The Swinger


1h 21m 1966

Brief Synopsis

A woman who writes steamy novels has to live out her heroine's adventures to sell books.

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Release Date
Jan 1966
Premiere Information
New York opening: 14 Dec: Nov 1966
Production Company
Paramount Pictures
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 21m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Technicolor)

Synopsis

Highly insulted when Girl-Lure Magazine rejects her short stories as being too naive and sugary, Kelly Olsson buys some lurid paperback books, steals lines and situations from them, and writes The Swinger , the saga of a depraved young lady, which Kelly claims is semi-autobiographical. Girl-Lure 's lecherous publisher, Sir Hubert Charles, and smooth editor, Ric Colby, doubt the authenticity of the tale and decide to pay Kelly a surprise visit. Tipped off, she wins the help of some male dancers who live in her building and stages an orgy. When Sergeant Hooker of the vice squad (another of Kelly's fellow tenants) raids the apartment, the delighted Sir Hubert agrees to publish the book, but Ric takes Kelly to his Aunt Cora in Malibu for help in reforming the wayward young woman. Ric eventually learns of the deception and takes his revenge by forcing Kelly to re-create her streetwalker past for a photo layout in Girl-Lure. His plan backfires, however, when Sergeant Hooker arrests him for forcible abduction. After Ric explains the mix-up and obtains his release, he drives off and crashes into Kelly, who was racing to his rescue on her motorcycle. The vehicles are destroyed, but Kelly and Ric end up together.

Videos

Movie Clip

Swinger, The - Depraved Young Lady Kelly (Ann-Margret) bangs her typewriter and imagines lascivious activities in freeze-frames as she creates her first steamy novel in director George Sidney's The Swinger, 1966.
Swinger, The - Hey Swinger! (Open) Red hair, black leotard, 1960's geometry, an invisible trampoline and Ann-Margret get things rolling in the opening musical and title sequence from director George Sidney's The Swinger, 1966.
Swinger, The - Kelly Olsson Ann-Margret (as writer Kelly Olsson) makes her entrance in green leather (?) and is mistaken for a model by editor Ric Colby (Tony Franciosa) and crew in director George Sidney's The Swinger, 1966.
Swinger, The - Look Like a Woman Aunt Cora (Nydia Westman) advises Kelly (Ann-Margret) on fashion, leading to a specialty sequence shot at Saks Fifth Avenue, Beverly Hills in director George Sidney's The Swinger, 1966.
Swinger, The - Los Angeles, California! Robert Coote (as "Sir Hubert") narrates from Lawrence Roman's script both a whimsical and visceral conception of Los Angeles in this introductory sequence from George Sidney's sex-comedy The Swinger, 1966.
Swinger, The - Positively Degenerate! Ric (Tony Franciosa) and Sir Hubert (Robert Coote) arrive for a staged decadent dance show featuring Kelly (Ann-Margret) clad mostly in paint in The Swinger, 1966.
Swinger, The - Ruined Virgin Kelly (Ann-Margret) fits in some dancing (choreographed by David Winters) as she prepares to write some steamy fiction in director George Sidney's The Swinger, 1966.

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Release Date
Jan 1966
Premiere Information
New York opening: 14 Dec: Nov 1966
Production Company
Paramount Pictures
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 21m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Technicolor)

Articles

The Gist (The Swinger) - THE GIST


A brash, hyperactive exercise in sexual innuendo and bad taste as well as a sixties pop-art time capsule, The Swinger (1966) is the ultimate Ann-Margret vehicle, one that is destined to kill or cure your infatuation with the Swedish sex kitten who made such a dynamic impact on U.S. screens in Bye, Bye Birdie (1963) and Viva Las Vegas (1964) opposite Elvis Presley. In their third film together, director George Sidney, who guided her through the two latter films, creates a cinematic valentine to his star which has the obsessive quality of a stalker's mash note. The one-joke premise features Ann-Margret as aspiring writer Kelly Olsson (Ann-Margret's real-life last name) who tries to get her stories published in the popular, Playboy-like men's magazine, Girl Allure. When her articles are refused because they are more appropriate for The Ladies' Home Journal, she counters with a scandalous fake "memoir" about herself, borrowing sleazy plotlines and ideas from adult bookstore paperbacks. Entitled The Saga of a Depraved Young Lady, Kelly's book creates a sensation but Girl Allure editor Ric Colby (Tony Franciosa), feeling protective of his new talent and secretly smitten, decides to reform her wicked ways and set her on the path to respectability. It all becomes an endless charade with Kelly and Ric both playing bait and switch tactics that create complications within the Girl Allure corporate office and eventually come to a head at police headquarters where Ric is falsely arrested after a vice squad sting raid.

