The Fourth of July is nearly here, and Turner Classic Movies cable channel has a treat lined up for us Elvis fans. How does nine straight hours of Elvis movies sound? I probably won’t be up for the start of “Follow That Dream” at 6 AM, but I’ll watch “Kissin’ Cousins” at 8. “Spinout” at 9:45 is a must, because it’s another chance to see Elvis and Shelly Fabares together. She’s #1 on my list of favorite Elvis co-stars, and she looks so fine in this one. I’ll skip “Double Trouble” at 11:30, so I can spend some time with the family over lunch.
Then, at 1:15, I will be parked in front of the TV to watch “Live A Little, Love A Little.” Yes, I know this movie was made in 1968 when those last really crummy Elvis movies came out. But it’s so bad, it’s good. Actually, it's a bad movie with so many weird things in it, that it merits watching at every opportunity. “Live A Little, Love A Little,” has been described as Elvis’ strangest movie, and here are some of the reasons.
The first dialog occurs on a beach when Elvis meets the very beautiful Michele Carey, and it takes her just 90 seconds to ask him if he wants to make love to her. Wow. I wonder how many times that happened to Elvis in real life. Carey’s character spends the rest of the movie alternately screwing with Elvis’ mind and coming on to him. About 30 minutes into the movie, Elvis has a fight with two guys. One is his buddy (at that time), Red West, and Elvis really pounds him as the fight ends. I supply my own dialog for this scene: “That’s for writing that rotten book about me, you creep!”
Next up comes the famous dream sequence featuring the song, “The Edge Of Reality.” The movie was made during the era when “trippin’” and “far out, man” were part of the popular vernacular, and the film’s director apparently wanted to connect Elvis to this culture. He succeeded: it is a totally bizarre mess you can’t take your eyes off. The ending has many colored spotlights swirling around Elvis, then shooting in to bathe him in light, and then darting away. Definitely “trippin'.”
“Live A Little, Love A Little” is the only movie Elvis has sex in, but we don’t get to see anything about it. We get a hint before it happens by seeing Elvis remove a board she had used to separate the bed into exclusive sides. The next morning he finds her lipstick note on the mirror, “Thanks for making me a whole woman.” I say, “Phooey. Thanks for not even showing us the foreplay.”
Another anticipated moment in this movie is Elvis singing the original version of “A Little Less Conversation.” The 2002 remix is better, but this version hold up well, and it’s fun to see the origin of the song.
Big thanks should go out to Turner Classic Movies for their Elvis Fest on the Fourth. They’ve done this before and probably will again. Far out, man.
© 2005 Philip R Arnold