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Roger Smith

Watch the Birdie and See Ann-Margret Soar

Only two years after her screen test (Life, Jan. 27, 1961), Ann-Margret has arrived - and sge has laurels to prove it. Her recordings of pop songs have sold upward of 500,000 copies. Television networks, which a year ago were paying her $500 an appearance, recently decided that she was worth adding another zero to the figure. In Hollywood she demands - and gets - $500,000 for each film.

Ann-Margret plays her first starring role in "Bye Bye Birdie", taken from the Broadway musical ribbing rock'n'roll, and she just about runs away with the picture. As this picture shows, she has a winning combination of a subdeb's freshness and spitfire's fervor. So exhuberant is her singing that the composers of the original score added a special solo for her, and her torrid dancing almost replaces central heating in the movie theatre.

 

She sings the title number from "Bye Bye Birdie" while trotting on a mechanical treadmill, and from the look of things, it is anything but a treadmill to oblivion. Though the machinery requires a spritely sprint, she keeps pace with never a footfall or missed beat, all the while projecting the moony moods of a lovelorn teenager. As everybody knows, teenagers and sodafountains go together. In her big dance number Ann-Margret makes one as seductive as a double malted.

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