ML - Vegas Magazine

Vegas - 2015 - Issue 5 - September - Fall Fashion - Kate King

Vegas Magazine - Niche Media - There is a place beyond the crowds, beyond the ropes, where dreams are realized and success is celebrated. You are invited.

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 15 of 127

photography by gab archive/redferns Elvis Presley made a total of 31 scripted flms in his 24-year career, but per- haps the best-known is a colorful MGM vehicle that wrapped in September of 1963: Viva Las Vegas. While the 1950s were the era of the troubled-teen movie—Marlon Brando's The Wild One (1953), James Dean's Rebel Without a Cause (1955), Presley's Jailhouse Rock (1957)—reflecting the decade's simmering undercurrent of social disorder and the fashions of rock 'n' roll, hot rods, and greased pom- padours, the Swinging '60s saw a new genre of wholesome, fun-loving romps take their place. A shining example, Viva Las Vegas stars Presley as down-and-out racecar driver Lucky Jackson opposite the fiery redhead Ann-Margret, whose per- formance in the Elvis-parodying musical Bye Bye Birdie had catapulted her to international fame earlier that year. A triple threat in every sense of the phrase, the Swedish-born entertainer was one of the few leading ladies to go toe-to- toe with Presley, and her boundless charisma didn't go unnoticed by the King's longtime manager, Colonel Tom Parker, who was quick to express concern over the amount of camera time she was getting in comparison to his client. He was right to be worried. Ann-Margret manages to steal the show as swimming instructor Rusty Martin, and several pieces from her on-screen wardrobe—including her yellow sheath dress and bathing suit—became leg- endary fashion statements. Even more compelling than the visuals, though, was the electric chemistry that developed between Ann-Margret and Presley, which continued behind the scenes, despite his relationship with then-girlfriend Priscilla Beaulieu. In fact, Presley would remain close friends with Ann-Margret until his death in 1977, famously buying her a circular pink bed and sending her fowers in the shape of a guitar every time she headlined in Vegas. Longtime New York Times flm critic Howard Thompson may have called the movie "as unimportant as a banana split," but with its rollicking action set around the Strip—including memorable scenes at the Flamingo and the Little Church of the West—it continues to give viewers a glimpse of Vegas in its midcentury heyday. Now, with the arrival of a Graceland-produced Presley exhibition at the Westgate, the King's star is burning as brightly as ever, and while Presley may be gone, museum visitors can get a look at authentic mem- orabilia from his most indelible flm. V Long Live the King Elvis and ann-MargrEt burn up thE scrEEn in ViVa Las Vegas. by tess eyrich Elvis Presley finally met his match in the sex appeal department when Ann-Margret joined him in Viva Las Vegas 52 years ago. 14 FRONT RUNNER

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of ML - Vegas Magazine - Vegas - 2015 - Issue 5 - September - Fall Fashion - Kate King