Films & TV
Fan Club Info
Roger Smith

Ann-Margret's Greatest Hits


That hyphenated name conjures up so many iconic images: her wind-blown siren song over the closing titles of Bye Bye Birdie; Gyrating with Elvis in Viva Las Vegas; And being covered in baked beans and chocolate sauce while straddling a phallus-shaped pillow in Ken Russell’s Tommy.

Swedish-born Ann-Margret Olsson was America's Sex Kitten Supreme in the 1960s before graduating to serious actress status in the '70s with her Oscar-nominated role in Carnal Knowledge. In the years since then, she has continued to give fine performances in movies and television, while still wowing 'em in Vegas.
And for men of a certain age, she will always be an All-American sex symbol, the living embodiment of "Va-va-va-Voom!."

Here, in ascending order, are Ann-Margret’s Greatest Hits:

A Streetcar Named Desire (1984): Ann-Margret is Blanche Dubois in this made-for-television adaptation of Tennessee Williams's play. As Stanley Kowalski, Treat Williams won't make anyone forget Marlon Brando, but A-M's powerful if uneven portrayal is worth checking out.

Grumpy Old Men (1993), as Ariel Truax. Playing the attractive 50-something object of desire for Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau, A-M looks great and gives a fine comic performance. With Burgess Meredith. She reprised her role in 1995's Grumpier Old Men, a/k/a Grumpy Old Men 2.

Kitten with a Whip (1964), as Jody Dvorak. Irresistibly trashy Juvenile Delinquent/Bad Girl epic adapted from the Wade Miller paperback novel, with A-M as a teenage temptress who complicates the life of an aspiring politician, played by a stiff John Forsythe, who further complicates things for himself by making a series of very bad decisions. It all leads to a knife-happy denouement South of the Border. Fans of “Mystery Science Theater 3000” will remember this one fondly.

Bus Riley's Back in Town (1965) as Laurel. When his script was rewritten to expand A-M's part (a character that embodies the term "sexpot"), playwright William Inge (Bus Stop, Splendor in the Grass), who was sort of the junior league Tennessee Williams, insisted on having his name removed from the credits. While the resulting film lacks the poignancy of Inge's original one-act play, it still has its moments. And Ann-Margret is a vision of wanton carnality as Bus Riley’s old flame and tormentor Co-starring Michael Parks in full James Dean mode.

Viva Las Vegas (1963), as Rusty Martin. Elvis Presley + Ann-Margret = explosive sexual chemistry, as the two '60s icons get it on in Sin City . Their off-screen romance provides hot subtext to their on-screen interplay, while the film caters to their unique talents. Directed by George Sidney, with William Demarest and Cesare Danova. By far the best of Presley’s assembly-line ‘60s flicks, although this reviewer still has a soft spot for Girl Happy and Tickle Me.

The Cincinnati Kid (1965), as Melba.  A-M plays a no-good two-bit tramp who steals Steve McQueen from Tuesday Weld in this drama about high stakes poker. McQueen may have been the King of Cool, but with those kind of distractions, how could any man keep his mind on the cards? Directed by Norman Jewison, from a script by Terry Southern (Dr. Strangelove, Easy Rider) and Ring Lardner Jr. (M*A*S*H), with Rip Torn and Edward G. Robinson.

Joseph Andrews (1977): Directed Tony Richardson returned to the style of his earlier triumph Tom Jones (1963) by adapting Henry Fielding's novel, casting A-M as the voluptuous, lusty Lady Booby (yep, you read that right, Lady Booby). She gives a great comic performance, a far cry from her ‘60s sex kitten roles, but still every bit as sexy.

Tommy (1975): A-M gives a bravura performance as Nora Walker, Tommy's mother, in Ken Russell's crazed, over-the-top vision of the Who's rock opera. While her vocal stylings are a bit at odds with the music, she manages to be quite moving as the conflicted Mom. With Roger Daltrey as Tommy, the great Oliver Reed as Nora’s lover and co-conspirator Frank, Keith Moon as Uncle Ernie, and her Carnal Knowledge co-star Jack Nicholson as the Doctor.

Bye Bye Birdie (1963): As Kim McAfee, an All-American teenage girl with something extra, namely A-M's trademark sex appeal, Ann-Margret steals the show. For evidence thereof, dig her wild vocalizin’ and crazy sexy dance moves on "Got a Lot o' Livin' to Do," her precocious (and politically incorrect) take on “How Lovely to Be a Woman,” and her slam-bang wailing on the title tune (recently referenced in Season Three of “Mad Men”). Helmed by A-M’s favorite director, George Sidney, with a stellar cast that includes Dick Van Dyke, Janet Leigh, Maureen Stapleton, Paul Lynde, and Ed Sullivan.

Carnal Knowledge (1971): Ann-Margret won over the critics and was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for Mike Nichols' film of Jules Feiffer's Carnal Knowledge, playing Bobbie, Jack Nicholson's incredibly hot but deeply depressed wife. "I've been sleeping 18 hours a day, and pretty soon it's gonna be 24!" With Candice Bergen, Art Garfunkle, and Rita Moreno.


By JM Dobies | examiner.com


Back to Various »


Home »

The Unofficial Home Of The Fantastic Ann-Margret | Various stuff | Magazines