New York gangster Ben ‘Bugsy’ Siegel takes a brief business trip to Los Angeles. There, the life, the movies, and most of all strong-willed Virginia Hill detain him. Then a trip to a run-down gambling joint at a spot in the desert known as Las Vegas gives him his big idea.
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Toback’s bravado-braggadocio and Levinson’s languorous slickness seem to have found their ideal subject in Bugsy Siegel, a flamboyant borderline psycho who epitomized the commingling of Hollywood and gangsters during the 1940s; together director and writer have provided Warren Beatty with his juiciest part in years, and he takes full advantage of it.