Thursday, May 16, 2013

Bugsy Malone

"You give a little love and it all comes back to you, you know you're gonna be remembered for the things you say and do." is the message we are left with while finishing the film Bugsy Malone. Directed in 1976 by Alan Parker, Bugsy Malone is a film that encompasses two very prominent genres; musical and gangster, and mixes it into one. In the film the classic gangster story is not only told through the use of song and dance but also using child actors.
      Bugsy Malone, the sly boxing promoter is the man to be in this film. Although he ends up getting involved with the gang-life, it is pretty obvious that Bugsy knows whats-what. Always a step ahead of the audience, Bugsy is a classic character in the gangster genre and could be compared to Millers Crossings Tom Reagen. The only problem is; Bugsy is well... completely broke. From that he finds himself getting in business with Fat Sam, gang leader and speakeasy owner, who hires Bugsy to accompany him to a meeting with rival gang leader, Dandy Dan. After that Bugsy is now almost completely immersed in gang life.
 Bugsy Malone includes many classic parts of the depression-era gangsterfilm such as a separation of class and the struggle for money. It is obvious through many circumstances where we see characters, such as Fat Sam and Dandy Dan who strut around in their tailored outfits while other kids are starving at soup kitchens. Bugsy is also a part of this, seeing how he is frequently out of money, like most were in those days.
   I think this film, although still considered part of the gangster genre really fits with the idea of the American Dream. Some could say it was based on ethnic struggles but the fact is that this film seems just so much lighter than that for many reasons. First the choice of child actors is a major one. Although using children in many films could make it considerably darker I think that the choice did not work this way in this film. The children we see are impersonating the harsher side of gangster reality in those days but its easy to not take it that seriously. The dialog that the children use is almost laughable due to the fact that it sounds exactly like what an adult would say in their situation, which I assume was the intent. Another fact that the musical genre is added in is what makes it more of a comedy than a serious piece. Another part of it is that instead of actual guns and bullets the "killing" weapon is a toy gun filled with whip cream contributes to the comedic rather than serious part of this film. Bugsy seems to embody a lot of what the American Dream philosophy entails. Bugsy never gives up, even when things look bleak and always works hard, never letting people hand him the things he wants. Bugsy is a worker.


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