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Made in Paris (1966) is a typical mid-60's romantic comedy, starring Ann-Margret as an American fashion buyer on the loose in Paris, and pursued by three attractive men: fashion designer Louis Jourdan, newspaperman Richard Crenna, and American mama's boy Chad Everett. What distinguishes the film besides the appealing cast is excellent production values, and a wonderfully eclectic musical score.
Ann-Margret was a nightclub performer who had made her film debut in the early 1960's, and became known for her sex kitten roles in such films as State Fair (1962), Bye Bye Birdie (1963), and Viva Las Vegas (1964). But her film career had been erratic, in part due to bad management. By the time she made Made in Paris, she was romantically involved with former actor Roger Smith, who would become her husband and manager, and who would take her career in a new direction. During the production of Made in Paris, Ann-Margret was sued by 20th Century Fox, which had a contract with her, and tried to prevent her working on any film that would delay her appearing in their remake of Stagecoach (1966). When she wrapped Made in Paris, she went immediately into production with Stagecoach, with only a four-day break. In 1967, she married Smith, and eventually took on more challenging film roles. She also found new success as a nightclub performer.
Made in Paris was one of the final films produced by longtime MGM musical producer Joe Pasternak. He had produced a successful string of Deanna Durbin musicals at Universal, before moving to MGM in the 1940's. In the heyday of the MGM musical, the Pasternak unit was known for its wholesome, handsomely produced musicals, often featuring all-star casts. Like other Pasternak films, Made in Paris featured a lavish backlot version of a European locale, in this case Paris. The elegant and colorful costumes by Helen Rose may not have been quite haute couture, but they flattered Ann-Margret's buxom figure. In addition to Ann-Margret and her men, Made in Paris also featured an excellent supporting cast, including Edie Adams as Ann-Margret's boss, and veteran character actors John McGiver, Marcel Dalio, Marcel Hillaire, and Fritz Feld.
Surprisingly, the musical score was not the usual Pasternak mix of kitsch and classical. Instead, it featured songs from Tin Pan Alley veterans Sammy Fain and Paul Francis Webster, the hip young team of Burt Bacharach and Hal David, Quincy Jones, and even a number written by comedian Red Skelton. Jones had trained at the prestigious Berklee School of Music in Boston, and had recently begun composing jazz scores for films such as The Pawnbroker (1964). He would be nominated for an Oscar for In Cold Blood (1967). In addition to these behind-the-scenes musical talents, Made in Paris also featured performances by Count Basie, Mongo Santamaria, and Trini Lopez. For a routine romantic comedy, Made in Paris offers unexpected pleasures.
Director: Boris Sagal
Producer: Joe Pasternak
Screenplay: Stanley Roberts
Cinematography: Milton R. Krasner
Editor: William McMillin
Costume Design: Helen Rose
Art Direction: E. Preston Ames, George W. Davis Set Decoration: F. Keogh Gleason, Henry Grace
Music: "Made in Paris," by Burt Bacharach & Hal David; "Paris Lullaby," by Sammy Fain & Paul Francis Webster; "My True Love" by Red Skelton; "Skull Sister," "Goof Proof" by Quincy Jones
Cast: Ann-Margret (Maggie Scott), Louis Jourdan (Marc Fontaine), Richard Crenna (Herb Stone), Edie Adams (Irene Chase), Chad Everett (Ted Barclay), John McGiver (Roger Barclay).
C-104m. Letterboxed. Closed captioning.
by Margarita Landazuri