On the one hand, The Swinger has the feel of a TV sitcom run amok with every stylistic device of sixties cinema tossed at you in rapid succession - speeded-up action and jump cuts a la Richard Lester's A Hard Day's Night (1964), musical montages featuring still photographs, tilted camera angles, an excessive use of the zoom lens, slo-mo used to ironic effect, comical sound effects and nitwit dialogue delivered without the aid of canned laughter. The movie even playfully sabotages its anything-goes groove to stage a tragic ending - Kelly and Ric die in an explosive head-on collision while racing to meet each other - and then, breaking the fourth wall, directly addresses the viewer with a more preferable, happy ending. Yet, for a film proudly named The Swinger, it is anything but. In its attitude and tone, the film reflects an unliberated, pre-sixties attitude toward women and sex which may be more a reflection of the sensibilities of Hollywood veteran George Sidney (he was fifty years old at the time) and screenwriter Lawrence Roman (who adapted the equally witless sex farce, Under the Yum Yum Tree, for the screen in 1963). You know what to expect after the opening moments of the movie when Sir Hubert Charles (Robert Coote), the elderly publisher of Girl Allure magazine, enters an elevator and methodically pinches the buttocks of three female employees, registering disgust when one of them turns around to thank him and reveals herself to be a matronly, middle-aged woman - what a turnoff! The humor continues in that vein with Sir Hubert periodically chasing various secretaries around his desk as part of his daily ritual or Ric going through a frantic set of isometric exercises before leaping into cold water to avoid sexual arousal or Kelly laughing at her own naughtiness as she pens her phony memoirs, visualizing herself losing a strip poker game, wallowing seductively in bed in her heart-shaped, white plastic sunglasses and pouring champagne all over herself.

The film's broad, wink-wink, nudge-nudge approach reduces everything to the level of a crude, leering sex farce and when Sidney has cinematographer Joseph Biroc train his camera on Ann-Margret's undulating breasts, thighs and bottom during a frenzied dance number, the voyeurism crosses over into dirty-old-man territory and is highly recommended for the latter crowd. Critics at the time said as much with The New York Times critic observing, "This blazingly gaudy color picture....is evidently meant to be a put-down of the lurid sex magazines that lead you to believe that the orgy is a way of life in the United States. But in trying to kid this subject in a snappy, sophisticated way, it is even more gooky and tasteless than what it is trying to kid."

As a star vehicle for Ann-Margret, however, The Swinger is a dream come true for fans of the actress, though in the end the result is overkill. She gets to change costumes, hairstyles, makeup and expressions every few seconds and during her musical numbers, she appears to be accompanied by a wind machine which lightly musses her hair, even during the "I Wanna Be Loved" number, which begins with her singing in bed in a prone position. There is also ample proof of the actress's love for motorcycles on display and an eye-popping paint orgy sequence, prefiguring her chocolate/baked beans/soap suds emulsification in Tommy (1975), where she is rolled and dragged through buckets of multi-colored paint in the manner of a human paint brush. On top of these riches are two elaborate, over-the-top montages, composed of still photographs, that allow Sidney to showcase the many sides of his vivacious star attraction, preening for the camera in a wide variety of poses and situations that are often ill-judged, unflattering and clearly the result of a director who has lost all objectivity in his attempts to deify his star.

Despite a cast of familiar supporting players and character actors in The Swinger, most have appeared to better advantage in other films, especially Robert Coote, at one time a well-regarded stage actor whose performance here as Sir Hubert is a constant embarrassment. As for Ann-Margret's leading man, Tony Franciosa, he is much better known as a dramatic actor and not as a light farceur. After all, he was a former Actors Studio graduate who was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar® for A Hatful of Rain [1957] and appeared to impressive effect in Elia Kazan's A Face in the Crowd [1957] and opposite Orson Welles, Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward in The Long, Hot Summer [1958]. Watching him scurry about in a desperate attempt to wring laughs from his pratfalls and slapstick routines with Ann-Margret (the mutual shower scene, in particular) are particularly painful to behold but for some it will qualify as a guilty pleasure. In fact, The Swinger achieves such levels of awfulness at times that it is truly stultifying and demands to be seen. If nothing else, you owe it to yourself to watch the opening set piece which succinctly sums up Ann-Margret's unique appeal - at least for George Sidney. It is the perfect pre-MTV music video and expect it to show up on YouTube within minutes of TCM's broadcast of The Swinger.

TCM will be broadcasting the U.S. release version of The Swinger. The International release version was longer and included extended scenes of Ann-Margret's strip tease and the "I Wanna Be Loved" number. If the International release version is available, TCM will air that version instead.

Producer: George Sidney
Director: George Sidney
Screenplay: Lawrence Roman
Cinematography: Joseph F. Biroc
Art Direction: Hal Pereira, Walter H. Tyler
Music: Marty Paich
Film Editing: Frank Santillo
Cast: Ann-Margret (Kelly Olsson), Tony Franciosa (Ric Colby), Robert Coote (Sir Hubert Charles), Yvonne Romain (Karen Charles), Horace McMahon (Detective Sergeant Hooker), Nydia Westman (Aunt Cora), Craig Hill (Jenkins, Sammy), Milton Frome (Mr. Olsson), Mary LaRoche (Mrs. Olsson), Clete Roberts (Clete Roberts), Myrna Ross (Sally).
C-81m.

