins with a Roxy Robinson running for his life. Taking a wrong turn, he winds up pinned against a brick wall. With no where to go, four tugs from Dandy Dan’s gang walked up towards him. They are armed with weapons. They question him,
Your name Robinson?
You work for Fat Sam?
Poor Roxy is whipped. He is blasted away by Dandy’s splurge guns. Roxy the weasel had been scrambled. The opening credits roll and we are treated to the title song, “Bugsy Malone” and scenes from the movie. Remember how I said two stars of today had parts in this movie? Still acting after all these years, we have Scott Baio (Bugsy Malone) and Jodie Foster (Tallulah). Maybe Mr. Baio isn’t as big as Jodie Foster but he was in the 80’s. Who could forget “Charles in Charge”? Bugsy Malone is the star of the movie. A nice guy. A little too popular with the broads for Fat Sam’s taste. He has an Italian mother and an Irish father. No reason he’s grown up a little confused. Bugsy walks in to what we think is a bookstore. But this isn’t no normal bookstore. It’s Fat Sam’s: Grand Slam. Bugsy walks to a bookcase and knocks. The bookshelf opens as a door and inside we see an array of people having a great time.
Sitting alone outside Sam’s office, is Blousey Brown. She has come for an audition. She powders her face and gazes into Sam’s office. Flustered she sits back down to wait just a little longer. Fat Sam and his gang are playing a rousing game of pool. A breaking news report comes over the radio talking about the attack on Robert “Roxy” Robinson. Losing his cool, Sam shoots one of the pool balls off the table. Noticeably upset, Sam is furious at his gang for disgracing themselves and him in the process. Don’t dare mention Dandy Dan’s name around Sam. He don’t like it.
Blousey enters the room asking about the audition.
Right now I don’t need a singer. Come back tomorrow, honey.
Even before Blousey could shut the door, Fizzy the janitor asks about his audition. Fizzy trips backwards, falling over his mop and pail. Sam is far too worried about other things to even care about dancers and singers. Sam releases some anger out on his gang of hoodlums with a seltzer bottle of water. Downstairs, Razmataz starts up on the piano and the band follows. This brings us to the next of 10 numbers.
Anybody who is anybody will soon walk through that door
at Fat Sam’s Grand Slam Speakeasy
always able to find you a table there’s room for just one more
at Fat Sam’s Grand Slam Speakeasy
The crowd cheers and claps after the dancers end the great number. Bugsy leaves the bar and bumps into Blousey as she is leaving. First impressions are not his best. Her name sounds like a stale loaf of bread. Within second, the place is raided by Dan’s thugs. Sam isn’t too happy and lets his right hand man, Kunckles know that this means, “trouble”. What looks like a simple night at the barber shop, turns into a quick hit on another of Sam’s men. A man stands outside the barber shop. He’s waiting for someone. Driving up, is Dandy Dan. (Did you notice the car? It’s moved by pedaling. It’s like a giant bike. Genius!) Dandy’s thug bursts into the shop and takes out the patron. Poor guy. Cue the violin. While couples enjoy a nice Italian meal, Dandy’s thug pull yet another splurge gun attack. A major faux pas. Doodle dropped his gun. That can’t be good. Captain Smolsky isn’t answering the reporters questions about the source of the splurge guns.
No comment..no comment…no comment…
Bugsy is still hard at it with Blousey. He’s broke and she’s broke. He can’t offer her much. She doesn’t need much help with protection. Finally, and I mean finally, he finally gets her to agree to a night out for some dinner. But, wait? I thought he was broke. Uh oh, is Bugsy a criminal too!?
After a long day of dancing, drinking, and a run in with Dandy’s gang, Fat Sam is closing down the Grand Slam. We find out how Knuckles got his name and also know now that Fat Sam Tallulah are dating. Fizzy once again, asks for her audition. “Tomorrow, Fizzy. I promise, tomorrow.” Too bad, Fizzy. Tomorrow never comes… One day you’ll be the next greatest tap dancer.
Bugsy and Blousey sit and talk. Blousey talks about her dreams of being not a singer but a famous actress. Bugsy has no dreams. He’s happy being who he is. He’s not crooked. He’s in between. He used to be a fighter. (Yeah. I know.). He could have been a contender, well except for his glass jaw, jelly legs, and no stamina. Besides, he got scared.
The joint is closing and Bugsy still hasn’t paid. Oh, whatever shall he do? Bugsy walks to the telephone booth and dials the operator. Sneaky, sneaky, Dr. Jones. After a scam of a faulty line, the soda jerk goes inside the booth to answer the phone. With the soda jerk in the booth, Bugsy grabs a broom and locks her inside. Him and Blousey make a run for it.
News is spreading fast. Everywhere across the globe, people are interested in the Splurge Gun and it’s user, Dandy Dan. A new day arrives and we arrive at Dandy Dan’s place. It’s quite breathtaking. A five piece orchestra plays outside in the yard, keeping the goons occupied. Dan is tending to his horse when he is informed of their arrival. “Have them meet me in the Conservatory.” (Mr. Plum, with the knife…).
