Musical feature Bugsy Malone turns 40 this year. The seminal and unique all child starring film (by Sir Alan Parker) is remembered for it recreation of gang warfare during prohibition America. Filled with brilliant songs, dance numbers and featuring the coolest weapon ever conceived, the splurge gun, it is one of the greatest childhood
BAFTA have decided to mark this occasion by transforming BAFTA HQ into an exhibition of the film alongside set pieces, photographs, talks as well as screenings of the great film.
The film was based on mobsters of the 1920’s and 30’s but diluted down for a child cast. Bugsy is a boxing promoter and small time hustler who becomes caught up in a war between rival gangs. The war is now being fought with a new weapon – the splurge gun – that means those caught in its creamy path become ‘washed up’. Bugsy comes to the aid of Fat Sam and also meets actress Blousey who he promises to take too Hollywood.
The film was the brain child of writer/director Sir Alan Parker. Inspired by tales he told his own children and then scored by composer Paul Williams, the film makers went to great expense and effort to recreate the iconic image of prohibition America. It remains as pure fantasy for audiences of all ages.
The three day event was filled with a number of screenings playing each day so audiences can catch Bugsy on the big screen. The bar had been transformed into Fat Sam’s Speakeasy with film inspired mocktails. The speakeasy contained a number of photo opportunities and a chance to splurge some familiar faces in the boxing ring. Behind the scene photos were also on show along with what is believed to be the only remaining splurge gun. On loan from Parker himself was also a small scale pedal car in the café. There were a number of talks and workshops featuring original cast members.
Sir Alan Parker’s feature debut has a special place in our hearts for many reasons. The pure ambition of the project is something anyone could admire. To do a film of this scale with an all child cast is a huge order but one that is immortalised on screen. The look, themes, and roles of the children in the film are something that would be difficult to replicate in today’s society despite the film retaining its innocence and playfulness. The film is still above all a joy to behold for audiences of all ages. The brilliant music and dance combined with a timeless story and enviable look means it really is one of a kind
So here’s to looking back at one of the greatest musicals ever made as well as the best ensemble cast of youngsters: A fun filled, ambitious and stylish homage to mobster America.
HAPPY 40th BIRTHDAY BUGSY MALONE!