House of Mirth and Movies

Iconic Film Styles: Ann-Margaret in Bye Bye Birdie

Luckily we have shows like Mad Men to show an intimate look into a bygone era, so us plebs who don’t have the time or resources to research the cultural impact of certain films and performers. In Season three (Love Among Ruins 3.2), a diet cola company asks creative to recreate the opening with Ann-Margret in order to sell their product. The reaction of the executives in the room only suggests a fraction of the sensation that her performance caused. George Sidney has the foresight to see the effect that Ann-Margret would have on the audience, and at his own expense filmed the iconic book-ends, even having a song specially written for the occasion. I am hardly a fan of the film, but I can’t deny absolutely loving those two scenes. Ann-Margaret’s style in the film is reflective of a new breed of adolescent, it is cute but sexy. There is a palpable difference between her clothing and that of the more mature women, but it still seems to fit into the adult world.

Costume Designer: Marjorie Wahl