Ann-Margret is an actress who continues to impress me. Whether she’s upstaging Elvis in Viva Las Vegas or rolling around in baked beans in Tommy, she brings incredible energy to each film she’s in. I won’t claim that every movie she’s been in is a classic, but her presence always makes things interesting. The 60’s is an especially interesting time for her career, which brings us to her lead role in this 1966 romantic comedy, Made in Paris.
Margret plays Maggie Scott, an assistant buyer for a big clothing store in New York. She has worked her way up from model, to sales clerk, to assistant buyer, and has now caught the eye of the son of the store’s owner, Ted Barclay (Chad Everett). Unfortunately, Maggie’s first date with Ted turns out disastrous when he gets a bit too frisky and she clocks him in the head with a jar. Lucky for Maggie, this doesn’t stop Ted from recommending her to head up the important Paris buying trip when the head buyer, Irene (Edie Adams), decides to run off and get married.
Maggie is told that one designer in particular, Marc Fontaine (Louis Jourdan) requires special attention. What she doesn’t realize is that means that he shacks up with Irene in the company apartment when she visits. This catches Maggie off-guard when he lets himself into the apartment and tries to get into bed with her. Both parties get a bit irritated with each other and Maggie is in danger of losing the Fontaine account. Before long, though, she begins a relationship with the handsome designer. Then, wouldn’t you know it, Ted shows up in Paris to check on things and a love triangle begins.
As I said earlier, Ann-Margret is a favorite of mine and she doesn’t disappoint in this film. She’s like a force of nature as she barrells through this film. A perfect example of this is the nightclub scene where she takes to the dance floor in an attempt to catch Jourdan’s attention. It’s a powerhouse moment, right up there with some of her famous dance sequences from films like Bye Bye Birdie and Viva Las Vegas. She has an ability to mix sweet and sexy like few other actresses.
The rest of the cast does a solid job, as well. I’m not sure that Jourdan nails the fashion designer vibe, but if you’re looking for a smooth, handsome, frenchman…he nails it. “Smooth, handsome, frenchman” pretty much describes Jordan offscreen, as well…so he’d better nail it. Also a treat is Richard Crenna playing an American reporter, and an old friend of Ted’s, given the task of looking after Maggie in Paris. His looks of exasperation as he tries to keep up with this red-headed fireball are classic.
The cast certainly gives it all they’ve got, so I’m a bit baffled that the film ends up being so flat. The seeds for something much sexier and scandalous are there, but for some reason the filmmakers just don’t go far enough. One of the most salacious aspects of the story is abandoned quite quickly…that being the fact that Jourdan’s character likes to shack up with the female buyers sent to fill their stores with his designs. I wanted to know how many other buyers he meets up with their company apartments!
Made in Paris has so much going for it. Margret, Jourdan, and Crenna are all fun, but sadly the story is…well…boring. Ann-Margret’s showstopping dance number is really the only thing that gives the film enough energy to see it through to the end.