Bugsy Malone is No. 23 in the Paramount Presents series of new Blu-ray Discs, for which many of the films were remastered in either 2k or 4k. So far, Paramount has not released any 4k Blu-ray editions from the source material, but the quality of the 1080p video has been very good starting with Fatal Attraction (read our review) and other classics such as To Catch a Thief (1955). The 1-disc edition was released Aug. 31, 2021, and includes a code to redeem a Digital Copy on ParamountMovies.com through either Apple or Vudu.
Alan Parker’s Bugsy Malone was released in 1976 spoofing classic tales of mobsters during the Prohibition era, except told with an all-child/teenage cast. The 1-hour, 33-minute movie stars Scott Baio, Jodie Foster, Florence Garland, and John Cassisi.
Foster’s role as Tallulah is reason enough to watch the film (she was about 14 when the film was produced) although she doesn’t appear nearly as much as one might hope. Baio is convincing as Bugsy, the Italian-Irish boxing scout that sides with a speakeasy owner named Fat Sam (John Cassisi) to get back at a rival mob leader named Dandy Dan. And, Florence Garland stars as the aspiring singer Blousey.
This movie isn’t for everyone. Not only are musicals an acquired taste for some, Bugsy Malone is a gangster movie that is G-rated and stars only kids. References to adult themes are swapped out for harmless fun. For example, instead of real guns and bullets, the gangsters use splurge guns that shoot out gobs of whipped cream.
Still though, fans of Alan Parker who went on to make award-winning films such as Fame (1980), Pink Floyd – The Wall (1982), The Commitments (1991) and Evita (1996) will appreciate this new Blu-ray edition of his debut film that he wrote and directed.
This is the first time Bugsy Malone is available on Blu-ray in the US, and in doing so celebrates the film’s 45th anniversary. The new remaster was derived from the original 35mm film elements for presentation on Blu-ray, and starting from the opening scene in a deserted street provides good depth and color saturation. In the shadow areas, we can see plenty of detail, which means the black levels were not compressed down to the point of no return. Compared to previous DVD editions and the existing digital versions the image quality of Bugsy Malone is a substantial improvement that looked really great upscaled on a 75” Sony Bravia 4k TV.
The sound is probably the best thing about this Blu-ray release. Offered in 5.1 channel English DTS-HD Master Audio, Bugsy Malone’s musical numbers sound quite good on a soundbar or multi-speaker surround sound system. During the musical portions of the film (abeit with some awkward lip synching), you can really appreciate the mixing and attention to detail that went into the soundtrack, supporting the Oscar-nominated work by Paul Williams for “Best Music, Original Song Score and Its Adaptation or Best Adaptation Score.”
New special features on this Blu-ray edition include “Give a Little Love” with Paul Williams and a Filmmaker Focus session from Executive Producer David Puttnam. Movie trailers are also included. And, as mentioned above, the included Digital Code can be redeemed on either Apple iTunes or Vudu (you must choose either platform).