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Published on Aug 20, 2010
Start and ending clip from the film Bye Bye Birdie.
Bye Bye Birdie is a 1963 American film adaptation of the stage production of the same name. The screenplay was written by Michael Stewart and Irving Brecher, with music by Charles Strouse and Lee Adams.
Directed by George Sidney, the movie version starred Dick Van Dyke, reprising his Broadway role as Albert Peterson, along with Maureen Stapleton as Mama Mae Peterson, Janet Leigh as Rosie DeLeon, Paul Lynde as Mr. MacAfee, Bobby Rydell as Hugo Peabody, and Ann-Margret as Kim MacAfee.
The story was inspired by the phenomenon of popular singer Elvis Presley and his being drafted into the United States Army in 1957. Jesse Pearson plays the role of teen idol Conrad Birdie, whose character name is a word play on another pop singer of the era, Conway Twitty. Presley himself was the first choice for the role of Birdie, but his manager, Col. Tom Parker nixed the idea as he did not want Presley to play a role that was a parody of himself. Ed Sullivan appears as himself, host of the popular, long-running CBS TV variety show.
The film is credited with making Ann-Margret a superstar during the mid-1960s, leading to her appearing with the real Elvis in Viva Las Vegas (1964). Bye Bye Birdie opens with Ann-Margret singing a title song written especially for the movie. The soundtrack was released by RCA Records in 1964.
The film ranked number 38 on Entertainment Weekly's list of the 50 Best High School Movies. Despite the film's box office success upon release, some critics claimed it made average use of the talents of Van Dyke and Leigh. While some reviewers praised the movie as a classic example of 1960s camp, others noted its mediocre production values, rewriting of the script, changes in the musical score, and disappointing choreography in some songs.
Ann-Margret Olsson (born April 28, 1941) is a Swedish-American actress, singer and dancer whose professional name is Ann-Margret. She became famous for her starring roles in Bye, Bye Birdie, Viva Las Vegas, The Cincinnati Kid, Carnal Knowledge, and Tommy. Her later career includes character roles in Grumpy Old Men, Any Given Sunday, The Santa Clause 3, and The Break-Up. She has won five Golden Globe Awards and been nominated for two Academy Awards, two Grammy Awards, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and six Emmy Awards.