Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5.
USA, 1962. Hal Wallis Productions. Story by Allan Weiss, Screenplay by Edward Anhalt, Allan Weiss. Cinematography by Loyal Griggs. 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 Stanley E. Johnson. Golden Globe Awards 1962.
The producers of this film seem to be slightly aware that acting wasn’t exactly Elvis’ strong suit: every possible opportunity to start another song is crammed into the running time of this mostly enjoyable fluff. The King of Rock ‘N’ Roll plays a fishing boat captain whose father lost his vessel to a new owner years ago thanks to money troubles. Presley now works for the new owners, a loving couple who treat him like a son, and hopes to someday buy the boat back for himself. When one of his bosses has to move to a dryer climate for her health, however, Presley is not ready to assume ownership and must become the employee of the new owner, a big-shot industrialist who is also his romantic rival for the affections of a prissy heiress (Laurel Goodwin), who loves our hero for his heart. Presley decides to supplement his income by plying his singing talents at a local nightclub, placing himself in the centre of Goodwin and the bitter, dangerous siren who sings at the club with him (Stella Stevens). The plot is thoroughly pedestrian, but everyone puts their back into it and the songs are as tuneful as the settings are colourful. By the time Presley and Goodwin are stomping around her living room to the beat of a tango song, you’ll know you’ve entered kitsch heaven.