EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|VIVA LAS VEGAS (director: George Sidney; screenwriter: Sally Benson; cinematographer: Joseph Biroc; editor: John McSweeney; music: George Stoll; cast: Elvis Presley (Lucky Jackson), Ann-Margret (Rusty Martin), Cesare Danova (Count Elmo Mancini), William Demarest (Mr. Martin), Nicky Blair (Shorty Fansworth), Jack Carter (Himself), Teri Garr (Showgirl); Runtime: 86; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Jack Cummings; MGM; 1964)|
entertaining but lightweight and vulgar Elvis
by Dennis Schwartz
entertaining but lightweight and vulgar Elvis vehicle,
that should please the fan base because it has some of
the rock star's best music on film. Songs include "Yellow Rose of Texas,"
"What'd I Say," "I Need Somebody To Lean On" (Lucky);
"My Rival" (Rusty); "The Lady Loves Me" (Lucky and
Rusty); "The Eyes of Texas Are Upon You" (Lucky and
chorus). Director George Sidney ("Pal
Joey"/"Show Boat"/"Anchors Aweigh") catches the
explosive chemistry between Elvis and Ann-Margret, and this hot
duo romance and the colorful touristy location shots
are enough to make the slight story bearable.
Lucky Jackson (Elvis Presley) works as a hotel waiter
in Las Vegas. His ambition is to win the racing driver
competition at the Las Vegas Grand Prix, that's set in
a few days. After winning enough money at the casino
to buy a racing engine, Lucky accidentally loses his
money roll in the Flamingo Hotel swimming pool drain
pipe when pushed into the pool after flirting with
hottie swimming instructor Rusty Martin (Ann-Margret). Also pursuing
Rusty is smoothie European racing champ Count Elmo Mancini (Cesare Danova), the favorite contestant
in the up-coming race.
The dull romantic story has
Rusty trying to convince her man to give up being a
race car driver because of its dangers, and she flirts
with Mancini hoping to get Lucky jealous and ready to
listen to her.
In another attempt to get
cash for an engine, Lucky enters the hotel's talent
contest. But Lucky is tied with Rusty, and instead of
cash he wins a free honeymoon and she wins a pool
table. It concludes with Rusty's dad (William Demarest), a racing fan, showing up
in Las Vegas and loaning Lucky the money for the
engine. Lucky then wins the race and marries Rusty,
and the banal but genial movie ends on a happy note.
REVIEWED ON 6/11/2013 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