Director: Alan Parker
Cast: Jodie Foster, Scott Baio, Florence Garland
Release Date: August 31, 2021
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Disc Rating: 7/10
Before FAME, PINK FLOYD: THE WALL, THE COMMITMENTS, and EVITA, acclaimed director Alan Parker redefined the movie musical with his first feature length film. Set in 1929 New York City, BUGSY MALONE captures a flashy world of would-be hoodlums, showgirls, and dreamers—all portrayed by child actors. As Tallulah, the sassy girlfriend of the owner of Fat Sam’s Grand Slam Speakeasy, future superstar Jodie Foster leads a talented cast. Parker’s sharp script, combined with the music and lyrics of Paul Williams (PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE) makes for an irresistible satire that’s truly one-of-a-kind. Available for the first time in the US on Blu-ray, in celebration of its 45th Anniversary, this limited-edition has been remastered from the original film elements.
Please Note: Paramount Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Post. The opinions I share are my own.
You can also check out our reviews for the other releases in the ‘Paramount Presents’ Blu-ray line by clicking on each title below!
The classic and curiously original 1970’s musical satire ‘Bugsy Malone’ tells the infamous tale of Bugsy as he begins to fall for a hopeful showgirl which makes life all the more difficult when he starts accepting work from the local club owner Fat Sam amid an increasingly dangerous war between local hoodlums and an up-and-coming rival. All the while also trying to combat the complications arising from Sam’s girl and lead showgirl Tallulah who seems to have a newfound interest in Bugsy. Directed by acclaimed filmmaker Alan Parker and featuring an all-child cast led by Jodie Foster and Scott Baio, this splendidly strange and undeniably original family musical takes you into the world of 1929 and tells the tale of Bugsy Malone in a delightfully odd, yet clever and enjoyable way.
The 1976 musical film satire ‘Bugsy Malone’ debuts on Blu-ray for the first time in the US at long last as the twenty-third title in Paramount Home Entertainment’s Limited Edition, numbered line of ‘Paramount Presents’ Blu-ray releases which bring home various film classics from Paramount’s impressive and decades spanning vault on Blu-ray, with each featuring newly remastered high definition video presentations paired with quality audio presentations, some extras and collectible packaging that fans of each film should appreciate. The family musical ‘Bugsy Malone’ makes another great addition to the ‘Paramount Presents’ line and this delightfully peculiar take on the classic gangster story is quite unique to say the least and an awful lot of fun as well. Directed by notable filmmaker Alan Parker who made his feature length directorial debut with ‘Bugsy Malone’ before going on to helm such popular films as The Commitments, Evita and Pink Floyd: The Wall, it also features an all-child cast with some notable stars, including Jodie Foster, Scott Baio, Florence Garland and more, although swapping out the child voices for adults during the music numbers; something you’d imagine wouldn’t work whatsoever but does in its own clever way. As strange and odd as it might be, I must admit that this interesting creation actually ended up being quite a treat to experience and is quite unlike anything else around.
Overall, the ‘Paramount Presents’ Blu-ray release of the 1976 all child-cast musical ‘Bugsy Malone’ brings the family favorite home on Blu-ray for the first time here in the states, sporting a quite solid high definition video presentation remastered from the original film elements which is further complimented by a highly capable multichannel DTS-HD soundtrack and a couple of enjoyable extras. Add in the collectible packaging featured on all of the Limited Edition ‘Paramount Presents’ Blu-ray releases and fans of this 1970’s musical classic will almost surely want to try and pick up a copy of the release at your earliest convenience. I would also strongly encourage those who like me had never had the pleasure of this one before to try and give it a whirl at some point; you might just be pleasantly surprised with how thoroughly you enjoy it.
The ‘Paramount Presents’ Blu-ray release of ‘Bugsy Malone’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation of the film with its original 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio, remastered from the original film elements (although not specified as 4K on this one which is a rarity for the line). This newly remastered video presentation looks pretty great in most respects, especially when taking into account its age. It provides a smooth, detailed and quite colorful presentation from start to finish with plenty of grain and other welcome artifacts representative of its source. It holds up surprisingly well even during the darkly lit and heavily populated sequences throughout and aside from a few unavoidable bits of noise or splotches clearly from the dated source materials it delivers beautifully. Overall, this is a pretty great high definition video presentation that should be a treat for fans of this fun family musical who have been awaiting its debut on Blu-ray.
The Blu-ray release features a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This multichannel soundtrack offers a crisp, clean and more than adequate soundtrack throughout that nicely complements the great new video presentation. Even while it may in fact be a multichannel soundtrack, the majority of the audio content is mostly centered throughout, with most of the dialogue, action-like effects and even musical numbers largely contained to front and center. While a few minor tidbits might occasionally push beyond, it’s largely uneventful in that regard. Fortunately, it never detracts from the overall quality of the presentation which is beautifully balanced and never finds any dialogue or other simultaneously occurring audio elements clashing with one another or becoming distorted. Overall, this is a very nice 5.1 DTS-HD MA soundtrack that does its job well throughout and shouldn’t disappoint.
The ‘Paramount Presents’ Blu-ray release of ‘Bugsy Malone’ features the standard collectible packaging included with all of the Limited Edition ‘Paramount Presents’ Blu-ray releases including a slipcase that opens to feature a larger version of the film’s original poster artwork and photos from the film along with a quote included the interior of the disc case (you can check out a beauty shot of the artwork from the studio at the bottom of the review for a better idea of what to expect inside). The actual Blu-ray disc itself includes a couple notable extras including the 2 new Featurettes ‘Give A Little Love: Paul Williams on Bugsy Malone’ (running approximately 6 minutes in length) and ‘Filmmaker Focus: Executive Producer David Puttnam on Bugsy Malone’ (running approximately 5 minutes). Also included on the release is the film’s ‘Theatrical Trailer’ (or at least it’s labeled as such, though it feels more like a random clip) (approximately 2 minutes), along with classic Trailers for ‘Paper Moon’, ‘Grease’ and ‘Black Beauty’.
*Please note that the above images are taken from the Blu-Ray and resized. They will additionally suffer quality loss as a result of .jpg compression. Larger versions of each image can be viewed by clicking on the image. All images and content included on this Blu-Ray release are the property of their respective owners.
Disc Rating: 7/10
‘Bugsy Malone’ is Now Available to Own on Blu-ray; Newly Remastered as part of the ‘Paramount Presents’ Blu-ray line from Paramount Home Entertainment
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