Rated: PG Reviewed by: Frank and Chris Release date: April 10, 1992 Released by: Walt Disney Pictures
Disney revives the musical with a big, sweeping drama about the boys who sold newspapers on street corners at the turn of the century.
It's based on an actual strike by the newsies when a greedy Joseph Pulitzer (Robert Durvall) raised the price that newsboys had to pay for the papers they sold.
The boy's leader is Jack Kelly (Christian Bale Empire of the Sun) a scruffy, respected lad who, aided by a fellow newsie (David Moscow), pumps up the rag tag bunch into defying Pulitzer's power.
The plight of children working under intolerable conditions for little money, and the importance of the unions during that period, is stressed.
The New York streets are transformed into a stage for the boys' high energy singing and dancing. Dressed in knickers and caps, they are a likable group of talented dancers. With their mixed New York dialects and cocky attitudes, they remind one of an old Bowery Boys movie, set to music.
The songs by composer Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast) are upbeat and fun, especially a western flavored solo by Bale.
Directed by choreographer Kenny Ortega, the musical numbers are high-stepping fun.
Younger children will probably be bored by the story, but to older kinds and adults, the musical makes a welcome return.