A different high school musical: Bugsy Malone

We own both High School Musical (2006) and High School Musical 2 (2007). I have to say that I like both of them quiet a lot, because they’re so perfectly goofy and I like to see that musicals just might make a comeback. And they tend to get played over and over again in our house. This is, of course, because my eldest daughter loves the films.

I remember (or rather I reminisce) many years ago I was similarly taken with another musical featuring high school aged kids rather than adults. In this case, though, the kids played dress up, apparently raiding the old clothes trunk in their grandparent’s attic. I am referring to the musical Bugsy Malone (1976).

Bugsy Malone was directed by Alan Parker. Interestingly, his next film was Midnight Express (1978). I can’t think to two more diametrical opposed films. The story of Bugsy Malone takes place during prohibition. There are gangsters and gals, rich and poor, big song numbers, lots of dancing, and a pie fight. It’s just good fun, thought it may be a bit dated by now.

The songs were written by Paul Williams. I think it represents some of his best work. Here is the final big number:

One aspect of Bugsy Malone that I alway appreciated was it’s look at all strata of society – or at least a picture of our greater society presented as its simplified “world.” In many ways this is a very mature film, especially given that it’s a musical performed by kids. Here is one of my favorite numbers:

And, in case you didn’t know, Bugsy Malone featured a great performance by a young Jodie Foster:

I don’t have any idea what the future of the musical will be, but I have to say I don’t think it is a dead genre. And I don’t think musicals have to be only animated features. The two High School Musical films show that good songs, good performances, good choreography, and shiny happy people can still make for a fun time.

Finally, if you’ve got nothing better to do at work, here’s the complete Bugsy Malone (complete with Swedish? or Norwegian? subtitles too).


2 thoughts on “A different high school musical: Bugsy Malone

  1. >Oh, I love Bugsy Malone! I saw it when I was younger and just got a huge kick out of it. I also think you’re right in that Paul Williams is definitely in top musical form here (although I personally prefer the songs in The Muppet Movie).

  2. >I don’t know why I forgot The Muppet Movie. I love the songs in that too. Maybe they are his best too. Both films are examples of how good a song writer Williams could be. Unfortunately it’s been too long since I’ve seen The Muppet Movie. I’m not sure if Lily has seen it either, although she has seen a couple of the others.

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