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)
“Typical entertaining but lightweight and vulgar Elvis vehicle.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Typical 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-