by Jeff Stafford
The Gist (The Swinger) - The Gist

The Gist (The Swinger) - THE GIST

A brash, hyperactive exercise in sexual innuendo and bad taste as well as a sixties pop-art time capsule, The Swinger (1966) is the ultimate Ann-Margret vehicle, one that is destined to kill or cure your infatuation with the Swedish sex kitten who made such a dynamic impact on U.S. screens in Bye, Bye Birdie (1963) and Viva Las Vegas (1964) opposite Elvis Presley. In their third film together, director George Sidney, who guided her through the two latter films, creates a cinematic valentine to his star which has the obsessive quality of a stalker's mash note. The one-joke premise features Ann-Margret as aspiring writer Kelly Olsson (Ann-Margret's real-life last name) who tries to get her stories published in the popular, Playboy-like men's magazine, Girl Allure. When her articles are refused because they are more appropriate for The Ladies' Home Journal, she counters with a scandalous fake "memoir" about herself, borrowing sleazy plotlines and ideas from adult bookstore paperbacks. Entitled The Saga of a Depraved Young Lady, Kelly's book creates a sensation but Girl Allure editor Ric Colby (Tony Franciosa), feeling protective of his new talent and secretly smitten, decides to reform her wicked ways and set her on the path to respectability. It all becomes an endless charade with Kelly and Ric both playing bait and switch tactics that create complications within the Girl Allure corporate office and eventually come to a head at police headquarters where Ric is falsely arrested after a vice squad sting raid. On the one hand, The Swinger has the feel of a TV sitcom run amok with every stylistic device of sixties cinema tossed at you in rapid succession - speeded-up action and jump cuts a la Richard Lester's A Hard Day's Night (1964), musical montages featuring still photographs, tilted camera angles, an excessive use of the zoom lens, slo-mo used to ironic effect, comical sound effects and nitwit dialogue delivered without the aid of canned laughter. The movie even playfully sabotages its anything-goes groove to stage a tragic ending - Kelly and Ric die in an explosive head-on collision while racing to meet each other - and then, breaking the fourth wall, directly addresses the viewer with a more preferable, happy ending. Yet, for a film proudly named The Swinger, it is anything but. In its attitude and tone, the film reflects an unliberated, pre-sixties attitude toward women and sex which may be more a reflection of the sensibilities of Hollywood veteran George Sidney (he was fifty years old at the time) and screenwriter Lawrence Roman (who adapted the equally witless sex farce, Under the Yum Yum Tree, for the screen in 1963). You know what to expect after the opening moments of the movie when Sir Hubert Charles (Robert Coote), the elderly publisher of Girl Allure magazine, enters an elevator and methodically pinches the buttocks of three female employees, registering disgust when one of them turns around to thank him and reveals herself to be a matronly, middle-aged woman - what a turnoff! The humor continues in that vein with Sir Hubert periodically chasing various secretaries around his desk as part of his daily ritual or Ric going through a frantic set of isometric exercises before leaping into cold water to avoid sexual arousal or Kelly laughing at her own naughtiness as she pens her phony memoirs, visualizing herself losing a strip poker game, wallowing seductively in bed in her heart-shaped, white plastic sunglasses and pouring champagne all over herself. The film's broad, wink-wink, nudge-nudge approach reduces everything to the level of a crude, leering sex farce and when Sidney has cinematographer Joseph Biroc train his camera on Ann-Margret's undulating breasts, thighs and bottom during a frenzied dance number, the voyeurism crosses over into dirty-old-man territory and is highly recommended for the latter crowd. Critics at the time said as much with The New York Times critic observing, "This blazingly gaudy color picture....is evidently meant to be a put-down of the lurid sex magazines that lead you to believe that the orgy is a way of life in the United States. But in trying to kid this subject in a snappy, sophisticated way, it is even more gooky and tasteless than what it is trying to kid." As a star vehicle for Ann-Margret, however, The Swinger is a dream come true for fans of the actress, though in the end the result is overkill. She gets to change costumes, hairstyles, makeup and expressions every few seconds and during her musical numbers, she appears to be accompanied by a wind machine which lightly musses her hair, even during the "I Wanna Be Loved" number, which begins with her singing in bed in a prone position. There is also ample proof of the actress's love for motorcycles on display and an eye-popping paint orgy sequence, prefiguring her chocolate/baked beans/soap suds emulsification in Tommy (1975), where she is rolled and dragged through buckets of multi-colored paint in the manner of a human paint brush. On top of these riches are two elaborate, over-the-top montages, composed of still photographs, that allow Sidney to showcase the many sides of his vivacious star attraction, preening for the camera in a wide variety of poses and situations that are often ill-judged, unflattering and clearly the result of a director who has lost all objectivity in his attempts to deify his star. Despite a cast of familiar supporting players and character actors in The Swinger, most have appeared to better advantage in other films, especially Robert Coote, at one time a well-regarded stage actor whose performance here as Sir Hubert is a constant embarrassment. As for Ann-Margret's leading man, Tony Franciosa, he is much better known as a dramatic actor and not as a light farceur. After all, he was a former Actors Studio graduate who was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar® for A Hatful of Rain [1957] and appeared to impressive effect in Elia Kazan's A Face in the Crowd [1957] and opposite Orson Welles, Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward in The Long, Hot Summer [1958]. Watching him scurry about in a desperate attempt to wring laughs from his pratfalls and slapstick routines with Ann-Margret (the mutual shower scene, in particular) are particularly painful to behold but for some it will qualify as a guilty pleasure. In fact, The Swinger achieves such levels of awfulness at times that it is truly stultifying and demands to be seen. If nothing else, you owe it to yourself to watch the opening set piece which succinctly sums up Ann-Margret's unique appeal - at least for George Sidney. It is the perfect pre-MTV music video and expect it to show up on YouTube within minutes of TCM's broadcast of The Swinger. TCM will be broadcasting the U.S. release version of The Swinger. The International release version was longer and included extended scenes of Ann-Margret's strip tease and the "I Wanna Be Loved" number. If the International release version is available, TCM will air that version instead. Producer: George Sidney Director: George Sidney Screenplay: Lawrence Roman Cinematography: Joseph F. Biroc Art Direction: Hal Pereira, Walter H. Tyler Music: Marty Paich Film Editing: Frank Santillo Cast: Ann-Margret (Kelly Olsson), Tony Franciosa (Ric Colby), Robert Coote (Sir Hubert Charles), Yvonne Romain (Karen Charles), Horace McMahon (Detective Sergeant Hooker), Nydia Westman (Aunt Cora), Craig Hill (Jenkins, Sammy), Milton Frome (Mr. Olsson), Mary LaRoche (Mrs. Olsson), Clete Roberts (Clete Roberts), Myrna Ross (Sally). C-81m. by Jeff Stafford

Insider Info (The Swinger) - BEHIND THE SCENES


Ann-Margret had just completed filming a remake of Stagecoach in Colorado when she returned to Los Angeles to shoot The Swinger.

