I watched two of my chosen classic movies this week - one an all-time hit and one a total flop. First the flop:
Kiss Them For Me
Three decorated Navy pilots finagle a four day leave in San Francisco. They procure a posh suite at the hotel and Commander Crewson, a master of procurement, arranges to populate it with party people. Lieutenant Wallace is trying to get the pilots to make speeches to rally the homefront at shipyard magnate Eddie Turnbill's plants, but they're tired of the war and just want to have fun. While Crewson begins falling in love with Turnbill's fiancée Gwinneth Livingston, he tries to ignore the distant call of war.
Not even Cary Grant could save this bomb. Silly plot, unbelievable situations, and Jayne Mansfield's annoying voice made it tough to watch. But, did I mention Cary Grant?
Based on the book Shore Leave by Frederic Wakeman (1943).
The second half of the double feature was a hit - but that wasn't a surprise because I've seen this movie many times. It's always rewatchable!
Bye Bye Birdie - A rock singer travels to a small Ohio town to make his "farewell" television performance and kiss his biggest fan before he is drafted.
Dick Van Dyke, Ann-Margaret, Bobby Rydell, Janet Leigh, Paul Lynde, Ed Sullivan . . . this movie is full of big names and catchy songs that get stuck in our head. It was inspired by Elvis's induction into the army in 1957 - at the height of his popularity - and his "one last kiss" to an Army WAC. The movie is an adaptation of the Broadway musical that premiered in 1960 and won Tonys for Best Musical and Best Performance by a Male (Dick Van Dyke) in 1961. There is also a mid-90's remake with Vanessa Williams, Jason Alexander and Tyne Daley that is almost as good. But you just can't beat Dick Van Dyke, in my book.
Put on a Happy Face is probably the best-known song from the movie, but there are others that make you want to sing, and maybe even dance: One Last Kiss, One Special Boy, Everything is Rosie and, of course, Bye Bye Birdie. Highly recommended - it's fun and lighthearted and . . . just fun!