19 December 2005 | DICK STEEL
A Nutshell Review: Bugsy (DVD, 1991)
After staying at the Las Vegas Flamingo, and spending a substantial amount of time browsing through the artifacts of old Vegas at the Las Vegas History Museum at the Tropicana Hotel, this is one movie I wanted to watch when I got back. Not that I'm a fan of Warren Beatty (I only watched his Dick Tracy movie), but I'm interested in the Hollywood retelling of Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel's story.
For the uninitiated, Siegel was a gangster, who loves his family, but is as horny as he can get. He falls in love with the Hollywood glamour and life, and comes to know his new mistress, a starlet called Virginia Hill (Annette Bening), who's known in some circles as the village bicycle - everyone's had a ride.
Seigel shares a love-hate relationship with Hill, and it is always bumpy. And little does he know that this love will ultimately cause his downfall and demise. Love aside, there's also plenty of scenes that shows Siegel's violent nature (hey, he's a gangster), and scenes too that highlights his disregard for money - he spends lavishly. There's a subplot about Mussolini too, which highlights Seigel's eccentricity.
But he does have a vision, and that was having the foresight of predicting how Las Vegas would become as important as can be, with the erection of the Hoover Dam to provide it with electricity. He's the one with the vision of creating something in the middle of the desert, which we know today as the Strip, with casinos, hotels, and entertainment from class acts. His vision started off as The Flamingo hotel, which over blew its budget by almost 5 million dollars (at that time). Of course, when you're dealing with mob money, you'd better be careful, as they become impatient with his grander vision of controlling a casino, city, state, and ultimately having the power to influence presidential elections.
Directed by Barry Levinson, Bugsy is the tale of that one man's vision. It's well acted, with a superb supporting cast. Keeping true to the finale, watch out for that flying eye too. And yes, Beatty and Bening met on set, and married thereafter.
Sadly, this Code 1 DVD contains no special extras.