Still trying to be a star, Blousey stands in line for a bigger performance than just a silly flapper. With the first act being shooed off American Idol style, Bugsy and Blousey wait outside for her turn at stardom. Next act on stage is a woman and a man. How original. Let’s use his arms and pretend they’re mind. NEXT!
Hm…that ole chestnut. NEXT!
Wow. A ventriloquist. And a bad one too! Read my lips, dummy…
A magician. Make yourself disappear. Poof!
A giant harp. A giant NO.
Dancers that look oddly like the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders…just without the skills.
Blousey turns. A little sheet music. They seem to like her. Pretty face. And what do you know? Before she could even utter one word, the tyrant of the show returns to give Oscar one last chance. With her dreams crushed again, Blousey leaves. Even when Bugsy tries to cheer her up with a little encouragement, Blousey snaps back about side stepping to avoid the man who collects rent. Oh, crap. Bugsy said, “tomorrow.” Bugsy promises that he’ll talk to Fat Sam. The two head out and Lena continues to belt it out.
Dandy Dan meets with his boys. He looks dapper. Much more smooth and proper than the oaf, Fat Sam. Dan thanks the boys for everything they have done and making it all go swell. Six men and five roses (that don’t add up). Laughing Boy, Yonkers, Shoulders, Bronx Charlie, and Benedict, you all did Dan proud. It’s just a matter of time till Fat Sam comes crawling on his knees. Doodle looks perplexed.
Where’s my flower, boss?
Dan rings a bell and in walks his butler with a plate full of pies. Doodle backs himself into the door. Dan doesn’t like mistake. He doesn’t allow mistakes in his outfit. Cause (as Dandy Dan says, ),
“Mistakes put us all in the caboose and sing sing ain’t my style.”
Doodle is all washed up. Doodle is attack by his own men and his career in the crime ring is over. Dan is ready to take the town over. It’s going to be his and all his. Fat Sam and his Dumb Bums ain’t gonna stand in his way… (by far, one of my favorite numbers in the movie)
Fat Sam is still determined to get right back on top and take out that no good, lounge lizard. Sam grabs a pie and tells Louie to get into the corner. Fat Sam tosses the pie and Louie ducks with time to spare. Fat Sam wanted to prove a point. Even a dumb mug like Louie is quick for them. They are behind the times. They need something to get the ahead of the game. The pies are old fashion. They need to get their hands on that gun!
The phone rings. Fat Sam just caught a little break. The tipster on the phone let Fat Sam know that at Hung Fu Shin Laundry is where Dandy Dan hides the guns. Louie, Snake Eyes, and the others head out to retrieve the guns. Sam and Knuckles stay behind. Sam’s boys arrive and take a look around. They toss baskets, push the workers around, finally coming to a blue door. Whoever is behind that door knows where the weapons are.
It was a trap! Bursting out of baskets, are Dandy Dan’s goons. They are armed and instantly open fire on Fat Sam’s boys. It was an ambushed that left them all washed up. Tearing down a sheet of cloth is Dan. The ‘tipster’. Dan enjoys an apple as he watches Fat Sam’s crime ring come to a creamy end.
Fat Sam gets the news. It’s just him and Knuckles. Everything needs to appear to be hunky dory. Bugsy arrives at the Grand Slam to meet up with Fat Sam. Tallulah informs Bugsy Sam is busy and suggest he gets a drink while he waits. Tallulah and Bugsy talk. Well, he listens and she races his motor. She tries to get him to fall for her but he doesn’t. Maybe his heart is for Blousey or maybe he’s actually scared of what Sam would do if he found out. Tallulah catches Blousey walking in and plants a kiss on Bugsy forehead. Blousey is shocked and appalled. Bugsy calls out to her to explain but she races passed him and right to Sam’s office. Knuckle answers the door. Doing what he figured Sam would do, he tries to shove her off till tomorrow. But, no. Fat Sam wants things to seem normal. Tomorrow is today. Blousey now has her chance to show Fat Sam her stuff. The group watch as she sings,
Blousey is hired but still doesn’t want to talk to Bugsy. She storms out and Bugsy chases after her. She gives him the slip and he’s left alone wondering where. Back at Sam’s, there are cardboard cut outs of the gang with thier silhouettes, in the window. Everything is going as planned. Everything is looking normal. Dandy Dan won’t know the difference. He can’t let know Dan know they got them on the run. Sam has a plan. A plan that is a sure fire way to win back the city. Knuckles isn’t too sure. Looney Bergonzi is his name. Sam wants to arrange a meeting with Dan and have Looney hide in the back seat and Knuckles will drive. Only one problem, Knuckles doesn’t drive. Where are they going to find a driver? Once again, Blousey turns Bugsy down. Sam catches Bugsy and asks if he wants to make some cash. Now that they have a driver, the plan can be put into action.
Sam calls Dandy Dan. The agree to meet on Monday at 11am.
