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Ascotrudgeracer

"Bye Bye Birdie" on later today...MOST UNDERRATED EVER.

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My opinion: it's BETTER than "Singing..." I know Dick Van Dyke thought the whole thing was turned into an Ann-Margret showcase, but she was amazing, especially in "Got a Lot of Living" number. Somehow people overlook this masterpiece on their lists, but I challenge anyone who hasn't seen it (are there any?) to get up and mow the lawn after it starts...it's just too good and I purposely don't have it in my library because it's better to wait for it.

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It's utterly entertaining, from start to finish. One of the rare examples when the film is better than the source Broadway material. I LOVE it. Onna White's staging of the musical numbers are among the finest in film musical history.

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Both Janet Leigh and Dick Van Dyke were upset with director George Sidney who seemed to throw the whole film to Ann-Margret. He really built up Margret's role. Note the opening and other numbers. Van Dyke said the film should have been called the Ann-Margret show. I can see Leigh being upset. She also made many films with Sidney and might have been jealous that the spotlight was now on Ann-Margret. I felt the film was a mixed bag. Like many of director George Sidney's films I like parts of Birdie but not the whole film in its entirety.

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Watching it again, it struck me as stilted, badly acted, and musically ponderous. Is this the same movie I loved as a teenager?

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There is quite a difference between the original Broadway musical, which was directed by Gower Champion and the later screen version, which was directed by George Sidney.

 

The stage musical pivoted on the relationship between Dick Van Dyke and Chita Rivera.

 

The film version loses that emotional center by building up Ann-Margret's part.

 

She often seems to be squeezing Dick Van Dyke and Janet Leigh off the screen.

 

And she really wasn't young enough to play a high school girl.

 

She and Bobby Rydell are terribly mismatched.

 

Dick Van Dyke loses the unforgettable luster of his Broadway performance and, unfortunately, Janet Leigh is no Chita Rivera even though she does try.

 

In re-inventing the material for the screen and "the kids", the film is mostly a ham-fisted concoction that still manages some striking moments.

 

But for the director, George Sidney, this is quite a step down.

 

He also managed to ruin the film version of "Kiss Me, Kate".

 

The stage musical is infinitely superior.

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But for the director, George Sidney, this is quite a step down.

 

He also managed to ruin the film version of "Kiss Me, Kate".

 

The stage musical is infinitely superior.

 

I think you summed it up correctly. When I was in high school, we performed the play. I was a sophomore at the time (meaning I was in the tenth grade). I remember some of us looked at the movie (on VHS in those days) to see how our parts were played. But we knew we were better, because we were relying on the original text. We did have a red-haired Mormon girl play Kim, and she did look like Ann-Margret but she was 16, a real high school girl and she fit the part perfectly. I played the part of Mr. McAfee-- and if you go by the original text, he's a blustering sort of Gale Gordon type; not at all how Paul Lynde plays him in the movie.

 

I think Charles Walters would have done a better job directing the film.

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I think you summed it up correctly. When I was in high school, we performed the play. I was a sophomore at the time (meaning I was in the tenth grade). I remember some of us looked at the movie (on VHS in those days) to see how our parts were played. But we knew we were better, because we were relying on the original text. We did have a red-haired Mormon girl play Kim, and she did look like Ann-Margret but she was 16, a real high school girl and she fit the part perfectly. I played the part of Mr. McAfee-- and if you go by the original text, he's a blustering sort of Gale Gordon type; not at all how Paul Lynde plays him in the movie.

 

I think Charles Walters would have done a better job directing the film.

Yes, I agree, Charles Walters would have been perfect.

 

So, you got to sing "Kids", you lucky dude, you!

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Yes, I agree, Charles Walters would have been perfect.

 

So, you got to sing "Kids", you lucky dude, you!

 

Yes, I had two big songs-- 'Kids' and 'Ed Sullivan.' LOL Plus the ending number. Fun times!

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Yes, I had two big songs-- 'Kids' and 'Ed Sullivan.' LOL Plus the ending number. Fun times!

Who played Conrad Birdie?

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Who played Conrad Birdie?

 

Our high school quarterback-- he was a Freshman and very popular (and very conceited at that time).

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There is quite a difference between the original Broadway musical, which was directed by Gower Champion and the later screen version, which was directed by George Sidney.

 

The stage musical pivoted on the relationship between Dick Van Dyke and Chita Rivera.

 

The film version loses that emotional center by building up Ann-Margret's part.

 

She often seems to be squeezing Dick Van Dyke and Janet Leigh off the screen.

 

And she really wasn't young enough to play a high school girl.

 

She and Bobby Rydell are terribly mismatched.

 

Dick Van Dyke loses the unforgettable luster of his Broadway performance and, unfortunately, Janet Leigh is no Chita Rivera even though she does try.

 

In re-inventing the material for the screen and "the kids", the film is mostly a ham-fisted concoction that still manages some striking moments.

 

But for the director, George Sidney, this is quite a step down.

 

He also managed to ruin the film version of "Kiss Me, Kate".

 

The stage musical is infinitely superior.

While I missed the original production, I saw it in stock,in 1962 with George Gobel in the Paul Lynde role.  I really liked it; but nothing compares to Onna White's superior staging of the musical numbers in the film.  I've seen multiple stage productions since that 1962 version, and none were better than the movie, to me.  It's among my top 10 favorite film musicals.  It's just so much fun.  George Sidney really knew how to frame a musical number.  People, today, should be forced to look at his films, or Charles Walters' films to see how it's done.  Nobody has a clue, today.

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