Elvis Presley: The Hollywood Collection – DVD Review

Available at Amazon.com

Kissin’ Cousins
Directed By:
Gene Nelson

Cast:
Elvis Presley. Josh Morgan/Jodie Tatum
Arthur O’Connell. Pappy Tatum
Glenda Farrell. Ma Tatum
Jack Albertson. Capt. Robert Jason Salbo
Pamela Austin. Selena Tatum
Cynthia Pepper. Cpl. Midge Riley
Yvonne Craig. Azalea Tatum

Warner Bros. presents Kissin’ Cousins. Written by Gerald Drayson Adams and Gene Nelson. Story by Gerald Drayson Adams. 96 minutes. Not Rated. Original released in 1964.

Girl Happy
Directed By:
Boris Sagal

Cast:
Elvis Presley. Rusty Wells
Shelley Fabares. Valerie
Harold J. Stone. Big Frank

Warner Bros. present Girl Happy. Written by Harvey Bullock and R.S. Allen. 96 minutes. Not Rated. Original released in 1965.

Tickle Me
Directed By:
Norman Taurog

Cast:
Elvis Presley. Lonnie Beale
Julie Adams. Vera Radford
Jocelyn Lane. Pamela Meritt

Warner Bros presents Tickle Me. Written by Elwood Ullman and Edward Bernds. 91 minutes. Not Rated. Original released in 1965.

Stay Away, Joe
Directed By:
Peter Tewksbury

Cast:
Elvis Presley. Joe Lightcloud
Burgess Meredith. Charlie Lightcloud
Joan Blondell. Glenda Callahan
Katy Jurado. Annie Lightcloud

Warner Bros. present Stay Away, Joe. Written by Michael A. Moey. Based on the novel by Dan Cushman. 101 minutes. Not Rated. Original released in 1968.

Live A Little, Love A Little
Directed By:
Norman Taurog

Cast:
Elvis Presley. Greg Nolan
Michele Carey. Bernice/Betty/Suzie/Alice
Rudy Vallee. Louis Penlow
Don Porter. Mike Lansdown
Dick Sargent. Harry Baby

Warner Bros. present Live A Little, Love A Little. Written by Michael A. Hoey and Dan Greenburg. Based on the novel “Kiss My Girm But Pliant Lips” by Dan Greenburg. 89 minutes. Not Rated. Original released in 1968.

Charro!
Directed By:
Charles Marquis Warren

Cast:
Elvis Presley. Jess Wade
Ina Balin. Tracey Winters
Victor French. Vince Hackett

Warner Bros. present Charro!. Written by Charles Marquis Warren. Story by Frederic Louis Fox. 98 minutes. Not Rated. Original released in 1969.

Warner Bros. presents Elvis Presley: The Hollywood Collection. 6 films on 6 DVDs.

The Films:

It seems everyone is trying to cash in on the 30th anniversary of The King’s passing. Every one of his films is being re-released, the good, the bad and the so bad they’re good. Sadly, this collection consists mostly of the bad.

The first film in this collection is Kissin’ Cousins, which is a very strange film indeed. Elvis busts out all his acting chops as he takes on two roles as distant twin cousins Josh Morgan and Jodie Tatum. The military wants to rent the top of a mountain to build a missile silo, but the crazy-old mountain folk don’t want anything to do with that. So the military find private Josh Morgan who was born in the area. It turns out he is a distant cousin of the Tatum family that owns the mountain. As Josh tries to convince the family to rent their mountaintop, he starts to fall for one of his distant cousins, Selena (Austin). The strangest part of this film is the horde of sex-starved girls who attack any man they see. This is a very by the numbers Elvis movie, with some lifeless songs and predictable plot. This is certainly not one of The King’s better films.

In Girl Happy, Elvis plays Rusty Wells, a musician who performs in nightclubs in Chicago. As spring break rolls around, Rusty and his band are itching to get down to Ft. Lauderdale for sun, skin and fun. Their boss hires them to go down there and keep his daughter out of trouble. Once down there, they realize they’re in over their heads when they see Valerie (Fabares) and realize she’s a fox. After that the hijinks ensues as Rusty and crew do everything in their power to keep the men away from her while trying to score chicks themselves. As one might expect Rusty ends up falling for Valerie and that’s when the trouble really starts. This is a silly fun Elvis movie and easily the best in the collection.

