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Ann-Margret --> "The Girlfriend Who Isn't One!" (April 1964)

Sun Mar 04, 2012 9:35 am

Found a curious Swedish magazine article from 1964, when Presley paramour Ann-Margret was busy filming "Kitten With A Whip" for Universal.

640400_Kitten With a Whip still.jpg
Ann-Margret, "Kitten With A Whip (Universal, 1964)


I cleaned the translation up a bit.

One may read about how close Elvis and Ann-Margret really were, and how much Tom Parker worked to ruin her contributions to Elvis' finest '60s flick, "Viva Las Vegas," which was about to be released by MGM.


640407_Hennes_cover.jpg
Hennes (Sweden) #15, April 7, 1964

The Girlfriend Who Isn't One!
By Micke Digby

Ann-Margret is engaged to Elvis - Ann-Margret isn't engaged to Elvis! Well, how is it? Read all about how it really is with the world's most popular girlfriend of recent years

Ann-Margret was walking, dead-tired, towards her trailer on the movie set. It had been a long, tiring day, and the troubles working on her first real dramatic lead was starting to show in her face.

"I'll bet you that girl won't be out partying tonight," one of the studio executives whispered. "She looks like she needs a good night's sleep".

Five minutes later, Elvis and "Don't Be Cruel" was heard all over the studio lot. A few minutes passed. Ann-Margret locked the door to her trailer, hurried to her red sports-car, humming the song. She started her car, turned on the stereo, and suddenly another Elvis song was sounding loudly in the air!

"How is Ann-Margret doing?" a reporter recently wrote. "She hints that she's engaged to Elvis, then she changes her mind, and says they are just good friends. And all the time he showers her with presents, she confesses. Is it for real?"

When Ann-Margret first arrived in Hollywood, she was labelled "The female Elvis" by her record company, RCA, the same company as Elvis. All the kids and newspapers could hardly wait until the two became a real couple. Still, it took three years before they even met. And when it happened, no bells chimed, no salutes were heard.

"It was just like meeting anyone," Ann-Margret says smiling. "Well, almost anyone. I met him while doing 'Viva Las Vegas,' in which we're both starring. We were running through the songs we would sing together in the film. He came in, and I felt so shy that I could hardly smile. He just came up and said 'Hi', and I said 'Hi' back". But it didn't stop with 'Hi'.

"Elvis has never had so much fun on a movie set before", says his old friend Earl Wingard. "He really likes Ann-Margret and hung around with her both on the set and after. He has never been so relaxed and happy before".

The couple started seeing each other every night after work. Going on motorcycle trips together, even going to the movies together, a thing Elvis rarely does.

Elvis started giving her presents, jewelry and things for her new home. When she left to go on the road singing, it took him hours to say goodbye.

Then it exploded.

While in Europe, Ann-Margret told the newspapers she thought she was in love with Elvis and added: "I'm going steady with him, and I guess I'm in love. But I can't say when, or even if we're getting married, nothing's decided."

Back in the U.S., Elvis was asked to make a comment, but he just smiled.

'When Ann-Margret returned to Hollywood, everyone expected a row between the two, but nothing happened. They continued seeing each other as before, and Elvis gave her the stereo for her car.

"Usually Elvis can't stand a girl using his name to get publicity," an ad-man who once felt Elvis' anger says. "In this case though, he seems amused because he cares so much for her."


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Lately, Ann-Margret has calmed down, even though she still needs every bit of publicity she can get to make it to the top. She doesn't give interviews and won't answer the phone. She's smart enough to know that Hollywood reporters often ask difficult questions that can be hard to avoid, therefore it's best not to give them the chance. A little while ago, she was awarded a prize for the most unfriendly movie star in Hollywood. She doesn't want that prize again, but says, "I'm afraid of journalists."

Happily for Ann-Margret, her current director (Douglas Heyes) decided that no one working on the current project is allowed to give interviews. It's a very hard film to make, and he doesn't want anyone to disturb her or any of his other stars.

So, how are things going for her in "Kitten With a Whip"? A man behind the film says: "It's her first dramatic part and it's also the first film where her name alone decides if it's a success or not."

640400_Kitten With a Whip promo.jpg


Even if she has a hard time giving interviews, she still has time for her friends. "I have a lot of male friends, and Elvis is one of them," she says.

It's highly unlikely that Ann-Margret would give up show business to marry Elvis. "Ann-Margret's career means a lot to her", says one of her closest friends, and it means almost as much to her parents. They worked very hard to give her song-and-dance lessons, ever since she was a little girl. And all her relatives back home in Sweden count on her, not to forget hundreds of friends in Illinois, where she grew up. She doesn't want to disappoint them, as much as she doesn't want to disappoint herself.

