Simone calls Newsies, “Susies.”

23 Jul

And it’s hilarious. “I just love this movie so much,” she said to me a couple of minutes ago. Now’s she watching it.

She’s onto something. Newsies is one of the great, underrated musicals (it’s a better musical than Chicago, although not a better film, and a better film than Moulin Rouge, although not a better musical), and my contender for one of the most overlooked films of the 1990s. It’s got a crackerjack cast—including Robert Duvall, Bill Pullman, Michael Lerner and Ann Margret—and a dynamite storyline. It’s one of the few pro-labor films of the last 50 years. The newsies are hardluck, hard-working boys, up against the wall by greedy corporate managers. The film has evocative cityscapes of old New York and great period costumes, matched only by Godfather II and Once Upon a Time in America. The script is punchy, ripped right from Damon Runyon; the characters speak in a tough guy, slangy, bowery boy patois.

The cast is rounded out with topnotch singers and dancers. Great songs, too. And a young Christian Bale. The fact that it flopped when it was released doesn’t speak to its quality at all. It’s Simone’s new favorite film.

The best song is probably “Carrying the Banner,” but here’s “The King of New York.” Check it out:

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