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Thursday, October 21, 2021

Bugsy Malone (Blu-ray Review)


The Film
The Video
The Audio
The Supplements


This 1976 musical about 1920s New York City gangsters performed by entirely by a cast of kids charts the rise of diminutive gangster Bugsy Malone (Scott Baio) through the ranks to the top of the crime world. Whipped cream is substituted for bullets and 13-year-old Jodie Foster plays a sultry speakeasy chanteuse. Directed by Alan Parker (Fame, Pink Floyd: The Wall, The Commitments).

Bugsy Malone is the 1976 musical from filmmaker Alan Parker (Fame, Pink Floyd: The Wall, The Commitments, Evita). The general gist of this family friendly film is it’s a 1920s gangster film performed entirely by kids. The diminutive gangsters use whipped cream instead of bullets and “drive” peddle operated cars. The story follows the low-level gangster Bugsy (Scott Baio) who rises through the ranks to become the kingpin of the New York mob scene. Musical numbers are performed by adults and lip-synched by the kids, which seems like a weird, off-putting choice. This could have been more successful thematically if they had gone the Oliver! route. That said, the production values from the sets to the period garb and slang are on point as is the then 13-year-old Jodie Foster as the tough-as-nails nightclub singer Tallulah.

The Video

Bugsy Malone has been remastered in 4K from original film elements for this new Paramount Presents release. It comes in a 1.85:1 AVC 1080p encodement that looks quite crisp and detailed with a natural layer of film grain. The opening nighttime street scene is arguably the best-looking scene of the entire transfer with its sharp grain, inky black shadows, excellent contrast, and bright neon signs, almost like a film-noir. From there, the film still looks good on this release, relatively clean, warm earth tones, dazzling glittering showgirl outfits and more.

The Audio

Bugsy Malone arrives with a very serviceable lossless English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 audio mix (the original mono is also available in Dolby Digital). This 5.1 mix has clear dialogue a natural dynamic range and a sweet sound for the musical numbers that reins in the low end a little bit for a nice warm, reserved bass.

The Supplements

This Paramount Presents release of Bugsy Malone gets the now expected foldout slipcover packaging with original lobby card artwork and insert with stills of key moments from the film. Additionally, there are a couple of on-disc extras that are interesting.

  • Digital Copy Code
  • Give a Little Love: Paul Williams on Bugsy Malone (1080p; 00:06:13)
  • Filmmaker Focus: Executive Producer David Puttnam on Bugsy Malone (1080p; 00:05:27)
  • Theatrical Trailer (1080p)

The Final Assessment

Paramount offers this family musical the best it has ever looked in this Paramount Presents edition. If you have been a longtime fan of this film or are a recent convert then this is the one for you.

Bugsy Malone (Paramount Presents) is out on Blu-ray August 31, 2021 from Paramount

  • Rating Certificate: G
  • Studios & Distributors: The Rank Organisation | Goodtimes Enterprises | Bugsy Malone Productions | National Film Finance Consortium | Robert Stigwood Organization (RSO) | National Film Trustee Company | Fox-Rank | Paramount Home Media Distribution
  • Director: Alan Parker
  • Written By: Alan Parker
  • Run Time: 93 Mins.
  • Street Date: 31 August 2021
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Video Format: AVC 1080p
  • Primary Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1
  • Secondary Audio: English DD Mono | French DD Mono
  • Subtitles: English | English SDH | French

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