And don't forget, she has already turned one man down, Burt Sugarman. She loved him a lot, but she loved her career more, and if Elvis proposed today, Ann-Margret would say no. But, frankly, it's rather unlikely for him to do so. Two careers in the same house would only mean one thing: trouble. They both know that, and so they can never be more than just good friends, no matter what the public wants.

During this time a "girlfriend who really isn't one" continues to enjoy her Elvis records. "I'm not engaged to anyone!"

Another thing is, Ann-Margret is furious that Elvis' manager, Colonel Tom Parker, left her best scenes from "Viva Las Vegas" on the cutting room floor. Or, rather, he made the film company do it since, according to his contract, Elvis is the big star here. Ann-Margret would have had more songs in the film than Elvis himself! But the angry actress keeps on playing her Elvis records.

Source:
[ Ann-Margret | Hennes (Sweden) No. 15 April 7, 1964 ]
http://www.ann-margret-from-sweden.com/various/magazines/64hennes.html
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Re: Ann-Margret --> "The Girlfriend Who Isn't One!" (April 1

Sun Mar 04, 2012 9:40 am

The theater exhibitors liked her!
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Re: Ann-Margret --> "The Girlfriend Who Isn't One!" (April 1

Sun Mar 04, 2012 10:57 am

What a tangle he got himself into. Priscilla, of course, was back there in Memphis, waiting. Old news, yes, but seeing this just brought it to life. Wow.

Thanks!!!

rjm

Re: Ann-Margret --> "The Girlfriend Who Isn't One!" (April 1

Sun Mar 04, 2012 11:12 am

Thank you, John, nice posting.

I had no idea that the "Parker is against Ann-Margret" story was news way back in April '64: I'd assumed it was retrospective.

Wouldn't it be fantastic (one sunny day!) to see a fully-restored version of Viva Las Vegas.

Re: Ann-Margret --> "The Girlfriend Who Isn't One!" (April 1

Sun Mar 04, 2012 11:31 am

So what scenes were filmed for Viva Las Vegas and then cut? Are there deleted scenes that are known to have survived?

Re: Ann-Margret --> "The Girlfriend Who Isn't One!" (April 1

Sun Mar 04, 2012 11:54 am

Keep in mind this is a magazine article.

For example There were a lot of things written in magazines about Elvis while he was still alive that turned out to be false.

The article doesn't quote Ann Margret directly.

The article may not be 100% accurate.

Re: Ann-Margret --> "The Girlfriend Who Isn't One!" (April 1

Sun Mar 04, 2012 12:55 pm

What a fine, fine lady she is....and still looks fantastic today.


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Re: Ann-Margret --> "The Girlfriend Who Isn't One!" (April 1

Sun Mar 04, 2012 8:03 pm

czeskleba wrote:So what scenes were filmed for Viva Las Vegas and then cut? Are there deleted scenes that are known to have survived?

Good queries.

One imagines director George Sidney may've shot sequences of the two doing "Today, Tomorrow and Forever" and "You're The Boss."

Re: Ann-Margret --> "The Girlfriend Who Isn't One!" (April 1

Sun Mar 04, 2012 8:15 pm

Thanks for putting this up Doc. Really enjoyed it.

Re: Ann-Margret --> "The Girlfriend Who Isn't One!" (April 1

Sun Mar 04, 2012 8:16 pm

We've seen one of her cut scenes - dancing in the kitchen of her father's boat home, singing something - was it about a "baby blue racing car"?? Somebody will remember.

Re: Ann-Margret --> "The Girlfriend Who Isn't One!" (April 1

Sun Mar 04, 2012 8:21 pm

The scene featuring the song "MY RIVAL" was never actually cut from the film. It may have been edited for some local TV broadcasts but it was definitely in the original theatrical release.

Re: Ann-Margret --> "The Girlfriend Who Isn't One!" (April 1

Sun Mar 04, 2012 8:21 pm

chris j wrote:We've seen one of her cut scenes - dancing in the kitchen of her father's boat home, singing something - was it about a "baby blue racing car"?? Somebody will remember.

It's called "My Rival," and it made the completed film in 1964.

Re: Ann-Margret --> "The Girlfriend Who Isn't One!" (April 1

Sun Mar 04, 2012 8:49 pm

Nice post John.

I really enjoyed reading this artical.

I'd love to see any of the deleted scenes from "Viva Las Vegas".