The Swinger was filmed in and around Los Angeles with locations on Mulholland Drive, the Sunset Strip (there is a brief shot of the Whiskey A-Go-Go), and Malibu.

In The Swinger, Ann-Margret rode a 500cc Triumph T100C Tiger motorcycle and used the same model fitted with a non-standard electric starter in her stage shows. The actress was also featured in Triumph Motorcycles' official advertisements during the sixties due to her well-known love of the brand.

According to Ann-Margret in her autobiography, The Swinger was intended as "a send-up of the psychedelic sixties." She also noted, "It proved to be some of the most fun I'd had on a movie set in a long time, even when I was reprimanded again by the studio execs for riding my motorcycle on the lot. But Roger [Smith] solved the problem by surprising me with a custom-made gold-leaded golf cart with my signature on the front. I tooled around the lot just fine, and everyone had time to get out of the way. When the movie wrapped, I hoped that my career was again getting "hot." Theatres were showing Once a Thief [1965] and doing respectable business. The Cincinnati Kid [1965] premiered lavishly in New Orleans to good reviews. Made in Paris [1966] was due out Thanksgiving. The Motion Picture Exhibitors of America honored me as their "Star of the Year.""

In the pre-title musical sequence for The Swinger, Ann-Margret directly addresses the camera as she had in her pre-credit opening to Bye Bye Birdie (1963), also directed by George Sidney. Instead of advancing and retreating on an unseen treadmill as in the later film, however, she is photographed against moving, multi-shaped white cut-outs and black borders. A wind machine, a swing and a trampoline were also employed to eye-catching effect.

Sidney provides Ann-Margret with a mix of the old and new in terms of musical selections in The Swinger. The aforementioned "Swinger Theme" was a new composition by Andre Previn with lyrics by his wife Dory. Among the classic standards are "That Old Black Magic" by Johnny Mercer and Harold Arlen which Kelly (Ann-Margret) performs as a half-hearted strip tease (which was severely edited for the U.S. release version - here is a link to the uncut version - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ncAzW535amk) and "I Wanna Be Loved" (by Billy Rose, Edward Heyman and Johnny Green), performed as a bedtime seduction song by Kelly to Ric (Anthony Franciosa); this was another sequence which was severely cut for the U.S. release version. An instrumental version of Rodgers and Hart's "Lover" accompanies the fashion show photographic still sequence.

The pop-art paint orgy sequence in which Ann-Margret becomes a human paint brush, being slung and rolled around a huge floor canvas, prefigures her equally viscous gyrations in Ken Russell's film version of The Who's rock opera, Tommy (1975). In that film, she was covered with a shower of chocolate, baked beans and soap suds that erupted from a television screen.

by Jeff Stafford

SOURCES:
Ann-Margret: My Story by Ann-Margret with Todd Gold, G.P. Putnam's Sons
George Sidney: A Bio-Bibliography by Eric Monder, Greenwood Press
Filmfacts
IMDB

Insider Info (The Swinger) - BEHIND THE SCENES

Ann-Margret had just completed filming a remake of Stagecoach in Colorado when she returned to Los Angeles to shoot The Swinger. The Swinger was filmed in and around Los Angeles with locations on Mulholland Drive, the Sunset Strip (there is a brief shot of the Whiskey A-Go-Go), and Malibu. In The Swinger, Ann-Margret rode a 500cc Triumph T100C Tiger motorcycle and used the same model fitted with a non-standard electric starter in her stage shows. The actress was also featured in Triumph Motorcycles' official advertisements during the sixties due to her well-known love of the brand. According to Ann-Margret in her autobiography, The Swinger was intended as "a send-up of the psychedelic sixties." She also noted, "It proved to be some of the most fun I'd had on a movie set in a long time, even when I was reprimanded again by the studio execs for riding my motorcycle on the lot. But Roger [Smith] solved the problem by surprising me with a custom-made gold-leaded golf cart with my signature on the front. I tooled around the lot just fine, and everyone had time to get out of the way. When the movie wrapped, I hoped that my career was again getting "hot." Theatres were showing Once a Thief [1965] and doing respectable business. The Cincinnati Kid [1965] premiered lavishly in New Orleans to good reviews. Made in Paris [1966] was due out Thanksgiving. The Motion Picture Exhibitors of America honored me as their "Star of the Year."" In the pre-title musical sequence for The Swinger, Ann-Margret directly addresses the camera as she had in her pre-credit opening to Bye Bye Birdie (1963), also directed by George Sidney. Instead of advancing and retreating on an unseen treadmill as in the later film, however, she is photographed against moving, multi-shaped white cut-outs and black borders. A wind machine, a swing and a trampoline were also employed to eye-catching effect. Sidney provides Ann-Margret with a mix of the old and new in terms of musical selections in The Swinger. The aforementioned "Swinger Theme" was a new composition by Andre Previn with lyrics by his wife Dory. Among the classic standards are "That Old Black Magic" by Johnny Mercer and Harold Arlen which Kelly (Ann-Margret) performs as a half-hearted strip tease (which was severely edited for the U.S. release version - here is a link to the uncut version - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ncAzW535amk) and "I Wanna Be Loved" (by Billy Rose, Edward Heyman and Johnny Green), performed as a bedtime seduction song by Kelly to Ric (Anthony Franciosa); this was another sequence which was severely cut for the U.S. release version. An instrumental version of Rodgers and Hart's "Lover" accompanies the fashion show photographic still sequence. The pop-art paint orgy sequence in which Ann-Margret becomes a human paint brush, being slung and rolled around a huge floor canvas, prefigures her equally viscous gyrations in Ken Russell's film version of The Who's rock opera, Tommy (1975). In that film, she was covered with a shower of chocolate, baked beans and soap suds that erupted from a television screen. by Jeff Stafford SOURCES: Ann-Margret: My Story by Ann-Margret with Todd Gold, G.P. Putnam's Sons George Sidney: A Bio-Bibliography by Eric Monder, Greenwood Press Filmfacts IMDB

