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KITTEN WITH A WHIP (1964).

On the heels of her show-stopping numbers with Elvis in VIVA LAS VEGAS, Ann-Margret decided to take the low road with this no-budget, b&w melodrama. A surprisingly sleazy juvenile delinquent flick, with a killer performance from everyone's favorite sex kitten. John Forsythe stars as a suave, fat cat politician, whose palatial house is 'borrowed' by a bleach blonde cutie named Jody (Ann-M), dressed in nothing but a nightgown. Not unlike Goldilocks, Forsythe discovers Jody napping in his bed, and the guy is mildly intrigued by this disheveled dish with the crazy curves. And (since his wife is conveniently away) Forsythe's sympathy goes out to the teen when she tells him she a runaway from an abusive home. But he quickly learns that Jody's not your ordinary jailbait. She's on the run from the cops, after breaking out of a detention home, setting fire to the place and stabbing a guard. And pretty soon the tables are turned, with Ann-M playing mindgames on the increasingly nervous dweeb and threatening Forsythe with rape charges. A few thrill-crazy (though unbelievably clean cut) hoods join the party and provide a smidgen of bloodshed, but Ann (as well as the viewer) quickly gets bored with their cretinous hijinx, and she eventually dumps the punks and takes Forsythe on a Mexican joy ride... Lemme tell you, this flick is without a doubt the finest showcase of Ann-Margret's talents. She's a tough, no-nonsense bitch, using sex 'n' a smile to get what she wants, and this harder edge makes her more alluring than ever. When she snarls and brandishes the broken end of a whiskey bottle -- well, I think I'm in love. Plus, Forsythe is such a cardboard clod, overflowing with morality, that you can't help but enjoy watching her make him squirm. Douglas Heyes' direction is cheap but energetic, complete with an endless supply of hip dialogue and a no-compromise finale that had me cheering. KITTEN is a much-loved, vicious li'l B-movie with Ann-Margret proving once and for all that she's a slut goddess extraordinaire.

© 1993 by Steven Puchalski.