Bye Bye Birdie

Bye Bye Birdie

4.0 20
Director: George Sidney

Cast: George Sidney, Janet Leigh, Dick Van Dyke, Ann-Margret

     
 

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George Sidney's adaptation of the satiric Broadway musical smash by Michael Stewart, Charles Strouse, and Lee Adams -- about an Elvis Presley-inspired rock star, who is drafted into the army and who creates a near-riot in a small Midwestern town when he stops there for one last publicity junket -- takes good-natured swipes at popular culture, rock n' roll, and… See more details below

Overview

George Sidney's adaptation of the satiric Broadway musical smash by Michael Stewart, Charles Strouse, and Lee Adams -- about an Elvis Presley-inspired rock star, who is drafted into the army and who creates a near-riot in a small Midwestern town when he stops there for one last publicity junket -- takes good-natured swipes at popular culture, rock n' roll, and American family life. Dick van Dyke re-creates his Broadway role of Albert Peterson, a down-on-his-luck songwriter for the rock-n'-roll idol Conrad Birdie (Jesse Pearson). When Birdie is drafted into the army, Peterson is worried about his future as a songwriter. His secretary, Rosie (Janet Leigh in a brunette wig), with whom Albert has long been romantically attached, convinces Albert to write a farewell song for Birdie that he will sing on The Ed Sullivan Show to a specially selected fan. The lucky fan turns out to be Kim McAfee (Ann-Margaret) of Sweet Apple, Ohio. When Birdie arrives in this hick town, the population goes crazy and in the ensuing madness, Albert must deal with the celebrity-fawning population, Kim's manic father (Paul Lynde, also re-creating his Broadway role), and his own domineering mother (Maureen Stapleton), while he loses Rosie to the Shriners.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
On-stage, Bye Bye Birdie played like a champion. Though it was hardly a great musical, it was deceivingly well crafted. Unfortunately, the changes wrought by screenwriter Irving Brecher and director George Sidney damage the piece's structure and ultimately make the film entertaining but little more. Greater emphasis is placed on the secondary characters played by Ann-Margret and Bobby Rydell, the Spanish ethnicity of Janet Leigh's Rosie (vital to the conflict between her and Maureen Stapleton's character) is essentially eliminated, and two ridiculous and pointless subplots -- one involving a drug that speeds up metabolism and one about the Moscow Ballet's appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show -- are added to no positive effect. Director Sidney takes an overly cartoonish approach (exemplified by silly animated chalk drawings during "Put on a Happy Face") that takes the reality out of the movie. Fortunately, the cast and the score make up for a lot of the flaws. Ann-Margret is a wonderful mixture of kittenish innocence and sensuality, and Dick van Dyke is engaging and amiable. Janet Leigh is merely adequate, but Paul Lynde and Maureen Stapleton are quite amusing. Onna White's choreography is lively, and such numbers as "The Telephone Hour" and "A Lot of Livin' to Do" sparkle. The 1995 TV remake was more faithful to the source material, although it has its own shortcomings.

Product Details

Release Date:
03/12/1996
UPC:
0043396015005
Original Release:
1963
Rating:
PG
Source:
Sony Pictures

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Janet Leigh Rosie DeLeon
Dick Van Dyke Albert Peterson
Ann-Margret Kim McAfee
Maureen Stapleton Mama Peterson
Bobby Rydell Hugo Peabody
Paul Lynde Harry McAfee
Jesse Pearson Conrad Birdie
Ed Sullivan Himself
Mary Laroche Mrs. McAfee
Michael Evans Claude Paisley
Robert Paige Bob Precht
Gregory Morton Borov
Bryan Russell Randolph
Milton Frome Mr. Maude
Ben A. Astar Ballet Manager
Trudi Ames Ursula
Cyril Delevanti Mr. Nebbitt
Frank Albertson Mayor
Frank Sully Bartender
Bo Peep Karlin Ursula's Mother
Kim Darby Actor
Linda Kaye Henning Uncredited
Laura Lamb Actor

Technical Credits
George Sidney Director
Pat Barto Costumes/Costume Designer
Joseph Biroc Cinematographer
Irving Brecher Screenwriter
Johnny Green Score Composer
Fred Kohlmar Producer
Charles Nelson Editor
Charles Rice Sound/Sound Designer
Onna White Choreography
Marvin Willens Stunts

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