Cinema: Featherbedding

Bye Bye Birdie. Broadway musicals, like rural beauty-contest winners, rarely survive a round trip to Hollywood without a loss of innocence. This one, a lampoon on the visit of a gyro-pelvic pop singer to Sweet Apple, Ohio, had an apple-cheekiness about it on the stage that seems slightly worm-eaten on film, and the result is more goof than spoof.

Birdie begins well enough by turning the screen into a mosaic of telephoning teen-agers ("Hello, Mrs. Miller, this is Harvey Johnson, can I speak to Deborah Sue?") that climaxes with every kid in town chattering into enough Princess phones to make A.T. &...

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