20 April 2000 | BrianG
Not very good then, even worse now
"The Swinger" was an attempt by old-line Hollywood to cash in on the "youth movement" by making a movie that was "hip" and "relevant" and that the "young people" could "dig." It fails miserably on all counts. This movie was dated five minutes after it was released, and is now nothing more than a laughable relic of what people who had absolutely no idea of what the '60s were about thought the '60s were about.
Tony Franciosa plays a Hugh Hefner-type magazine publisher who rejects a story given to him by writer Ann-Margret about the "swinging" scene, because he doesn't think she knows enough about the subject to have written about it (while he, of course, knows EVERYTHING about it). So she sets out to become part of the swinging generation to show him up. The movie is nothing but leering, smarmy double-entendres, and the whole attitude is "ooh, aren't we being naughty?", which they aren't (as in the laughable "orgy" scene, where Ann-Margret gets her body painted).
Ann-Margaret has always seemed to me to be the Pamela Anderson of the '60s--a totally manufactured personality trading on her looks and what passes for sex appeal. Her image was the good girl who would stop just this side of sluttiness, because she was, after all, a good girl--which made her, basically, a tease, and that was what her entire career was built on. This movie is a perfect example of that. She's basically nothing more than a somewhat animated Barbie doll, which is pretty much all that she's ever been required to be.
If you want to get a feel for what the '60s was about, this movie isn't it, by any stretch of the imagination. It's fun in a goofball kind of way, but it's basically what a bunch of wealthy, middle-aged men (the people who made this movie) thought "the kids" would want to see. They didn't.