|8:30 p.m.||Bye Bye Birdie|
George Sidney (U.S., 1963)
In March 1958, Elvis Presley was drafted. Two years later, writers Charles Strouse and Lee Adams drafted fifteen songs charting the delirium that descends upon Sweet Apple, Ohio, when Conrad Birdie (Jesse Pearson) arrives for his parting kiss before entering the army. Conrad, as you might guess, is a jelly-rolled rocker, an “honestly sincere” parody of the King himself. The bobbysoxer chosen to share that last kiss is Kim, a fifteen-year-old blossom played by Ann-Margret in full bloom. Bye Bye Birdie wants it both ways: focusing on lil’ Kim pursued by teen bopper Bobby Rydell, the musical also gives adulthood equal time with the riveting Rosie (Janet Leigh) and her beau Albert (Dick Van Dyke). The youngsters get that paean to lip-lock “One Last Kiss” and a hymn to hormones, “A Lot of Livin’ to Do,” while the parents get the death of attitude in “Put On a Happy Face” and a declaration of alienation in “Kids.” This boisterous “bye bye” was also a big hello for Ann-Margret.
• Written by Irving Brecher, based on the musical by Michael Stewart, Charles Strouse, Lee Adams. Music conducted by Johnny Green. Photographed by Joseph Biroc. With Janet Leigh, Ann-Margret, Dick Van Dyke, Bobby Rydell. (112 mins, Color, ’Scope, 35mm, From Sony Pictures)