The Swinger (1966)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Satire  |   Run Time - 81 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Craig Butler

The Swinger seeks to prove that an entire film can be built around nothing more than the sheer vivaciousness of Ann-Margret. Those who are immune to the star's charms might as well look elsewhere, but those who appreciate her personal appeal will have a field day here. Yes, there's a plot of sorts, one that gives Ann-Margret ample opportunity to let go with a song and/or dance, to slink around, to model some provocative fashions (and to make some other not-so-provocative fashions seem equally provocative), and to get covered in body paint. It may not give her much opportunity to act, of course, but that would have required creating a believable character - and that opens up a whole can of worms involving putting that character into believable situations, creating believable dialogue, etc. Director George Sidney seems not to have been bothered by the lack of a real screenplay, shooting the entire movie as an Ann-Margret portfolio (and making sure a wind machine was always nearby to blow her hair whenever she danced); it's not good direction, but it's dedicated and devoted, and that's what this kind of project calls for. When he has to deal with the other actors, Sidney falls down on the job, so it's remarkable that Anthony Franciosa and Robert Coote manage to make good impressions. Still, they're merely along for the ride. With anyone other than Ann-Margret at the wheel, the ride would well be torturous; but fortunately, she makes this silly, ludicrous vehicle quite entertaining.