In the Know (The Swinger) - TRIVIA


The Swinger marked Ann-Margret's third film with director George Sidney. He had become so enamored of her talent in their first film together, Bye Bye Birdie (1963), that he went back in after production on that feature to design and shoot a new opening and closing as a musical framing device for the movie that showcased the actress.

Janet Leigh, who had a supporting role in Bye Bye Birdie and had once previously enjoyed a close working relationship with Sidney, felt totally ignored by him during production on Birdie due to his infatuation with Ann-Margret. Instead of it being a collaborative experience, it became "The Ann-Margret Show."

Sidney's infatuation with Ann-Margret continued with the 1964 musical romance, Viva Las Vegas, in which the Swedish sex kitten was cast opposite rock 'n roll legend, Elvis Presley. Some publicists began calling Ann-Margret "the female Elvis" based on her electrifying presence in that film which may have been helped by her behind-the-scenes romance with the King. The result was probably the best of the later day Elvis pictures and provided a dynamic showcase for Ann-Margret.

The Swinger, Ann-Margret's final film with Sidney, was obviously designed as a star vehicle for the actress with her appearing in almost every scene. The pseudo-naughty premise was simply an excuse to showcase Ann-Margret as some hipster diva in a variety of outlandish costumes, ever-changing makeup and hair styles as well as some visually innovative musical/dance numbers. In the course of the film, Sidney also created two photo montages which capture a range of the actress's emotional moods from mischievous to saucy to provocative to silly.

The Swinger and the Matt Helm spy spoof Murderers' Row, starring Dean Martin, were both released in December of 1966 which marked the peak year of Ann-Margret's popularity. Her brief sojourn to Italy where she made three features inadvertently stalled her movie career in America and subsequent vehicles such as R.P.M. and C.C. and Company (both 1970) were not commercial successes. It wasn't until she appeared in Mike Nichols' Carnal Knowledge in 1971 that she began to be treated seriously as an actress by film critics though, with the exception of Tommy (1975), she was no longer a guaranteed box office draw.

In March of 1966, Ann-Margret began a USO tour of Viet Nam, performing for U.S. troops stationed at bases around Da Nang, Phu Bai, Chu Lai and Saigon. "One night," she recalled, "our helicopter was shot at going into Phu Bai. I remember the soldiers bunching against me like a human shield. This was exactly Roger's concern [Actor and producer Roger Smith was her husband]. But I didn't feel concerned about my safety. I was on a mission. I performed in black tights, a turtleneck sweater from The Swinger, and high-heeled leather boots. Not the best outfit to wear in the 100-degree-plus jungle heat, but I wanted to look glamorous for the soldiers. The shows left me a sight - drenched in perspiration and my makeup dripping - but afterward the guys still crowded around, talking or asking me to sign a photograph."

In some ways, The Swinger is a throwback to such screwball comedies as Theodora Goes Wild [1936] but updated to reflect sixties pop culture. In the later film, Irene Dunne played a demure, smalltown writer who scores a success with a scandalous bestseller and pretends to have modeled her naughty heroine on herself. The Swinger also pays homage to Pygmalion when Girl Allure editor Ric Colby (Tony Franciosa) tries to transform Kelly's bad girl image to one of respectability.

During a montage of strip clubs, adult book stores and X-rated cinemas in The Swinger, you can spot a brief glimpse of the film poster for The Erotic Touch of Hot Skin, a soft-core French exploitation film which was originally titled La Baie du desir and was distributed in the U.S. by Audubon Films, the same company which released such well-known Radley Metzger films as Carmen, Baby (1967) and Therese and Isabelle (1968).

Robert Coote, who plays Sir Hubert in The Swinger, had worked with George Sidney many times (The Three Musketeers [1948], The Red Danube [1949], Scaramouche [1952]) during the director's heyday at MGM. Although you wouldn't know it from his broad, smarmy performance as Sir Hubert, Coote had been a celebrated stage actor of some renown and was the son of Bert Coote, author of the popular children's play, The Windmill Man.

