Elvis Presley and Ann-Margret's dance scene in Viva Las Vegas is still mesmerising to watch

11 August 2021, 10:41

Elvis Presley and Ann-Margaret in Viva Las Vegas
Elvis Presley and Ann-Margaret in Viva Las Vegas. Picture: MGM

By Mayer Nissim

Ann-Margret steals the stage and the movie in this routine ahead of Elvis' Presley's 'C'Mon Everybody'.

As well as being the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley was also a bona fide movie star.

After the success of his 1956 debut as Clint Reno in Love Me Tender, his films were often a hit and miss affair.

That was to be expected when he was churning them out at a rate of one, two or even three films a year, all the way to the very end of the 1960s, while he was juggling his music career and a couple of years in the army.

Ann-Margaret and Elvis Presley
Ann-Margaret and Elvis Presley. Picture: MGM

Gold's Hall of Fame: Elvis Presley

But when his films hit, they really hit, and 1964's Viva Las Vegas was one of his very best.

Written by Sally Benson and directed by George Sidney with choreography by David Winters, Viva Las Vegas starred Elvis as racecar driver Lucky Jackson who gets tumbled into a hotel swimming pool by swimming instructor Rusty Martin, played by Ann-Margaret.

Their on-screen chemistry was incredibly real and apparently spilled over into real life, much to the annoyance of Elvis's then-girlfriend Priscilla Beaulieu.

QUIZ: How well do you know Elvis Presley?

And there was no better example than the dance scene above for the instrumental number that leads into 'C'Mon Everybody' (not the Eddie Cochran hit, but an original Elvis song written by Joy Byers for the film).

Ann-Margret completely steals Viva Las Vegas from underneath Elvis with her moves. Rusty eventually gets Lucky on his feet and he gives a good account of himself, but even the King can't quite compete.

It's a routine so perfectly Ann-Margret, it was probably a key inspiration for Kristen Wiig's 'Ann Margret tries to throw a wad of paper into a trashcan' sketch on Saturday Night Live in 2011.

It was recently argued that Elvis's tragic death at the age of 42 was mainly the result of bad genetics, rather than drug abuse and an unhealthy lifestyle.

"He took too much at times but he was self-medicating because he was trying to find a way to be Elvis Presley," argued Sally Hoedel, the author of new book Elvis: Destined to Die Young.