Bye Bye Birdie
I have thought about how I should go about writing this post for such a long time, and have come to the conclusion that to talk about this particular film, I must talk about two different movies. You see, this was first adapted to film in 1963, starring Dick Van Dyke in the role of Albert Peterson, but was redone in 1995, this time starring Jason Alexander. Much as I love Dick Van Dyke, I find it necessary to talk about both versions, as I actually prefer the 1995 version (it truly tears me up to say this!).
With the exception of this one movie, I'm the type that always prefers the original over remakes, but I simply can't get myself to do that with this one, and after much consideration, I think I've figured out why. The film is about a songwriter, Albert Peterson (Dick Van Dyke and Jason Alexander), who has recently picked up the rock n' roll superstar, Conrad Birdie, as a client. However, soon after, Conrad is drafted into the army (sound like anyone else we know?), threatening to ruin Albert's musical career. However, his fiance, Rose Alvarez (Janet Leigh in 1963 and Vanessa Williams in 1995), comes up with a plan to have Conrad play one farewell show, where he kisses a lucky member of the Conrad Birdie Fan Club.
The lucky member chosen is a young girl named Kim MacAfee, and I think it's her role that makes the second version so much better in my eyes. Perhaps it's just me, but I feel that Kim should be a sweet, innocent young girl, and in the 1995 version, Chynna Phillips pulls this off. However, I don't think Ann Margaret, who had the role in 1963 does this as well. She simply has too "sexy" of a voice, and while I truly adore her in some of her other films, like Viva Las Vegas, she just doesn't do it for me in this film.
I would certainly recommend seeing both versions, though! It's just one of those things were you need to see both in order to form your own opinion, which could easily differ from mine. I'd love to know what your opinions on these films are, so please do let me know in the comment section!