Cinematographer Joseph Biroc had worked with George Sidney on all three of his Ann-Margret features as well as another film starring the actress, Kitten with a Whip [1964], which was directed by Douglas Heyes. A two-time Oscar® nominee (he won for his work on The Towering Inferno, 1974), Biroc also worked often with directors Robert Aldrich and Sam Fuller during his career.

Yvonne Romain, cast in the thankless role of Tony Franciosa's high brow fiancée in The Swinger, is a familiar face to Hammer Film fans, having appeared in The Curse of the Werewolf [1961], Night Creatures [1962, aka Captain Clegg], The Brigand of Kandahar [1965] and other British thrillers such as Circus of Horrors [1960].

In the cameo role of strip club owner Blossom LaTour in The Swinger, you'll notice Barbara Nichols, who specialized in blonde bimbo and golddigger types. A former burlesque dancer and model from Queens, New York, she is probably best known for her roles in Pal Joey, Sweet Smell of Success and The Pajama Game [all 1957].

Paramount Pictures obviously had little faith in The Swinger's box office potential since they released it in some markets as a double feature with Curse of the Voodoo, a low-budget British horror film.

by Jeff Stafford

SOURCES:
Ann-Margret: My Story by Ann-Margret with Todd Gold, G.P. Putnam's Sons
George Sidney: A Bio-Bibliography by Eric Monder, Greenwood Press
Filmfacts
IMDB

In the Know (The Swinger) - TRIVIA

The Swinger marked Ann-Margret's third film with director George Sidney. He had become so enamored of her talent in their first film together, Bye Bye Birdie (1963), that he went back in after production on that feature to design and shoot a new opening and closing as a musical framing device for the movie that showcased the actress. Janet Leigh, who had a supporting role in Bye Bye Birdie and had once previously enjoyed a close working relationship with Sidney, felt totally ignored by him during production on Birdie due to his infatuation with Ann-Margret. Instead of it being a collaborative experience, it became "The Ann-Margret Show." Sidney's infatuation with Ann-Margret continued with the 1964 musical romance, Viva Las Vegas, in which the Swedish sex kitten was cast opposite rock 'n roll legend, Elvis Presley. Some publicists began calling Ann-Margret "the female Elvis" based on her electrifying presence in that film which may have been helped by her behind-the-scenes romance with the King. The result was probably the best of the later day Elvis pictures and provided a dynamic showcase for Ann-Margret. The Swinger, Ann-Margret's final film with Sidney, was obviously designed as a star vehicle for the actress with her appearing in almost every scene. The pseudo-naughty premise was simply an excuse to showcase Ann-Margret as some hipster diva in a variety of outlandish costumes, ever-changing makeup and hair styles as well as some visually innovative musical/dance numbers. In the course of the film, Sidney also created two photo montages which capture a range of the actress's emotional moods from mischievous to saucy to provocative to silly. The Swinger and the Matt Helm spy spoof Murderers' Row, starring Dean Martin, were both released in December of 1966 which marked the peak year of Ann-Margret's popularity. Her brief sojourn to Italy where she made three features inadvertently stalled her movie career in America and subsequent vehicles such as R.P.M. and C.C. and Company (both 1970) were not commercial successes. It wasn't until she appeared in Mike Nichols' Carnal Knowledge in 1971 that she began to be treated seriously as an actress by film critics though, with the exception of Tommy (1975), she was no longer a guaranteed box office draw. In March of 1966, Ann-Margret began a USO tour of Viet Nam, performing for U.S. troops stationed at bases around Da Nang, Phu Bai, Chu Lai and Saigon. "One night," she recalled, "our helicopter was shot at going into Phu Bai. I remember the soldiers bunching against me like a human shield. This was exactly Roger's concern [Actor and producer Roger Smith was her husband]. But I didn't feel concerned about my safety. I was on a mission. I performed in black tights, a turtleneck sweater from The Swinger, and high-heeled leather boots. Not the best outfit to wear in the 100-degree-plus jungle heat, but I wanted to look glamorous for the soldiers. The shows left me a sight - drenched in perspiration and my makeup dripping - but afterward the guys still crowded around, talking or asking me to sign a photograph." In some ways, The Swinger is a throwback to such screwball comedies as Theodora Goes Wild [1936] but updated to reflect sixties pop culture. In the later film, Irene Dunne played a demure, smalltown writer who scores a success with a scandalous bestseller and pretends to have modeled her naughty heroine on herself. The Swinger also pays homage to Pygmalion when Girl Allure editor Ric Colby (Tony Franciosa) tries to transform Kelly's bad girl image to one of respectability. During a montage of strip clubs, adult book stores and X-rated cinemas in The Swinger, you can spot a brief glimpse of the film poster for The Erotic Touch of Hot Skin, a soft-core French exploitation film which was originally titled La Baie du desir and was distributed in the U.S. by Audubon Films, the same company which released such well-known Radley Metzger films as Carmen, Baby (1967) and Therese and Isabelle (1968). Robert Coote, who plays Sir Hubert in The Swinger, had worked with George Sidney many times (The Three Musketeers [1948], The Red Danube [1949], Scaramouche [1952]) during the director's heyday at MGM. Although you wouldn't know it from his broad, smarmy performance as Sir Hubert, Coote had been a celebrated stage actor of some renown and was the son of Bert Coote, author of the popular children's play, The Windmill Man. Cinematographer Joseph Biroc had worked with George Sidney on all three of his Ann-Margret features as well as another film starring the actress, Kitten with a Whip [1964], which was directed by Douglas Heyes. A two-time Oscar® nominee (he won for his work on The Towering Inferno, 1974), Biroc also worked often with directors Robert Aldrich and Sam Fuller during his career. Yvonne Romain, cast in the thankless role of Tony Franciosa's high brow fiancée in The Swinger, is a familiar face to Hammer Film fans, having appeared in The Curse of the Werewolf [1961], Night Creatures [1962, aka Captain Clegg], The Brigand of Kandahar [1965] and other British thrillers such as Circus of Horrors [1960]. In the cameo role of strip club owner Blossom LaTour in The Swinger, you'll notice Barbara Nichols, who specialized in blonde bimbo and golddigger types. A former burlesque dancer and model from Queens, New York, she is probably best known for her roles in Pal Joey, Sweet Smell of Success and The Pajama Game [all 1957]. Paramount Pictures obviously had little faith in The Swinger's box office potential since they released it in some markets as a double feature with Curse of the Voodoo, a low-budget British horror film. by Jeff Stafford SOURCES: Ann-Margret: My Story by Ann-Margret with Todd Gold, G.P. Putnam's Sons George Sidney: A Bio-Bibliography by Eric Monder, Greenwood Press Filmfacts IMDB

