Warren Beattyhas a smoothie mannerism, even in real life, which makes this character quite useful in a film set. His character in Bugsy is almost perfect – he plays a man who projections a seductive aura and falls for it as well.
Benjamin Bugsy Siegel might pass for a postage icon or Vegas’s father, were it not for his character as a thug.
The film is about Siegel’s journey West with a couple of Eastern mobsters in the early 40s; it is there that he falls for Virginia Hill, played by Annette Bening. He also develops a love for the movies, gets a screencast courtesy of his looks, but his scenes were all in boardrooms.
The opening credits show him saying his byes to family. He goes for an extramarital affair with some lady in a hotel setting. He takes life in his office in the presence of others. It’s the kind of start that tells you there are fines things in store for you. Sadly, the film is afflicted by the same characteristic gangster films – you are expected to like the star of the movie even when it is obvious he is a sociopath.
He kills, yeah, and cheats on his wife, that he does, but underneath, he is romantic and a charmer as well as a loving father who has the mettle to bake a cake on his daughter’s birthday.
Siegel and Virginia hit it off right from the first time they lay eyes on each other. No amount of threat is too significant to disentangle him from her. The two are perfect for each other but dysfunctional, although their chemistry dies out in the next few scenes. When you see them again, they are busy throwing objects at each other, which is less than fun for the viewers.
Siegel shifts to Las Vegas in search of his answer to the dreams of America, and he finds it in the form of a dry and barren Nevada desert. He thinks that he could turn it into some resort. The thought that he single-handedly turned Las Vegas into the fairy it is today is exaggerated. He bought a casino development set up by Billy Wilkerson.
Sadly, he is not featured in the film. When Cuba threw out all the mob after Castro came to power, Las Vegas benefited from that traffic. However, that was 1959, the film was set in 1946, and Siegel had no premonition power as far as anyone is concerned.
At one point, Siegel is at home, relaxed, enjoying a spool of himself performing a filming test. A sniper shot traverses the room’s window and through his chest. He looks at the spot he was shot and is shocked by what he sees. When this happened in real life, he was not on his own in the room, nor was he watching a spool of himself. Plus, the bullet when through the head with so much force that his eyes popped out.
It is a revolting scene, but it’s a good thing that was not featured in the film. He did try to make people think he was a nice guy, so does the movie.