It is getting ridiculously cheap to buy second-hand DVDs in Leith’s charity shops. I can’t control myself. I thought the Blu-Rays of BICYCLES THIEVES, GREMLINS, PASOLINI and FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE, all less than a pound, were insane bargains, but the biggest may have been the Polanski box set for 25p, working out at 5p per Polanski. Then again, when I tried to give away my resulting PIANIST duplicate copy, none of my students had a machine that could play discs.

One recent bargain was VIVA LAS VEGAS, which I recalled had zestful musical numbers, staged by George Sidney with proper MGM gusto and glitz. Fascinating to think you could see this and A HARD DAY’S NIGHT in the same year. And you still don’t have to choose.

This is certainly one of the best Elvis pics (I should see the Curtiz), and while the music isn’t exactly rock ‘n’ roll, it’s at least lively and not the lugubrious, glutinous ballad stuff that oozed from the Presley lips in other movies.

They have eye-tracking software, don’t they, that can record where a viewer is looking in a given shot? I must never allow myself to be subjected to such a procedure while watching The Lady Loves Me (But She Doesn’t Know It Yet) number in this picture. I could just about survive Ann-Margret’s entrance in the picture with my reputation intact, first seen from under a car as a pair of disembodied legs, the camera then sliding forward as grease-monkey EP and his buddy ease themselves out from under on their aptly-named car creepers (those trolley things you lie on when inspecting your undercarriage) to slowly reveal more and more of the Swedish torso, ending on the girlish/predatory grinning face and amber locks. When she then walks THROUGH the camera at navel level, the lens somehow emerging from her butt as she walks away (“director as proctologist,” someone said) I can plead innocent because the angle isn’t exactly giving us any choice where to look.No, it’s the swimsuit scene that would get me in trouble. Elvis, though impossibly-beautiful and eerie-looking, has a somehow mask-like face, even though it’s clearly mobile — he’s an uncanny valley mo-cap creature — “Elvis was behind a sheet of glass,” said Sidney — so I turn to the animated, perhaps over-animated Ann-Margret, who Sidney was evidently smitten with. And then I’m in trouble.

11 Responses to “Poolsideburns”

  1. One of Sidney’s best. It’s not “The Harvey Girls” but Elvis and Ann-Margret doing “What Did I Say?” is indescribably delicious.

  2. It makes sense that they wrote ithe script in ten days, but the effort that went into the numbers was well spent

    Toni Basil is featured dancer and co-choreographer, and I love the head-on close-ups: Ozu goes pop!

  3. La Faustin Says:

  4. Yes, TG was great pals with Toni B (go-go girls together) so it makes sense she’d turn up.

  5. “You must lead a charming life,” as Roy Scheider says in The French Connection.

  6. chris schneider Says:

    “It whistles.” Compare to the scene in THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL where Montalban shows Douglas a girl in a car and offers to let him take a test drive — not specifying whether it’s the girl or car he’s referring to (Hope I’m remembering correctly.)

  7. Does he make any great claims for the upholstery? Corinthian leather? (I don’t know how I know Montalban flogged leather in TV ads in the US, I just do.)

  8. That’s Gilbert Roland, not Ricardo Montalban, in The Bad and the Beautiful.

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