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Elvis Presley made many movies during the 1960s and indeed really longed to be a serious actor. Sadly the films he agreed to make did not allow for this, and indeed many of the films were very poor. However in 1964 he made one of his best movies ever, VIVA LAS VEGAS.
In this film he plays a race car driver, Lucky Jackson, who gets involved with a beautiful girl named Rusty (played by Ann-Margret). It is this partnership, Elvis and Ann-Margret, which really makes this film a gem. The story is no great shakes, and some of the music is very woolly, although some songs are great, notable the title song and Elvis' duets with Ann-Margret. But the chemistry between these two stars is palpable, and it is no surprise to learn that the two were also involved off-screen as well as on, despite the fact that Elvis had Priscilla waiting for him back at Graceland (this was before they were married).
This really is a wonderful film and if you are trying to convert any non-Elvis lovers to the cause, then you won't go far wrong showing them this movie. Highly recommended.
It's pretty tough to beat Jailhouse Rock in terms of sheer entertainment, but Elvis lovers are particularly fond of this 1964 hit. The Big E plays race-car driver Lucky Jackson, who arrives in Las Vegas for an upcoming Grand Prix race. Lucky's car needs a new engine, so he gets a waiter job at a casino and starts working his crooning charms on Rusty Martin (Ann-Margret). It's their on-screen chemistry that makes this flick a lot of fun; Presley never had a better co-star than Ann-Margret, and their race-car romance is quintessential 1960s fluff. Then there are the songs, of course, including the snappy title tune, a rockin' rendition of Ray Charles's "What'd I Say?" and "The Yellow Rose of Texas". Viva Las Vegas is one of the Elvis movies that stands the test of time, when the legend was still at his peak. --Jeff Shannon