My favorite Elvis movie from the 1960's.

::rocks

Re: Ann-Margret --> "The Girlfriend Who Isn't One!" (April 1

Sun Mar 04, 2012 9:03 pm

Nice article, although it's your typically contrived promotional piece. For further reading, there's an entire section dedicated to articles surrounding Elvis and Ann-Margret's private, and professional, relationship in The Elvis Album -- a rather good compendium of vintage articles, reviews and promotional material.

It would certainly be interesting to see what may have been left on the cutting room floor with regards to Viva Las Vegas, but I suspect most of what was shot was used -- although, I have seen stills of the wedding scene climax that weren't in the film. It's to be expected, however, that good material shot for most any film may not be used, and that scenes will be trimmed. Elvis vehicles were no exception.

Re: Ann-Margret --> "The Girlfriend Who Isn't One!" (April 1

Sun Mar 04, 2012 9:22 pm

Doc, thank you so much for this topic and thank you very, very much for the picture of...

John Forsythe!!! :D

No, just kidding. My favorite is the beautiful still from "Viva Las Vegas"! [Is there a nip slip or does it just look like this?]

Wonderful post. ::rocks
praise_the_doc.gif

Here's another pic:
Kitten_With_A_Whip_2.jpg
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Re: Ann-Margret --> "The Girlfriend Who Isn't One!" (April 1

Sun Mar 04, 2012 10:23 pm

drjohncarpenter wrote:One imagines director George Sidney may've shot sequences of the two doing "Today, Tomorrow and Forever" and "You're The Boss."


A "You're the Boss" production would have slotted in perfectly between the end of the race and the wedding scene, making the transition less jarring and the end of the film much less abrupt. Hell, they could have had them sing the song in the wedding chapel as they were getting married. I suppose it's possible scenes were rehearsed but never filmed, too, and hence were not literally left "on the cutting room floor."

I'd just be happy if they'd do a complete soundtrack album with the film versions of all the songs, including the Ann-Margret solo pieces. To the best of my knowledge "My Rival" has never appeared on album from a master-tape source. And the complete film version of "C'Mon Everybody" (with the blues coda edit) has also never been on CD, right?

Re: Ann-Margret --> "The Girlfriend Who Isn't One!" (April 1

Mon Mar 05, 2012 2:13 am

It's always fascinating to read Elvis related vintage articles, especially if they contain hitherto previously unknown nuggets of information.
Thanks for sharing.

Re: Ann-Margret --> "The Girlfriend Who Isn't One!" (April 1

Mon Mar 05, 2012 3:55 am

Great read! Pure 60s hollywood gossip...a fun read.

Re: Ann-Margret --> "The Girlfriend Who Isn't One!" (April 1

Mon Mar 05, 2012 4:31 pm

I've loved her my whole life!! Thanks again Doc!

Re: Ann-Margret --> "The Girlfriend Who Isn't One!" (April 1

Tue Mar 06, 2012 1:20 am

Thanks, everyone. Ann was and is a very special and unique talent. Such a classy lady!

Maybe if Criterion dares to take on "Viva Las Vegas' as a project, we'll see those "lost" sequences.

Re: Ann-Margret --> "The Girlfriend Who Isn't One!" (April 1

Tue Mar 06, 2012 2:05 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:Thanks, everyone. Ann was and is a very special and unique talent. Such a classy lady!

Maybe if Criterion dares to take on "Viva Las Vegas' as a project, we'll see those "lost" sequences.
+1

Re: Ann-Margret --> "The Girlfriend Who Isn't One!" (April 1

Tue Mar 06, 2012 7:02 am

My source at WB told me that they pulled every piece of film from VIVA several years ago and there are no existing deleted scenes.

Re: Ann-Margret --> "The Girlfriend Who Isn't One!" (April 1

Tue Mar 06, 2012 1:45 pm

HoneyTalkNelson wrote:My source at WB told me that they pulled every piece of film from VIVA several years ago and there are no existing deleted scenes.

What were they pulling the pieces for? Were they known sequences?

Re: Ann-Margret --> "The Girlfriend Who Isn't One!" (April 1

Tue Mar 06, 2012 3:29 pm

My Rival was cut from the British release of VLV in 64, and here it was retitled Love in Las Vegas....

Re: Ann-Margret --> "The Girlfriend Who Isn't One!" (April 1

Tue Mar 06, 2012 5:48 pm

Has the version of VLV from the film, with the extended ending, ever been released officially ? - and, if not, why not ?

It's hard to keep track of some of these things.

Steve Morse