LOVE ME TENDER
The first movie Elvis did. Released in 1956 in black and white, and directed by Robert D. Webb, this film also starred Richard Egan and Debra Paget. A Western drama with musical numbers, this film was originally called The Reno Brothers, but when advanced sales of Presley's "Love Me Tender" single passed one million - a first for a single - the film title was changed to match.
Presley plays Clint Reno, the youngest of the four Reno brothers who stays home to take care of his mother and the family farm as older brothers Vance, Brett and Ray fight in the American Civil War for the Confederate Army. The family is mistakenly informed that eldest brother Vance has been killed on the battlefield. After four years of war, the brothers return home and find that Vance's girlfriend Cathy has married Clint. Although Vance accepts this wholeheartedly ("We always wanted Cathy in the family"), the family has to struggle to reach stability with this issue. The subplot of unresolved passion carries the film; it is clear from the outset upon the Reno brothers return home that Cathy still loves Vance, although she is true to the younger Clint. Honor prevails for Vance, but jealousy turns Clint into an irrationally thinking rival for the love of the heroine. In the film's opening scenes, the main plot is presented; the three Reno brothers, serving as Confederate cavalrymen, attack a Union train carrying Federal payroll of $12,000. They do not know that the war ended only a day before. The Confederates come to a decision to keep the money as spoils of war, an issue that will come back into the plot after the Reno brothers return home. A conflict of interest ensues when Vance tries to return the money against the wishes of some of his fellow Confederates, all of whom are being sought by the U.S. Government for robbery. The film reaches its tragic conclusion with a gunfight between Clint and Vance, ironically ending with Clint's death during a final shootout. In the end, the money is returned, the Reno brother's are acquitted, and the other three ex-Confederates are arrested for Clint's death. The youngest Reno brother is laid to rest at the family farm.
My rating: While you have to keep in mind how long ago this film was made, I still found it very entertaining. There are only a few musical numbers in the film but well placed. You also have to understand that all of Elvis Presley’s movies are basically classified as musicals. Maybe you have to be a fan of Elvis to appreciate his films, I don’t know, however, I am a fan so …. I give this a solid 7 Stars.
VIVA LAS VEGAS
This is a 1964 American romantic musical movie that co-stars Ann Margret. By this time in his career, Elvis was already established as the king of the musicals and was doing two movies a year at about half a million dollars each at the time. (Which back then, was a lot of money) This movie is regarded by many fans of these actors and by film critics as one of Presley's best movies, and it is noted for the apparent on-screen chemistry between Presley and Ann-Margret. It also presents a strong set of ten musical song-and-dance scenes choreographed by David Winters, and featuring his dancers, and a reasonably interesting story. This film was a hit at movie theaters, becoming the number 11 movie in the list of the Top 20 Movie Box Office hits of 1964.
Lucky Jackson (Elvis Presley) goes to Las Vegas, Nevada, to participate in the city's first annual Grand Prix Race. However, his race car, an Elva Mk. VI, is in need of a new engine in order to compete in the event. Lucky raises the necessary money in Las Vegas, but he mislays it when he is distracted by a nubile local swimming instructor, Ms. Rusty Martin (Ann-Margret). Soon, Lucky's main competition arrives in the form of "Count Elmo Mancini", (played by Cesar Danova, who attempts to steal both the auto race and the affections of Rusty. (Famous actress, Terri Garr also makes an appearance in this film before she was famous, playing a Vegas showgirl.)
My rating: I also like this movie. I think it is one of his better ones. I like the songs and the dance numbers and Ann Margret. I also like Las Vegas itself so … I give it 7 ½ stars.