5.9/10
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43 user 1 critic

Bye Bye Birdie (1995)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Drama, Musical | TV Movie 3 December 1995
Rock-and-roll icon Conrad Birdie is about to go into the Army, and plans are being made to arrange his final going-away concert.

Director:

Gene Saks

Writer:

Michael Stewart (play)
Reviews
Won 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jason Alexander ... Albert J. Peterson
Vanessa Williams ... Rose Alvarez
Chynna Phillips ... Kim MacAfee
Tyne Daly ... Mae Peterson
Marc Kudisch ... Conrad Birdie
George Wendt ... Harry MacAfee
Sally Mayes Sally Mayes ... Doris MacAfee
Jason Gaffney ... Hugo F. Peabody
Blair Slater Blair Slater ... Randolph MacAfee
Vicki Lewis ... Gloria Rasputin
Brigitta Dau ... Ursula Merkle
Angela Brydon Angela Brydon ... Sad Face Girl
Shelley S. Hunt Shelley S. Hunt ... Alice
Marlowe Gardiner-Heslin Marlowe Gardiner-Heslin ... Suzie (as Marlowe Windsor-Menard)
Brenna Quan Brenna Quan ... Penelope-Ann
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Storyline

Rock-and-roll icon Conrad Birdie is about to go into the Army, and plans are being made to arrange his final going-away concert.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The all-star comedy event of the year! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Musical

Certificate:

Not Rated
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The original Broadway production of "Bye Bye Birdie" opened at the Martin Beck Theater on April 14, 1960, ran for 607 performances and won the 1961 Tony Award for the Best Musical. Dick Van Dyke recreated his 1961 Tony Award winning performance for Best Featured Actor in a Musical playing Albert Peterson who was played by Jason Alexander in this television production. See more »

Goofs

The telephone that Albert J. Peterson (Jason Alexander) uses in Harry MacAfee's (George Wendt) home has a modern plug-in cord, which was not yet in use in the period in which this film is set. See more »

Connections

Version of Bye Bye Birdie (1963) See more »

Soundtracks

Rosie
Music by Charles Strouse
Lyrics by Lee Adams
Sung by Jason Alexander and Vanessa Williams
See more »

User Reviews

 
An example of being more faithful not equalling being better
25 June 2013 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

The 1963 film was not perfect, with a couple of dated references, two casting choices that seemed off and the story sometimes did suffer in a messy kind of way from the tinkering made. It was however colourful, energetic, witty and when the cast worked they were just wonderful. In short, I don't love it but there is much to like about it and gets a bad rep from those who have the mindset that anything that makes changes from the source material is immediately to be put down upon.

People will love that this film from 1995 is closer to the stage version, especially in the dialogue and story. However, those who loved the energy, colour and wit that the 1963 film had might find themselves short-changed. I fall into that camp I'm afraid to say, and I also feel that being more faithful doesn't always mean it's better. It does have good things certainly, the songs are wonderful and I did like two performances.

Vanessa Williams was the best asset, she is not just charming but is much more of a spitfire than Janet Leigh was, and her singing is heavenly especially in What Did I Ever See in Him, also the best individual rendition. Tyne Daly is also deliciously overbearing and immensely fun to watch, she and Maureen Stapleton are about equal here. However, I didn't care for the rest of the cast. Jason Alexander does give his all and he can sing, but he also tries too hard and has little of the effortless sham charm that Dick Van Dyke brought to Albert.

Whereas the performance of Harry from Paul Lynde was one of the 1963 film's high points, it was one of the things in this version that was less good. George Wendt lumbers his way through it and has very little comic timing, when he does show it it doesn't feel very natural. Marc Kudisch is a slight improvement over Jesse Pearsson, but neither of the Conrads worked in either version. Pearsson's performance suffered from that he did very little with a character that was underdeveloped in the film already, Kudisch has the better looks and voice but also came across as annoying to me from playing Conrad too broadly. Jason Gaffney is just as bland as Bobby Rydell, so like I said with Daly and Stapleton being equally good I'd deem Gaffney and Rydell just as bad(Rydell gets a marginal point for being more believable as a dork).

Chynna Phillips was the worst though. She doesn't believe at all as a teenager, at least 10 years too old, and makes little if any attempt to act like one. She also struggles with the high notes, continually sounding strained, and is even worse as an actress. Ann Margaret(much of which the 1963 film revolved around) had charm, likability and command, Phillips just never seems sure what to do with herself.

The film doesn't look amateurish or anything, the scenery and costumes are very nicely done and it is competently filmed at least. The lighting is rather drab though and there was always a TV movie feel to it that was never quite shaken off. The dialogue that was delivered with such elegance and wit in the earlier version here despite being closer to that of the stage version didn't have anywhere near the same impact and sounded like the actors were reading rather than living the lines. The satire was also nowhere near as sharp or witty either. The story is more succinct, but I didn't feel as much of the farcical comedy of errors quality that the 1963 film did(even with the tinkerings) or the charm, colour or energy. The choreography was surprisingly dull, there is an effort at pizazz but done in a clichéd way and even in a way that sucks the film of vitality or warmth.

Overall, more faithful but also inferior, Williams, Daly and the songs are great but everything else falls flat. 3/10 Bethany Cox


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Details

Country:

Canada | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

3 December 1995 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bye Bye Birdie See more »

Filming Locations:

British Columbia, Canada See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RHI Entertainment See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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