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Thread: Viva Las Vegas (1964)

  1. #1
    Heartbreak Hotel, Room 11 Albert's Avatar
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    Viva Las Vegas (1964)

    VIVA LAS VEGAS

    Theatrical-Release: 1964
    Studio: MGM
    Director: George Sidney
    Producer: Jack Cummings & George Sidney
    Film Length: 87 mins
    Colour/B&W: Colour


    Cast:

    Lucky Jordan - Elvis Presley
    Rusty Martin - Ann Margret
    Count Elmo Mancini - Cesare Danova
    Mr. Martin - William Demarest
    Shorty Farnsworth - Nicky Blair


    Story:

    Elvis plays a race driver, arriving in Las Vegas to participate in the big Grand Prix race. But he has engine troubles.

    He falls in love with the beautiful Ann Margret.
    Not knowing her name and adress, he assumes she's one of Vegas showgirls and together with his racing (and amourous) rival Danova, Elvis starts searching various nightclubs, hoping to find Ann Margret.

    When they don't find her, they return to their hotel and there Elvis sees her again. She's a swimming instructor for the hotel.

    During the film Elvis and Margret fall in love and perform some great sing and dance numbers.

    Elvis also fixes his engine problems and the movie ends with a spectacular race across the country side and of course with Elvis both winning the race and the girl.

    Ann Margret and Elvis get married.


    Behind The Scenes:

    Working titles were: "The Only Game In Town", "The Only Girl In Town", "The Lady Loves Me".

    Filming began on July 15, 1963 and was completed by September 16.

    Locations for the main scenes included the swimming pool at the Flamingo Hotel, McCarron Airport and the University of Nevada gymnasium.

    In the U.K. the title of the movie was changed to: "Love In Las Vegas".

    The chemistry between Ann Margret and Elvis was sensational, both on and off screen that is. The gossip reporters really had a great time!

    "Viva Las Vegas" reached No.11 on the Variety top-grossing list for 1964.


    Songs:


    Viva Las Vegas
    If You Think I Don't Need You
    I Need Somebody To Lean On
    What'd I Say
    C'mon Everybody
    The Lady Loves Me (with Ann Margret)
    Today, Tomorrow And Forever
    The Yellow Rose Of Texas / The Eyes Of Texas
    Santa Lucia
    My Rival (by Ann Margret)
    Appreciation (by Ann Margret)
    The Climb (by The Forte Four)


    Related Links:

    Pictures: www.tcb-world.com/gallery/browseimages.php?c=66&userid=

    Movie trailer:

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eDKbmDP472Q"]YouTube- Viva Las Vegas - Original Trailer 1964[/ame]
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails vivalasvegas.jpg   vivalasvegas2.jpg  
    Last edited by Sonny; 11-28-2009 at 06:33 AM.

  2. #2
    Heartbreak Hotel, Room 11 Albert's Avatar
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    "Electric and full of potential"
    reviewed by likethebike

    "Viva Las Vegas" is not only Elvis Presley's best musical but it is the one Elvis musical where all of the elements to come together to create one of the cinema's most entertaining exercises in the genre. This movie more than anything proves that was wrong with Elvis' movies had nothing to do with the musical format or even pedestrian scripts. In "Viva Las Vegas" everything but the script works to almost perfection and the result is an exhilarating slice of entertainment. Had all of Elvis' films been like this one, his movie career would be remembered fondly today.

    The plot for "Viva Las Vegas" is pretty flimsy. Elvis is Lucky Jackson- for the first time- a race car driver who comes to Las Vegas for the Grand Prix road race. There he meets a sexy swim instructor- Rusty Martin- played by the voluptuous Ann Margret. She pushes him in a pool and he loses his money and is forced to work at her hotel. Elvis' newfound poverty (movie women???) makes him appealing to A/M. They fall in love and break up and make up for the rest of the movie until Elvis can win the big race. That's about it.

    From such a pedestrian premise, Elvis and company churn out a first rate musical.

    One of Elvis' greatest problems as an actor and a movie star was that movies are such a collaborative art and for whatever reasons Elvis was often coupled with collaborators beneath his massive talent. That's not the case here.

    Many critics have said that A/M is what separates "Viva Las Vegas" from the rest of Elvis' movies. And certainly she is filled with vitality here. Her acting chops in some of the emotional scenes are aren't yet up to snuff but her personality and dancing are riveting. Plus, she has an uncommon rapport and chemistry with Elvis. When they are singing "C'mon Everybody" they appear to be anticipating each other moves almost reading each's other mind. They are a great match.

