Newsies (1992)

DailyView: Day 226, Movie 313

This weekend sees the release of Steven Spielberg’s remake of the classic West Side Story so I thought that it would be appropriate to watch another musical set in New York for the DailyView. Who would’ve believed that a musical about the 1899 newsies strike would be made by Disney. Heading over to Disney +, I pulled up Newsies, the 1992 musical.

I was shocked when I saw a young Christian Bale as Jack Kelly, the main character of the musical. I did not know he was involved in the film. There were other faces that were familiar in the film such as Bill Pullman as newspaper writer Bryan Denton, Robert Duvall as Joseph Pulitzer, Anne Margret as Medda, David Moscow as David, Max Casella as Racetrack, and Luke Edwards as Les.

Of course, the most important part of any musical is the music and one of the great musical composers, EYG Hall of Famer, Alan Menken, but, in Newsies, the songs were a mixed bag. I think the biggest issue with some of the songs were the fact that the actors who were singing them were not necessarily the best singers ever.

Robert Duvall as the antagonist of the film was so over the top with his character that he was a distraction from the rest of the cast. I am not sure the character choices made here, but they did not work.

The dance choreography was decent and the kids did a decent job with it.

The ending was anticlimactic to me and failed to put a real bow on the story that was being told. Still, some of the young actors were charming and Christian Bale showed that he was going to be a star as he carried Newsies on his back.

While the movie was lackluster at best, the stage musical that was inspired by it actually turned out to be a Tony winner, including Best Musical. That goes to show that it may not have been the material that was the failure in the film.

The movie Newsies had its moments, but a lot of the story was hard to believe and the people in the cast who should not have been singing always seemed to be singing. The film was a little long, but was not without its positives. We’ll see how it compares to West Side Story.

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