Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5
USA, 1961. Hal Wallis Productions. Story by Allan Weiss, Screenplay by Hal Kanter. Cinematography by Charles Lang. Produced by Hal B. Wallis. Music by Joseph J. Lilley. Production Design by Hal Pereira, Walter H. Tyler. Costume Design by Edith Head. Film Editing by Terry O. Morse.
Elvis Presley gets out of the army and returns home to Honolulu, avoiding his wealthy parents in favour of basking in the sun and surf with his gorgeous, presumably native girlfriend (I say presumably because she’s a white girl who looks like she’s been sprayed with brown paint).
Resisting his father’s wish that he enter the family business (canning pineapples) and live in their house that looks more appropriate for Bedrock than the Aloha state, Elvis instead takes up as a tour guide for a schoolteacher on holiday. The teacher has brought along three jailbait students with her, one of them particularly looking for trouble but unable to rope Elvis into her scheme. Meanwhile, his girlfriend is becoming jealous at the friendly attention she assumes is being paid to him by the leader of his tourist troupe.
Breezy and simple, this film works best, like many of the King’s films, when the legendary musician is asked to croon, and boy does he ever. The songs are all lovely, which is good because there’s about three hundred thousand of them crammed into the plot, and the photography of the beautiful island is enough to make you melt.
Angela Lansbury appears as Presley’s southern-fried, hickory-accented mother, and she has a rollicking good time playing the part (she was actually only ten years older than him).