Watch Bye Bye Birdie
- 1 hr 52 min
Bye Bye Birdie, the 1963 musical comedy, is a delightful tribute to the rock 'n' roll craze of the late 1950s and early 1960s. It is based on the real-life fact that Elvis Presley was drafted into the Army in 1957, much to the disappointment of his young female fans, and centers around a fictional rock star, Conrad Birdie (Jesse Pearson), who is drafted into the Army and must kiss one of his fans on live television before he leaves.
Dick Van Dyke stars as Albert Peterson, Birdie's agent, and Janet Leigh as his long-suffering girlfriend and secretary, Rosie DeLeon. Ann-Margret plays the role of Kim MacAfee, the lucky teenager who wins the honor of being kissed by Conrad Birdie. The movie boasts an incredible cast of talented actors, singers, and dancers, and features a catchy and memorable score by Charles Strouse and Lee Adams, including such hits as "Put on a Happy Face," "Kids," and "The Telephone Hour."
The story begins with Albert and Rosie realizing that their business is in trouble due to the fact that Conrad Birdie has been drafted. In a desperate attempt to save their business, Albert decides to create a publicity stunt by having Conrad kiss a teenage fan on live television before he leaves for the Army. The lucky girl chosen is Kim MacAfee, a young woman from Sweet Apple, Ohio, and the madness that ensues in the small town is nothing short of hysterical.
The film's depiction of small-town America in the 1950s is both nostalgic and satirical, and is aided by the energetic and colorful musical numbers. Ann-Margret's performance of "The Telephone Hour" is particularly memorable, as she leads her classmates in gossiping about the imminent visit of Conrad Birdie. The song is a clever commentary on the power of media and how rumors can spread like wildfire in small towns.
As the day of the TV show approaches, tensions rise and conflicts come to a head. Kim's boyfriend Hugo (Bobby Rydell) becomes jealous of Conrad and tries to sabotage the show, while Rosie tries to convince Albert to quit the business and settle down with her. Meanwhile, Conrad becomes increasingly frustrated with the insincerity of his handlers and longs for his old life.
The climactic scene of the film takes place on the set of The Ed Sullivan Show, where Conrad is scheduled to kiss Kim on live television. The chaos backstage and the excitement of the audience are palpable, and the tension builds as the moment draws near. The kiss itself is uproarious, with Conrad hamming it up for the cameras and Kim barely able to contain her excitement. The scene is a perfect reflection of the pandemonium surrounding Elvis Presley's own appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1956.
Bye Bye Birdie has remained a beloved musical film for decades, thanks to its catchy songs, charming performances, and nostalgic setting. Its themes of generational conflict, the power of media, and the search for authenticity resonate just as strongly today as they did in 1963. With its colorful and energetic production numbers, it captures the joy and excitement of the rock 'n' roll era, while also poking fun at its excesses and absurdities.
In short, Bye Bye Birdie is a delightful and entertaining musical comedy that exemplifies the best of the genre. Its infectious energy and memorable songs make it a must-see for fans of classic musicals and 1950s culture.
Bye Bye Birdie is a 1963 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 52 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.6.