Most of us Elvis fans have dozens of his movies on video, so we can watch one any time we want. Instead, do you tend to let the tapes sit unused, but never miss it when an Elvis movie shows up on TV? I do. A casual scan of the cable movie options the other night revealed that “Clambake” would be on Showtime West at 8 o’clock. Perfect. Not to be missed.
I happily announced to my wife what I would be watching, and her response was, “How many times have you seen it?” She always forgets that it doesn’t really matter how many times. In fact, with repeated viewings, you get to know the story so well you can start watching for other interesting things. “Clambake” is full of them. It also has Shelly Fabares, who looks so fine. Elvis had her in three of his movies, so he must have thought so, too. Some folks are waiting for Ann Margret’s intimate memoirs about Elvis to be published, but I’d really like to hear from Shelly Fabares
In Clambake, Elvis’ character (very rich) switches identities with a water-skiing instructor. After she falls for Elvis, thinking him to be poor, he shows her his driver’s license to prove his real name. His date of birth is clearly visible, but it is 1940, not 1935. Wonder why they wanted to take five years off his age? Of course, Elvis looks great in “Clambake,” so the younger age seems to fit.
“Clambake” takes place in Miami, and the end of the movie has Elvis and Shelly driving along a beach parkway. Palm trees are clearly visible, but so is something else – mountains in the background. Mountains in Florida??? Now, I look forward to seeing them every time. What a hoot.
My favorite part of the movie comes at the end of a musical number which features something found in all of Elvis’ beach movies – pretty girls in tight outfits dancing around. When the song ends, five of the girls sit down on chairs behind a table. Elvis moves down the line, kissing each one. Wouldn’t you lady readers love to have been sitting on one of those chairs? If you think about it, Col Parker probably missed one heck of a good marketing opportunity on this one.
© 2005 Philip R Arnold