As expected, style wins over substance in this Ann-Margaret comedy from 1966. In it she plays a fashion buyer who is sent to Paris (more like a Hollywood soundstage really) to purchase creations from hot fashion designer Louis Jourdan. Of course he only wants to bed her. In fact, every guy she meets wants a piece of la Ann. But she refuses to give in, even to hunky Chad Everett, her boss’ son (for whom I would drop my trousers in a sec). He is so into her that, when a fashion crisis arises, he takes no time in joining her to save the day. But when she ends up having men trouble with both Jourdan and Everett, she quits her job and goes on a binge drinking with Everett’s womanizer friend Richard Crenna (who, of course, wants to do her as well). It all ends up with Margaret having a heart to heart talk with her three gentlemen and choosing bachelor number one, Everett, as husband potential.
What’s left to say about this little piece of fluff? A lot, starting with the fabulous wardrobe Miss Margaret gets to wear (designed by Oscar great Helen Rose). I swear it’s like watching RuPaul’s Drag Race all over again. Every piece screams drag queen. Big hair, big hats, pointy beaded tits… and chiffons, lots of chiffons. I could admire this shit all day, even if it’s only there to derive us from the no plot plot. Because yes, MADE IN PARIS is mostly depthless, awkward even —just like the performance of its leading lady. OK I may be a little too harsh here. ‘Cause even though she’s on the paste and copy mode from her last dozen films, she’s still a likable character. The girl has star quality, no doubt about it. But it would have been fun to see a different side of her this time around. However, as this was during the star system craze where one had to be at the mercy of the studio, it took years before some big shot realized she had more to offer than her sexy self.
Nevertheless, despite these flaws, MADE IN PARIS is still a blast. It reminds light fares such as WHERE THE BOYS ARE (1960), THREE COINS IN THE FOUNTAIN (1954) or THE PLEASURE SEEKERS (another Ann-Margaret vehicle made two years earlier, in 1964). It may not be as soapy as VALLEY OF THE DOLLS or PEYTON PLACE but the bubbles do pop. As for Jourdan and the rest of the cast, besides being used only to elevate the star’s appeal, they do have a certain je ne sais quoi as they go at it with their eyes shut. But it hardly matters. For the importance is not to be overly impressed by riveting performances or intricate plot points but to be tickled by an overdone Hollywood production that should have known better from the start.
Until next post—Martin