One of the more unsung '60s musicals, this is a big, splashy, Broadway-derived mix of boisterous rock'n'roll satire and breezy showbiz formulas. Hip-swivelling singing idol Conrad Birdie (Pearson in a juicy send-up of Elvis-style narcissism) gets drafted into the army, but not before his managers ('oldsters' Leigh and Van Dyke) arrange for him to bestow a last, symbolic kiss on one lucky Middle American Miss (Ann-Margret). Released just months before Kennedy's assassination, this enjoyable timepiece is notable today for its peppy score, energetic dancing, and for having made a star of the extremely nubile Ann-Margret, 22 passing for 16. Her fresh, wholesome eroticism fairly bursts off the screen.
Cast and crew
Dick Van Dyke