Following that we have Tickle Me. This time around Presley is Lonnie Beale, a rodeo cowboy looking for work until the season starts. He ends up getting a job at a spa for actresses and models. So when Lonnie breaks into song, all the bikini-clad beauties come a-runnin’. Of course the one girl he falls in love with is the one doesn’t want anything to do with him; or does she? Again, another lackluster Elvis film. Although to The King’s credit, he is able to hide his disgust for the film project really well. Even when he’s singing those dreadful songs, he’s doing it with everything he’s got.

This reviewer can’t claim to have seen every Elvis movie. Nevertheless, Stay Way, Joe, is easily his worst film. A few words come to mind when reflecting on film: atrocity, abomination, insulting, just to name a few. Elvis plays Joe Lightfoot, a down on his luck Native American. Now Elvis playing an Native American is Elvis playing his typical “Elvis character” with a lot of make up to darken his skin. The plot is just so absurd I can’t even bother to go into it. Although it seems worth mentioning that the film ends with a painfully long fight with a catalogue sound effect right out of a Looney Tunes cartoon. These sound effects appeared nowhere else in the film but for some reason the filmmakers decided they should go here. Why, Elvis? Why?

The doldrum-fest continues with Live A Little, Love A Little. Here we have Elvis playing Greg Nolan, a photographer. When Greg meets scatterbrained beach bunny Bernice (Carey) he winds up losing his job and getting kicked out of his home. When Bernice pays Greg’s back rent and gets him a new place, he takes it upon himself to get two jobs to pay her back. The only problem both these jobs are 9 to 5. So Greg spends his time running from a stuffy advertising agency to a laid back nudie magazine. Predictable zaniness ensues and Greg manages to fit a few songs into his tight schedule. About the best thing that can be said for this film is that it contains one of The King’s best songs from this era, “A Little Less Conversation.” That and Dick “Bewitched” Sargent plays Elvis’s rival for the affections of Bernice.

It’s a well-known fact that Elvis wanted nothing more than to act in a film where singing was not a requirement. He wanted to be taken seriously as an actor. He finally got that chance in 1969 with one of his last films, Charro! The only Elvis song in the film is the title track and is not sung by his character in the film. While is might not be the definitive western that Elvis wanted it to be, it is most certainly a refreshing change for all of his other light and fluffy musicals. In Charro! Elvis plays Jess Wade. Wade is wrongly accused of stealing a cannon from the Mexican revolutionary forces. Wade must clear his own name and put a stop to the real culprits. You can tell Elvis really loved making this film. He sports a gritty beard the whole time, thus completely shattering his pretty boy persona. This is the film Elvis always wanted to make, sadly it’s just another sub-par Elvis movie.


A gritty Elvis in his one and only non-singing role.

Kissin’ Cousins: 4.5
Girl Happy: 7.5
Tickle Me: 4.5
Stay Away, Joe: 2.5
Live A Little, Love A Little: 3.5
Charro!: 5

The DVD:

The Video:

All these films are presented in 2.35:1 widescreen. For Charro! and Tickle Me this is the first time these films have been released in their original theatrical format. The transfers are pretty good. All the bright vibrant colors really jump off the screen, which is nice, but there’s a little dirt on the screen, a few scratches so it’s not perfect.

The Audio:

All the films are presented in Dolby Digital Mono. The films sound really good. The songs are crisp and clear as is most of the dialog, but some of the sound effects can get a little muddy from time to time. Nothing too distracting though.

Extras:

Each disc has the Original Theatrical Trailer for the film in question as well as trailers for other Elvis films. You know, the good ones, not included in this set. Girl Happy and Kissin’ Cousins each include a song that is appearing on DVD for the first time. Up until now the films had been edited from their original theatrical versions.

Also, each film comes with five postcards, one color movie poster and four black and white film set stills. All of these are rather nice.

The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for
Elvis: The Hollywood Collection
CATEGORY
RATING
(OUT OF 10)
THE MOVIES

4.5
THE VIDEO

7
THE AUDIO

7
THE EXTRAS

2
REPLAY VALUE

3
OVERALL
3.5
(NOT AN AVERAGE)

The Inside Pulse
With Girl Happy being the best of the bunch you should well know that this is not The King’s best work. The other recently released Lights! Camera! Elvis! Collection is far superior. Rent these if you’re curious but leave the purchasing to The King completists.

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