Yea or Nay (The Swinger) - CRITIC REVIEWS OF "THE SWINGER"


"I STARTED to say The Swinger, with Ann-Margret, has a good idea, but, on thinking it over for 30 seconds, I can't even give it that. This blazingly gaudy color picture, which opened in neighborhood theaters yesterday, is evidently meant to be a put-down of the lurid sex magazines that lead you to believe that the orgy is a way of life in the United States. But in trying to kid this subject in a snappy, sophisticated way, it is even more gooky and tasteless than what it is trying to kid...George Sidney, the producer-director, has tried to disguise this trash with a lot of splashy production and mechanical trick-camera work. But he can't conceal cheapness and a lack of talent. Sample of the wit: the chief of the vice squad is Sergeant Hooker. So that is what swinging is!"
- Bosley Crowther, The New York Times

"The Swinger is a very amusing original screen comedy which satirizes nudie books and magazines...Ann-Margaret's best screen work derives from [George] Sidney's direction, which herein spotlights her singing-dancing talents...David Winters choreographed the terp sequences, one of which is a rather sexy bit in which Ann-Margret, in a fake orgy, rolls about on canvas with her body covered with paint."
- Variety

"If there's gold in unwholesomeness, this raucous and raunchy little movie ought to make a mint from the strong-stomach crowd at least...Disguised as a morality tale for teen-agers, it's actually a monster movie. The monsters include Ann-Margret, a pale-faced creature with streaming red hair and over-inflated mammary glands who emits strange sounds through her nose; Tony Franciosa, a former actor (distinguished by lots of teeth and a cleft chin that might grow up to match Kirk Douglas's) who has been transformed into a satyr, and Robert Coote, another erstwhile actor, who has been transformed into a dirty old man."
- Judith Crist, N.Y. World Journal Tribune

"A hectically saucy mixture of lechery, depravity, perversion, voyeurism and girlie magazines...a heavy witless pudding."
- MFB (Monthly Film Bulletin)

"A witless comedy...insufferably cute."
- Wanda Hale, New York Daily News

"The constant fizzing of lights, color and costume finally wears you down like fireworks if you're too close to them...the picture conquers all and it's pure disaster as entertainment."
- Archer Winston, New York Post

"There are parts of The Swinger that are so bad they are funny; other parts so bad they are awful....Franciosa seems stunned by it all. Ann-Margret's performance is like all the others she has turned out- that of a femme fatale leaning heavily on obvious sex appeal, clenched teeth, languorous eyes and skimpy costumes. It's more a science than an art by now."
- Toni Mastroiannio, Cleveland Press

"It's hard not to love The Swinger, since it's proof positive that Elvis Presley didn't make the worst movies in Hollywood history--Ann-Margret did. In fact, The Swinger just might be the tackiest major studio movie ever made: the opening voice-over features a narrator who belches not once but three times."
- Kevin Hennessey, Movieline

"This film is a humorous satire against overly sex-oriented culture. Ann-Margret is good in a role that takes advantage of her bombshell image. The script also satirizes what that image represents."
- TV Guide

"Brassy, artificial yarn..."
- Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide

"One of the reasons The Swinger is such an adorably awful piece of cinema trash is that it tries so very hard to be "hip" and fails at nearly every turn....With its crazy costumes, wacky musical interludes and faux bohemian concepts, The Swinger is a star vehicle that features everything a bad movie aficionado could ask for. And when Ann-Margret is added to the mix, that's when a movie like The Swinger truly becomes a slice of bad movie heaven."
- Cool Cinema Trash, http://www.coolcinematrash.com/movies/swinger.htm

Yea or Nay (The Swinger) - CRITIC REVIEWS OF "THE SWINGER"