    But if A/M were all that this movie had going for it, it would not be the classic it is today. Many, many critics ignore the fact that Director George Sidney knew his way around a musical and his presence helps this movie extraordinarily. Perhaps this point is ignored because admitting it would mean also admitting that Elvis' failure on film was less a lack of talent than a lack of good directors.

    The music is staged in "Viva Las Vegas" with more expertise and excitement than any other Elvis movie. It's like night and day.

    Look at the scene where Elvis sings "What'd I Say". The brilliantly choreographed scene is breathless with excitement as Sidney's direction mirrors the frenzy of the song. Sidney plays off the call and response of the song's rhythm flashing on Elvis and then A/M and then the crowd. It's an intoxicating trick designed to make you feel that you are there. Sidney's master stroke comes at the "ooh ahh" part. With each "ooh and ahh" Sidney goes into all rotating close ups Elvis/A/M, Elvis/A/M, Elvis/A/M. Then he pulls the camera back and the action explodes with all the dancers going wild into semi-freestyle dancing with Elvis and A/M in the middle.

    It is almost a dance/musical representation of the sex act. Hal Wallis, who was too busy bit*ching about Elvis' hair, should have locked Norman Taurog in a room with this clip until he learned something. A director can underscore the musical action on the screen.

    Choreographer David Winters also deserves some credit here. This scene is marvelously choreographed. Unlike the scenes in other Elvis movies where the dancing seems random, there is actual choreography. Every dancer is doing something and all their movements are keyed off of the movements of Elvis and Ann Margret. That Winters later worked on "Girl Happy" without especial distinction shows that maybe Sidney's influence is the real key but the guy did a good job.

    A later Sidney/Elvis tour de force doesn't even need choreography. "I Need Someone to Lean On" is one of the most expressive scenes you'll ever see in a movie musical. The song, a saloon ballad in the Sinatra tradition, is played at first as an interior monologue in Elvis' head as Elvis walks through a half-empty casino. In the half-lit room we see Elvis walk alone past lovers embracing at the bar and on every post. Elvis stops in the middle of the casino and the camera goes dark. And then a spotlight flashes down and Elvis starts to sing out loud. Elvis the actor is in full bloom as his face and vocalization capture all the ache of the song. The effect he and Sidney achieve is a moment of total despair. Ironically, when the light flashes on Elvis is at his darkest moment. The reason he sings is because he can't hold it in any longer. Later they continue the spell as Elvis is too broken to go on and needs to sit down. It's a startling moment. Were it a music video, it would rank with the greatest videos of all-time.

    This type of stuff is what is missing in your standard Elvis movie. But, it is not all this missing. All of Sidney's magic would have went to waste if Elvis had to sing stuff like "Do the Clam"

    For once in "Viva Las Vegas" Elvis gets a full slate of good material. True there's some filler like "The Yellow Rose Of Texas" and "Santa Lucia" but every other song is at least above average. Many are better than that. "C'mon Everybody"- the one movie version better than the studio version- is a terrific dance number. Fueled by Hal Blaines' rolling drum attack, Elvis' "What'd I Say" is the best version ever of that war horse except for Ray Charles' untoppable original. I've already expressed my passion for Pomus and Shuman's wonderful late night ballad "I Need Somone to Lean On".

    The title track puts all of those songs to shame. One of the relatively few Elvis movie songs that could legitimately be called a masterpiece. A mixture of swing, show tune and rock it is a one of a kind. The lyrics may very well be the best ever written by Doc Pomus. They capture all of the amoral glory, dread and excitement of sin city. Elvis captures it all beautifully drawing the end of each verse to heighten the excitement and hitting a climactic ending. Predictably, Sidney's presentation does justice to the music.

    All this would mean nothing of course, without Elvis' full enagement and Sidney gets it. He essentially plays himself but he is electric and full of potential. Though Wallis said he was fat, he looks great to me and his hair looks natural, actually blowing slightly in the wind something it does not do in Wallis' "Roustabout". He sings with verve and delivers his dialogue with relish.

    The one area where "Viva Las Vegas" falls short of the classic musical tradition is in the fact that Rusty Martin and Lucky Jackson don't have any depth in the script. They don't have the weight or off-screen lives of some of the great musical characters like Sky Masterson and Sister Sarah from "Guys and Dolls". If anyone but Elvis and A/M were playing the parts they would be cyphers. This robs the movie of emotional weight.

    The emotional power of the film is also limited by the fact that so much time is spent on Lucky's big race but we really don't understand why this race is special in Lucky's career or life. He and A/M could certainly get together without it.

    Not that Sally Benson's script is all bad. There is some great sexy dialogue. I'm especially thinking of Elvis' savoring A/M after she suggests they go dancing and Elvis adds "or something".

