Before directing Midnight Express, 1978's feel-good movie about an American trapped and sodomized in a Turkish prison, Alan Parker, inspired by his own family, gave the kiddie world his first feature film, 1976's musical Bugsy Malone. Filmed in the U.K. and set in Prohibition-era Chicago, the movie's comprised entirely of child actors 16 and younger who play flapper girls with kewpie doll voices and midget mobsters with penciled mustaches and names like Fizzy and Knuckles, including rival bosses Dandy Dan and Fat Sam (John Cassisi, a chubby Brooklyn kid plucked from obscurity). They sing and fight in the streets and in Fat Sam's speakeasy, including the film's finale which culminates in a giant pie fight — cream pies, not bullets, were used. A pre-Happy Days Scott Baio was cast as head henchman Bugsy, while a post-Taxi Driver Jodie Foster played the tough-talking main dame Tallulah who got all the film's best lines: “I like my men at my feet.”
Sun., June 7, 11 a.m., 2009
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