"I STARTED to say The Swinger, with Ann-Margret, has a good idea, but, on thinking it over for 30 seconds, I can't even give it that. This blazingly gaudy color picture, which opened in neighborhood theaters yesterday, is evidently meant to be a put-down of the lurid sex magazines that lead you to believe that the orgy is a way of life in the United States. But in trying to kid this subject in a snappy, sophisticated way, it is even more gooky and tasteless than what it is trying to kid...George Sidney, the producer-director, has tried to disguise this trash with a lot of splashy production and mechanical trick-camera work. But he can't conceal cheapness and a lack of talent. Sample of the wit: the chief of the vice squad is Sergeant Hooker. So that is what swinging is!" - Bosley Crowther, The New York Times "The Swinger is a very amusing original screen comedy which satirizes nudie books and magazines...Ann-Margaret's best screen work derives from [George] Sidney's direction, which herein spotlights her singing-dancing talents...David Winters choreographed the terp sequences, one of which is a rather sexy bit in which Ann-Margret, in a fake orgy, rolls about on canvas with her body covered with paint." - Variety "If there's gold in unwholesomeness, this raucous and raunchy little movie ought to make a mint from the strong-stomach crowd at least...Disguised as a morality tale for teen-agers, it's actually a monster movie. The monsters include Ann-Margret, a pale-faced creature with streaming red hair and over-inflated mammary glands who emits strange sounds through her nose; Tony Franciosa, a former actor (distinguished by lots of teeth and a cleft chin that might grow up to match Kirk Douglas's) who has been transformed into a satyr, and Robert Coote, another erstwhile actor, who has been transformed into a dirty old man." - Judith Crist, N.Y. World Journal Tribune "A hectically saucy mixture of lechery, depravity, perversion, voyeurism and girlie magazines...a heavy witless pudding." - MFB (Monthly Film Bulletin) "A witless comedy...insufferably cute." - Wanda Hale, New York Daily News "The constant fizzing of lights, color and costume finally wears you down like fireworks if you're too close to them...the picture conquers all and it's pure disaster as entertainment." - Archer Winston, New York Post "There are parts of The Swinger that are so bad they are funny; other parts so bad they are awful....Franciosa seems stunned by it all. Ann-Margret's performance is like all the others she has turned out- that of a femme fatale leaning heavily on obvious sex appeal, clenched teeth, languorous eyes and skimpy costumes. It's more a science than an art by now." - Toni Mastroiannio, Cleveland Press "It's hard not to love The Swinger, since it's proof positive that Elvis Presley didn't make the worst movies in Hollywood history--Ann-Margret did. In fact, The Swinger just might be the tackiest major studio movie ever made: the opening voice-over features a narrator who belches not once but three times." - Kevin Hennessey, Movieline "This film is a humorous satire against overly sex-oriented culture. Ann-Margret is good in a role that takes advantage of her bombshell image. The script also satirizes what that image represents." - TV Guide "Brassy, artificial yarn..." - Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide "One of the reasons The Swinger is such an adorably awful piece of cinema trash is that it tries so very hard to be "hip" and fails at nearly every turn....With its crazy costumes, wacky musical interludes and faux bohemian concepts, The Swinger is a star vehicle that features everything a bad movie aficionado could ask for. And when Ann-Margret is added to the mix, that's when a movie like The Swinger truly becomes a slice of bad movie heaven." - Cool Cinema Trash, http://www.coolcinematrash.com/movies/swinger.htm

Quote It (The Swinger) - QUOTES FROM "THE SWINGER"


Sir Hubert (Robert Coote): "L.A. is known as the friendly city. Always welcoming guests into its friendly bosom."

Ric (Anthony Franciosa): "You know, even for a girlie magazine, there's such a thing as good taste."
Sir Hubert: "My dear fellow, one seldom gets rich from being wholesome you know."
Ric: "Well, you've got the touch, Sir Hubert. You're one of the most unwholesome men around."

Kelly (Ann-Margret): I'm not a nudie, I'm a writer!"

Kelly: "I came in to show my stories and the next thing I know he's taking my clothes off."

Kelly: "You know there's a lot more to people than sex glands."

Kelly: "They want sex? They'll get it. I'll take the best of the paperbacks. No, I mean the worst."

Kelly: "Man, what a pad! We could really tear this place up."

Sir Hubert: "When it comes to women, Sir Hubert is an empty barrel."

Kelly: "When I get tired, I get stimulated, baby."

Sir Hubert: "If there is such a thing as public decency, nobody has yet found out exactly what is it."

Detective Hooker (Horace McMahon): "Smut with those guys is a way of life."

Quote It (The Swinger) - QUOTES FROM "THE SWINGER"

Sir Hubert (Robert Coote): "L.A. is known as the friendly city. Always welcoming guests into its friendly bosom." Ric (Anthony Franciosa): "You know, even for a girlie magazine, there's such a thing as good taste." Sir Hubert: "My dear fellow, one seldom gets rich from being wholesome you know." Ric: "Well, you've got the touch, Sir Hubert. You're one of the most unwholesome men around." Kelly (Ann-Margret): I'm not a nudie, I'm a writer!" Kelly: "I came in to show my stories and the next thing I know he's taking my clothes off." Kelly: "You know there's a lot more to people than sex glands." Kelly: "They want sex? They'll get it. I'll take the best of the paperbacks. No, I mean the worst." Kelly: "Man, what a pad! We could really tear this place up." Sir Hubert: "When it comes to women, Sir Hubert is an empty barrel." Kelly: "When I get tired, I get stimulated, baby." Sir Hubert: "If there is such a thing as public decency, nobody has yet found out exactly what is it." Detective Hooker (Horace McMahon): "Smut with those guys is a way of life."

Quotes

Sir Hubert doesn't like a challenge! Sir Hubert likes a sure thing!
- Sir Hubert Charles

Trivia

Notes

Location scenes filmed in Los Angeles. Fashion montage photographed at Saks Fifth Avenue, Beverly Hills.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Fall November 1966

Released in United States Fall November 1966