×

Newsies

They should have filmed the pitch meeting for this project: 'Hey, guys, I found a story I bet nobody's ever thought of making: How about a movie on the 1899 New York newsboys' strike? Robert Duvall's got a hole in his schedule; he could play Pulitzer.' 'Great! But let's get Ann-Margret and a lot of cute kids and make a musical!'

With:
Christian Bale David Moscow Luke Edwards Ann-Margret Ele Keats Robert Duvall

They should have filmed the pitch meeting for this project: ‘Hey, guys, I found a story I bet nobody’s ever thought of making: How about a movie on the 1899 New York newsboys’ strike? Robert Duvall’s got a hole in his schedule; he could play Pulitzer.’ ‘Great! But let’s get Ann-Margret and a lot of cute kids and make a musical!’

A strange cross between Oliver! and Samuel Fuller’s Park Row, Newsies was made with care and affection by choreographer-turned-director Kenny Ortega. But the writers have created cardboard cutouts instead of flesh-and-blood characters.

Composer Alan Menken, whose music works hard at being rousing, badly misses lyricist Howard Ashman, his late partner: Jack Feldman’s lyrics here are relentlessly banal and unmemorable.

Cast has pleasant but ordinary voices, and it’s only in the vigorous, West Side Story-style dancing, choreographed by Ortega and Peggy Holmes, that the film sporadically comes alive. Ortega avoids the MTV fragmentation that’s de rigeur in musicals today.

Christian Bale plays the leader of the newsboys’ walk-out against the penny-pinching Pulitzer (bearded Robert Duvall). He’s a charismatic figure, with a compelling blend of brashness and vulnerability. Duvall is a cartoon figure of ranting hard-heartedness as publisher of the N.Y. World. Ann-Margret’s Jenny Lind-like thrush, an improbable ally of the boys, is shoehorned into the film to provide s.a. in a male-dominated story.

Popular on Variety

Newsies

Production: Walt Disney. Director Kenny Ortega; Producer Michael Finnell; Screenplay Bob Tzudiker, Noni White; Camera Andrew Laszlo; Editor William Reynolds; Music J.A.C. Redford; Art Director William Sandell

Crew: (Color) Widescreen. Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1992. Running time: 121 MIN.

With: Christian Bale David Moscow Luke Edwards Ann-Margret Ele Keats Robert Duvall

More Film

  • Good Boys Movie

    ‘Good Boys’ Again Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the always-on TV ad measurement and attribution company iSpot.tv, Universal Pictures claims the top spot in spending for the second week in a row with “Good Boys.” Ads placed for the comedy had an estimated media value of $4.42 million through Sunday for [...]

  • Demi Lovato

    Demi Lovato Joins Netflix Comedy 'Eurovision'

    Demi Lovato has joined the upcoming Netflix comedy film “Eurovision.” Will Ferrell, who co-wrote the film with Andrew Steele, announced the news Tuesday with an Instagram post, in which he wished Lovato a happy birthday with a “homemade” cake. Following the announcement, Lovato can be seen blowing out candles on the cake next to a “Eurovision” [...]

  • Rob Schneider'The Week Of' film premiere,

    Film News Roundup: Rob Schneider Wins SAG-AFTRA National Board Seat

    In today’s film news roundup, Rob Schneider wins a SAG-AFTRA board seat; “Badland,” “Sorry We Missed You” and “Extracurricular” find homes; and “The Shawshank Redemption” gets a re-release.  SAG-AFTRA Rob Schneider has won a SAG-AFTRA national board seat as a member of presidential candidate Matthew Modine’s progressive Membership First slate. Schneider won a four-year term [...]

  • This photo shows actor David Oyelowo

    David Oyelowo Joins George Clooney in 'Good Morning, Midnight' Adaptation (EXCLUSIVE)

    David Oyelowo is in final negotiations to join George Clooney in Netflix’s untitled adaptation of Lily Brooks-Dalton’s 2016 novel “Good Morning, Midnight,” sources tell Variety. Felicity Jones and Kyle Chandler are also on board, with Clooney set to helm the pic — his first feature film directing gig since 2017’s “Suburbicon.” “The Revenant” screenwriter Mark [...]

  • Disney Delays 'Cruella,' 'Woman in the

    Disney Delays 'Cruella,' 'Woman in the Window'

    Disney is shaking up its release calendar, delaying its live action “Cruella” until Memorial Day 2021 and pushing Fox 2000 drama “The Woman in the Window” to 2020. “Cruella,” starring Emma Stone, is based on the classic “101 Dalmatians” villain Cruella de Vil. The revisit to Disney’s animated classic was originally set to hit theaters [...]

  • Spider-Man Could Leave the Marvel Cinematic

    Spider-Man Could Leave MCU if Disney, Sony Can't Reach Financing Deal

    Disney’s Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures have hit an impasse on new financing terms for upcoming Spider-Man movies, sources have told Variety. If a deal cannot be reached, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige will not produce future Spider-Man films, effectively removing Tom Holland’s Spider-Man from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Reps for Disney, Marvel and Sony [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content