    Also, the scene where Elvis and Rusty get to know each other before Elvis sings "Today Tomorrow and Forever" is very nice. Though their characters aren't real their love affair is.

    These are all minor quibbles though in a movie that does so much right.


    ? 2004 - likethebike

  3. #3
    Cadillac King
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    I used to really enjoy this film. But over the years I've seen it so often I'm burn't out. It's ALWAYS on everytime there's an Elvis festival. Now I skip the film and listen to the FTD version of the exceptional soundtrack.

  4. #4
    One of my favorites.
    I love this movie and I love the soundtreck
    'My music is why I was put on this earth' Elvis Presley

    Elvis from Russia
    www.elvispresley.ru

  5. #5
    TCB Mafia P.S. Annie's Avatar
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    One of my favourite movies too. I love the chemistry between Ann and E!. And a great soundtrack too, with some nice upbeat nummers What I'd say and c'mon everybody but also a very nice ballad, Today, tomorrow and forever

  6. #6
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    did ann and elvis have an affair? and if so i heard the colonel told him to end it?
    ADRIANNA

  7. #7
    Walking In Memphis Sonny's Avatar
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    Updated,

    Sonny

  8. #8
    TCB Mafia Princess franny's Avatar
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    here's a clip of the song Viva Las Vegas...
    He looks so good...As always!

    franny

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AdUbcOFET58

  9. #9
    Cadillac King FlamingStar's Avatar
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    This was the first movie i ever saw of Elvis and i loved it All the songs are great and the history is also great
    I remember i was so sad when Elvis lost his money in the swim pool
    Without a song, the day would never end; without a song, a man ain't got a friend; without a song, the road would never bend - without a song.'

    That's why he still keep singing a song

  10. #10
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    "Viva Las Vegas" was the first ever Elvis movie to be released in the UK before its release in America.

  11. #11
    International Level srj1967's Avatar
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    Ann-Margret

    Ann-Margret was the sexiest co-star Elvis ever worked with, hands down. No one even comes close. I think she was the sexiest of all the 60s chicks.

    In the early 90s, I sent her a pic of she and Elvis, and she was kind enough to send it back signed, along with a nice letter.

    It's a pity she never became a bigger star, really.

  12. #12
    Walking In Memphis Sonny's Avatar
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    Updated with movie trailer.

    Sonny

  13. #13
    I love this movie, and it was the year i was born.
    elvislady

  14. #14
    International Level rhythmknights's Avatar
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    this is one of my favorite movies, i can't get enough of it. now then to tthe question i have: i just bought a book from borders ($9.95!!) it claims that there were 3 planned duets between Elvis & AnnMargret, one was cut & one was turned into an Elvis solo. i know that they sang The Lady Loves Me, I've heard the duet You're the Boss, what was the third song supposed to be? did they ever sing it together anyway? or was there even a third song?
    i've leaned that when it comes to Elvis there's as much misinformation as there is information!!
    All I wanted was a white knight with a good heart, soft touch, fast horse
    Ride me off into the sunset Baby, I'm forever yours


  15. #15
    EP BOULEVARD 77 goodelvisgirl's Avatar
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    yep i like this movie its fun and light hearted and the sound track is good ann made me laugh so much with the dancing on the come on everybody song a reall family movie

  16. #16
    Backstage Pass beckyelvis1's Avatar
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    Fun movie, some good songs

  17. #17
    Walking In Memphis Sonny's Avatar
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    Update with new trailer.

    Sonny



  18. #18
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    IMHO, there were other co-stars much ``hotter`` than AM. Such as Michele Carey, in Live A Little; Love A Little. She was MUCH better looking. Also Debra Paget in Love Me Tender was way better looking than AM. And how about Joceline (whats her name) from the movie Tickle Me.

  19. #19
    International Level WHITETIGERMAN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rhythmknights View Post
    this is one of my favorite movies, i can't get enough of it. now then to tthe question i have: i just bought a book from borders ($9.95!!) it claims that there were 3 planned duets between Elvis & AnnMargret, one was cut & one was turned into an Elvis solo. i know that they sang The Lady Loves Me, I've heard the duet You're the Boss, what was the third song supposed to be? did they ever sing it together anyway? or was there even a third song?
    i've leaned that when it comes to Elvis there's as much misinformation as there is information!!


    It Was Today,Tomorrow And Forever........there are takes of it....... matter of fact,it's on the boxed set of the same title and on the FTD soundtrack also.Have no idea what happened to change it to just Elvis singing it.

  20. #20
    Walking In Memphis Sonny's Avatar
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    Re: Viva Las Vegas (1964)

    Update with trailer.

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