Got’em, that knucklehead.
Got’em, that salami.
With everything set, Fat Sam and Knuckles head downstairs to enjoy a number by Tallulah.
In the backseat of his car, Looney and Sam wait for Dandy Dan to show up. Bugsy waits outside the car and scopes the surrounding area. It looks as if no one is showing up. Wait…there they are. Sam tells Looney to keep his head down. Dandy and Fat Sam share words and it grows a bit heated. Sam gives the word and Looney steps out to take aim. Dandy, was suspiciuous of the meeting and had his men back him up. From out of the bushes, his boys appeared. Already armed, they fired and take Looney down first. Bugsy fools Dandy’s men and a high speed(?) chase takes place. Weaving in and weaving out, Bugsy does all he can to out run them. They nearly hit a car, run through a barn, get attacked by chickens, and ruin a picnic. Dandy Dan’s driver breaks lock up and they end up driving straight into a pond. A victory for Sam. A small one, but still a victory of some sort. Sam pays Bugsy and offers him a new suit in the process.
The girls prepped themselves in their dressing room, arguing over the current fashion and who wears what. Blousey doesn’t seem to interested in the debate. She’s off daydreaming about being a star. She snaps to it. Bugsy calls her to tell her about the 200 bucks he just earned from Fat Sam. Now with an afternoon off, the two of them can work out their problems and hopefully blossom their relationship further.
The date ends with Bugsy giving her the news of the tickets to Hollywood he’s going to but the next day. Bugsy drops her off at home and returns the car back to Fat Sam. Bugsy is jumped in the ally and robbed by a group of hoodlums. Leroy Smith comes to the rescue. With an arm like that, Bugsy was sure he was a boxer. With no knowledge of the sport, Bugsy takes up being his manager. Dandy Dan’s boys take out the distiller (sarsaparilla) of Sam’s. It’s getting to the point where Sam might be all washed up and Dan will be the crime king of Chicago.
Bugsy takes Leroy to Cagey Joe’s place. Leroy doesn’t really want to be a fighter but Joe can show him. Anyone can learn anything with a little song and dance,
Knuckles and Sam are attempting to make their own Splurge Gun. Knuckles doesn’t think so but Sam is sure it does. He has Knuckles take aim at a mock cut out of Dandy Dan. Knuckles cranks the reel. Faster, faster, faster….
Poor, Knuckles. The gun exploded and took him out. Now with Knuckles gone, Fat Sam is all alone. His gang of goons are all washed up. It might be time for him to toss in the towel because Dandy Dan’s gang isn’t slowly down. Fat Sam gets another call and comes to learn that Dan has taken out his grocery racket. It’s gone. Everything. The whole empire is no more. Sam needs help and the only one who can is, Bugsy. He just needs Tallulah to convince him. She calls him but no answer. Sam tells her to bring him to him.
Tallulah returns with Bugsy. Bugsy and Sam sit down. Sam is a real bind. It’s only a matter of time before Dandy takes the Grand Slam from him. Sam offered Bugsy $400 this time. He agrees. Blousey calls Fat Sam’s and gets the news that Bugsy never got the tickets. Hollywood can wait. Once again, he breaks her heart.
Bugsy and Leroy find the warehouse where Dandy Dan is keeping the guns. The place is surrounded and there is no way in. They need help. They need an army. Luckily for them, they walked right into one. He just needs to convince them to help out.
With a bat in hand, Babyface leads the thugs into a shed. Bugsy and the others lock them inside. Once the thugs are locked up, they raid the warehouse and begin to bag up the Splurge Guns. Dandy Dan and his gang discuss the last and final take down of Fat Sam’s empire. Meanwhile, at Fat Sams, everyone inside is being supplied with their own Splurge Gun. Dandy Dan is in for a rude awakening. Babyface runs into the Grand Slam and warns everyone that Dandy Dan and his boys are outside the club. Everyone gets a little excited but Bugsy tells them to act normal and be cool. Razmataz plays some music and the girls begin to dance. Outside, Dan lets his boys know that this is “history they are writing”.
Dandy Dan bursts into the club. The dancers cower in the corner. Sam looks onward,
Alright, guys! Let’em have it!
What happens next, is the wildest, craziest, and messiest pie throwing fight ever.
Bugsy and Blousey escape the pie fight and head out to Hollywood. If this songs sounds familiar, you may have heard it play on a Coke commerciall.
Not really a review. This was more of a play by play of the movie. I still don’t know where my mother found this movie or how it come into our hands. I am glad it did. It’s one of those movies I can watch over and over again. I wonder what the movie would be like if it were made today. Would they keep an all child cast? Would the kids do their own singing? Would I want it to be made today? Probably not. But there is a little part of me that would like to see this come back and get a make over. A nice find on youtube. A “after they were stars‘ video.
The movie was announced to be released on DVD in the USA. To this day, it has yet to be released. Hopefully one day it will. You can purchase the movie with a region II setting. Head over to amazon to buy it.