Wild in the Country was released fifty years ago in June 1961. It was Elvis’ seventh film and has been identified by many as his last shot at becoming a serious dramatic actor. After his return from the Army in 1960, his first movie was the musical romp G.I. Blues. It was very successful at the box office. Next was Flaming Star, an intense western where Elvis and some of his family are killed off. It did not do nearly as well commercially. The same was true for Wild in the Country, another straight dramatic role. When Elvis returned to light-hearted romantic comedy with lots of music in his next movie Blue Hawaii, it’s phenomenal success sealed his future in Hollywood.
One interesting note about Wild in the Country is that Elvis shared screen time with three beautiful love interests. There was Tuesday Weld as the sexy teenager who was hot for Elvis. The pivotal character in Elvis’ emotional growth in the movie was slightly older Hope Lange as a psychologist. When problems arose with either of these two, Elvis would seek comfort with his old girlfriend Millie Perkins.
Scenes from the Movie:
Elvis and Tuesday Weld Elvis and Millie Perkins
Elvis and Hope Lange
Down Time on the Set:
German Poster Spanish Poster
Elvis Kissing His Co-Stars:
Elvis and Tuesday Weld in a Garage
Elvis and Millie Perkins at her Dad’s Farm
Elvis and Hope Lange in a Motel
Tuesday Weld was just seventeen when she played opposite Elvis in Wild in the Country. Twenty-seven years later she got to be Elvis’ love interest again in Heartbreak Hotel. This delightful movie came out in 1988, and it is the fictional story of a teenage boy who kidnaps Elvis to bring a bit of joy to his troubled mother, a lifetime fan of the King. David Keith plays Elvis, and does a more realistic job than all the actors who portrayed him in the bio-films.
One interesting scene in Heartbreak Hotel pays homage to a similar one in Wild in the Country. This time, Tuesday Weld sprays the hose on Elvis, rather than the reverse as in the original.
There is also an almost exact repeat of a scene from another Elvis movie. Do you remember in Loving You when a surly punk goads Elvis into singing “Mean Woman Blues,” and then starts a fight? Elvis punches him around some, and then decks him into the jukebox. It’s a fun scene and worthy of seeing twice.
Elvis didn’t end up with Tuesday Weld in Wild in the Country, and he didn’t exactly end up with her in Heartbreak Hotel. He had to leave to continue his demanding concert schedule, but Tuesday told him there would always be a room waiting for him at her home. Somehow, you knew Elvis would be back.
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