HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Last Warrior, The
Artemis 81
Rampage
Quiet Place, A
Braven
Changeover, The
Isle of Dogs
Funny Cow
Maze Runner: The Death Cure
Mad to Be Normal
Beast of Burden
Dead Men Walk
Game Night
Under the Tree
L'Amant Double
Gonin
Coco
Producers, The
Molly's Game
Forest of the Lost Souls, The
Hatchet III
Birdman of Alcatraz
Pacific Rim: Uprising
Wonderstruck
If It Ain't Stiff, It Ain't Worth a Fuck
Nun, The
Red Sparrow
My Friend Dahmer
Journeyman
Heat, The
   
 
Newest Articles
The Ultimate Trip: The Original Psychedelic Movies
Players of Games: Willy Wonka, Tron and Ready Player One
What Am I Doing Hangin' 'Round? The Ends of The Monkees
Flings and Arrows: Conquest vs Flesh + Blood
Orson Around: F for Fake and The Late Great Planet Earth
ITC What You Did There: Retro-Action on Blu-ray
And It Was the Dirtiest Harry We Have Seen in a Very Long Time: The Dirty Harry Series
Manor On Movies: The Astounding She Monster
Manor On Movies: Don't be a dolt. That's not a cult (movie)
Wes Anderson's Big Daddies: Steve Zissou and Others
Bad Taste from Outer Space: Galaxy of Terror and Xtro
A Yen for the 1990s: Iron Monkey and Satan Returns
Hey, Punk: Jubilee and Rock 'n' Roll High School
Help! with The Knack: Richard Lester in 1965
Roll Up, Get Yer Free Cinema: The Shorts on the BFI Woodfall Blu-rays
   
 
  Bye Bye Birdie American IdolBuy this film here.
Year: 1963
Director: George Sidney
Stars: Dick Van Dyke, Janet Leigh, Ann-Margret, Maureen Stapleton, Bobby Rydell, Jesse Pearson, Paul Lynde, Mary LaRoche, Michael Evans, Robert Paige, Gregory Morton, Bryan Russell, Milton Frome, Ed Sullivan
Genre: Musical, Comedy
Rating:  6 (from 3 votes)
Review: The news is breaking across the nation: Conrad Birdie (Jesse Pearson), teen sensation and the most famous singer in the land, has been drafted! Girls from coast to coast are up in arms, how could the government do such a thing to their idol? But spare a thought for the songwriters who make their money from Conrad's million-selling records, what are they going to do now? One of them, Albert F. Peterson (Dick Van Dyke), is barely scraping a living as it is, and wonders if he ought to go back to chemistry, but his secretary Rosie (Janet Leigh), who is also his girlfriend, has a great idea: how about making Conrad's last public appearance a real publicity stunt?

Bye Bye Birdie was based on the long-running stage musical, although some changes were made between the two so that the film version could better show off the talents of Ann-Margret, a new star who was starting to be a sensation herself thanks to efforts like this. She played Kim McAfee, a supposedly typical American teenager, who is chosen by The Ed Sullivan Show (Ed Sullivan plays himself) to appear on television at Conrad's farewell and be blessed with a kiss from the megastar. In effect, this means the cast (apart from Ed) have to congregate at Kim's smalltown home of Sweet Apple, Ohio, creating quite a to-do.

When the original was written, it was taken from the headlines about Elvis Presley going into the U.S. Army and the worries for his fans (and hopes for his non-fans) that his career would be over. This isn't quite successful as satire, mainly because while Conrad Birdie (his name a spoof of Conway Twitty's for some reason) is vain and self-impressed, something of a jerk in fact, Elvis was well known as being a thoroughly nice guy, so the object of the lampooning is more the stereotypical showbiz monsters you hear about than an accurate portrayal of the King of Rock 'n' Roll. And besides, nobody was going to mistake the tunes here for anything other than light pop, if that.

Two of the stars of the stage show were transported over to the big screen, Dick Van Dyke and Paul Lynde, and although both were vocal about their dissatisfaction with the movie they were household names already, though more for television than film. Lynde plays Kim's harrassed father, which he does very amusingly, perhaps unintentionally so when we now know details of the actor's private life (not that it was difficult to guess from his camp persona). He certainly gets most of the funniest lines from a script by Irving Brecher which could have been snappier, though does gather up a fair few targets in its arms.

This results in a neat snapshot of what was obsessing America in the years just before the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and all that national innocence we heard about was supposedly lost forever. So there are troubles with the Soviets when the Moscow Ballet run too long in rehearsals, meaning Conrad's song is cut, the effect of rock 'n' roll on the country's morals is much worried over, if something's not on television then it's as good as never happened, and the effects of amphetamines on turtles is given space for debate. What? Yes, to save the day, Albert turns to chemistry and creates some speed - well, I won't spoil it. Suffice to say Ann-Margret overshadows everyone, a flame-haired firecracker who may not show off great range, but you can see why she was taken to the hearts of the teens of her day. This is still quite good fun, even if it does look as if it was made largely by the squares. Songs by Charles Strouse and Lee Adams. Is there no hotel in Sweet Apple?
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 3107 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which film has the best theme song?
Spectre
The Ups and Downs of a Handyman
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Robert Segedy
Darren Jones
  Asma Amal
  Chris Lawrence
Enoch Sneed
George White
Stately Wayne Manor
   

 

Last Updated: