Saturday, April 28, 2018

Happy Birthday, Ann-Margret!

I just love Ann-Margret, as she seems to epitomize the 1960's girl for me! There is a wonderful kinetic energy about her that just sums up all the fun and excitement I equate with the entertainment of that era. Ironically though, by her own admission, Ann-Margret claims that she really isn't like that off-screen. I remember reading a few years ago in her 1994 autobiography, Ann-Margret - My Story, where she described how she could switch that high energy movie persona on and off, and that she was in reality very shy and quiet due to her proper Swedish upbringing.

But it is that high energy, vivacious on-screen persona that we all love and remember from her major hit movies like Bye Bye Birdie and her pairing with Elvis Presley in Viva Las Vegas. For this caricature, I decided to sketch Ann-Margret from the opening and closing titles from Bye Bye Birdie, in which, over the course of the film, she has evolved from a flighty teenager infatuated with a famous pop music idol, to a (supposedly) more mature young woman who has come to the realization that her loyal high school sweetheart is a better man than the flaky pop star. This YouTube video combines both those beginning and end sequences, and it's quite amazing how Ann-Margret contrasts the evolution of her character through her vocal performance and body language:

Another quality I love about Ann-Margret is her willingness to mug for the camera, pushing her facial expressions in a song performance. This adds a slight eccentricity to her sexiness, which for me only adds to her great appeal. And look at this song sequence from Viva Las Vegas, in which she's preparing lunch for her boyfriend (Elvis), pouting over the fact he's spending more time fixing his race car while neglecting her. This performance, requiring singing (lip synching to her pre-recorded song, more specifically), while performing various perfectly timed physical feats as she travels throughout the houseboat cabin, is achieved in one continuous shot without any camera cuts! Ann-Margret has always been the consummate professional at anything she does, and she remains one of my all-time favourite actresses. Enjoy!


Alex. G said...

Great to see you posting again Pete. Your caricatures are always nice, but I do miss your advices and opinions on animation that you posted here in the early years.

Pete Emslie said...

Much thanks, Alex! I must admit I've been neglecting this blog for a long time now, and I think it's because of how Facebook has got us all addicted. Many of my favourite bloggers have also been posting less and less in the last couple years.

I'm still hoping to revive The Cartoon Cave and get back to posting more regularly, but I'm not sure of the content. To be honest, my interest in animation is very low these days, as I no longer am involved in teaching Character Design at the college, and have no interest in the animated films and TV series being created today. I will still likely post about classic Disney and other Hollywood cartoons from time to time, though. I will also endeavour to post drawing tips in regards to the art of cartoon illustration and caricature, as that is still what interests me.

Thanks for checking in, Alex, as it's always reassuring to know that there are still some interested readers of this blog!

Llera said...

Beautiful, sexy Ann-Margret! She was the subject of so many of my daydreams back in the 60s along with those great gals of the era like Elke Sommer, Raquel Welch, Stella Stevens and all the Bond Girls! They will never be forgotten! Thanks for posting this along with the magnificent caricature, Pete!

Pete Emslie said...

Yes, we both love all those 60's gals, Fernando! Just a couple nights ago I was watching Raquel in "Fantastic Voyage". I really need to draw her sometime! :)