READ THIS FIRST: This is a 12-inch Diameter Laserdisc, which is NOT the same as DVD and cannot be played on a DVD player!
Laserdisc Title: "NEWSIES"
Edition: Widescreen Edition (Double-Disc Set)
Directed By: Kenny Ortega
Starring: Robert Duvall, Ann-Margret
Production / Year: 1997 Walt Disney Pictures
Running Time: 121 Minutes / Color
Audio Format: Digital Sound, Dolby Surround, Stereo, CX Encoded
Video Format: LTBX (2.35:1), NTSC, CLV (Extended Play)
Miscellaneous Features: Rated PG, Closed Captioned
Distributed By: Walt Disney Home Video
Catalog / Spine Number: 1397 AS
Disc (s): Very Good - Some very light to very minor hairline surface swirls or very light fingerprint marks (Japan Pressing)
Jacket: Good - Excessive shelf wear, many creases, scuffs, worn-out corners or edges and taped-up split on all spines
Except for feature-length animation, the musical has gone the way of the dinosaur. The Walt Disney company took a stab at reviving the live-action musical in 1992 with Newsies, a throwback picture with a curious subject. In 1899, the pint-sized newsboys delivering the New York papers go on strike against the unfair practices of news magnates Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst. The production is heavy on kiddie humor, although Christian Bale (the child star of Spielberg's Empire of the Sun) is charismatic as one of the older leaders of the revolt. The adult stars don't fare as well, with Robert Duvall doddering around as Pulitzer and Ann-Margret and Bill Pullman doing decorative duty. The film was not well received when first released, but hindsight reveals its charm (and allowed the young target audience to catch up with the picture on video). The first-time director is Kenny Ortega, the choreographer of Dirty Dancing, who brings plenty of energy to the action.
I saw Newsies when it first came out in the movies. I believe it was a double feature, with Aladdin or something, can't remember which. I guess I was around 17. I've always been a loyal Disney fan, and I do love many musicals. This was an instant classic for me, sort of a male version of Annie, which came out a decade or so before, and is also excellent. And I seem to recall that Annie and Popeye, two faves of mine, sort of marked the end of live-action musicals. A real shame. Newsies proves that great musicals can still be made, but it also proves that it can take some time for most modern people to admit they like it. The story is about the 1899 strike of the New York paperboys.
The central characters are Jack Kelly, a streetwise orphan played by Christian Bale(the main reason most females love this movie), and David Jacobs, a kid from a more stable, family lifestyle. Through the course of the strike they put on, the two boys become unlikely best friends, and with the other Newsies, learn about loyalty, friendship, and believing that they can work together to fight for a better life. The songs and music are beautiful. I'm particular about that stuff too. Don't trust professional reviewers like Leonard Maltin, whose reviews are inconsistent at best. Just when you think he's got good taste from reading one review, you lose all faith in him by reading another. Judge this movie for yourself. If you don't like musicals, don't bother. You have to love musicals to enjoy this even a little bit. And I don't mean just stuff like Oklahoma or Dr. Dolittle. If you loved Annie, this might be a good one for you. A little more adult than that, but not much. Don't expect to see many female characters though. Ann Margaret has a small part as one of the kids' few adult friends, and there's the character of David's sister, purely there to present a love interest for Christian Bale, just so someone would have a love interest. She's not spectacular, but she IS cute. Bill Pullman does a great job as a reporter trying to help the Newsies get some publicity. This was the first time I ever saw Bill since Space Balls, though I wasn't really keeping track of his career.
THIS IS NOT A DVD!!! THIS IS A 12" LASERDISC AND WILL NOT PLAY IN A DVD PLAYER
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