Having finally watched the Extended Unrated Bugsy DVD last week, I can report with great satisfaction that N.Y. Times DVD columnist Dave Kehr was totally right when he said that this longer version of the 1991 film “plays much more smoothly and inexorably than it did in the edited [theatrical] version,” which ran about 15 minutes shorter.
(l. to r.) Toback, Levinson and Beatty taping discussion about the making of Bugsy, which is included on the DVD.
We all know that extended versions of films are not necessarily better or fuller things to sit through. This one is, however. In so doing the all-new Bugsy ranks alongside Cameron Crowe’s longer “Untitled” version of Almost Famous and James Cameron‘s longer cut of Aliens.
I was going to run a tape of an interview I did with Bugsy screenwriter James Toback just before Christmas at the Harvard Club, but I screwed up by acciden- tally deleting it off the recorder as well as my hard drive — brilliant. I was only able to salvage this pathetically short snippet in which Jim discusses the Hollywood syndrome of “parasites feeding off parasites.”
To make up for the loss, I recorded the opening ten or twelve minutes of a chat between Toback, Bugsy director Barry Levinson and star-producer Warren Beatty that’s included in the DVD doc called “The Road to Damascus: The Reinvention of Bugsy Siegel.”