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  • Early Elvis that, probably due to distribution problems, is his most obscure. A decent if unexceptional film that contains one of his more popular songs "Teddy Bear" as well as the title tune. It tells a simple tale of a country bumpkin looking for a place in the world and incidentally having a great voice and star power to burn. While most Elvis films except for his worse usually have at least one quality performer, Barbara Stanwyck in Roustabout, Gig Young in Kid Galahad, Angela Lansbury in Blue Hawaii etc., this one has one of the better casts with Lizabeth Scott, Wendell Corey and in the first film of her brief pre-convent career Dolores Hart. A pleasant entertainment.
  • Elvis(now with dyed jet black hair) in his second feature is wonderful and this film is very much a testament to his early acting ability and the raucous sound that was Rock 'n' Roll.

    Whether it was the title ballad or 'Got A Lot O' Livin' To Do' or 'Party' or 'Teddy Bear'-they were all golden hits in their own right. It's fantastic to see Elvis perform these numbers in this film, and one might say heartbreaking to watch as we witness that innocence of youth that was at the start of a roller-coaster ride of centuries worth of adulation and respect(at last).

    Unlike, his previous debut film, 'Love Me Tender', the 'Loving You' story isn't too demanding as we are treated to a semi-autobiography about a working class boy who hits the big time with those good looks, golden voice and shaky leg. The young Elvis handles the dramatic scenes very well as he did in 'Love Me Tender', he's no James Dean but the makings are there. Wendell Corey is great as the band leader and future Nun, Dolores Hart plays it nice in her film debut.

    Another aspect of this movie falls into place in the form of Lizabeth Scott's character who wheels and deals the fate of the travelling show band and gives us an insight into the canny manipulation of publicity that is forever part of an unpredictable business. Did she take lessons from Tom Parker for this one?

    This is truly a great Rock 'n' Roll movie that was beautifully filmed and well-directed, and for any fan of that era has got to be amongst their favourites. On the other hand, if you're not a fan of Elvis or that kind of music, just sit back and enjoy the ride because it's such a feel-good kind of thing, especially watching 'The King' portray a young man very similar in character to himself and goes by the name of an equally distinguished name-Deke Rivers.
  • This film is such a contrast from Elvis' debut movie. Hair dyed black and allowed to show the raw talent that is parallel to his own meteoric rise to stardom in the music business. Elvis shows his acting potential and provides classic music like "Teddy Bear", "Mean Woman Blues", "Party", the rousing "Got A Lot Of Livin' To Do" and the title song. Veteran Lizabeth Scott and the adorable newcomer Dolores Hart play their rolls well and are not hard on the eyes. Scott sees dollar signs in managing the young singer. And also a way to make her long time boyfriend and companion Wendell Corey jealous. Hart is the girl-next-door type that seems ready to shed her innocence with the bump and grinding singer. This movie fills the bill presenting the raw, rough and ready Elvis Presley.
  • First,I am a fan of early Elvis material(1955-59). I believe this movie more than any other shows Elvis at his best. I know that it is dated but that is what I like about it. I believe he could have become a very good actor if proper movie projects had been chosen. Loving You is a time capsule that we will never see again. All give good performances in this picture. Two of my favorites of the 1950's are in this picture. Dolores Hart is great in her good girl role. Also, bad girl Jana Lund is great in her small part. She has been overlooked for her great portrayals of 1950's JD bad girls. I believe Loving You more that any film of its era has the 1950's look and sound right on!! I should know, I was there. 8 of 10 stars.
  • Elvis Presley's second feature capitalized on the King's meteoric rise to superstardom by autobiographically depicting his real-life experiences with some embellishment. Loving You, therefore, provides fans with a sort of auxiliary examination of a working class kid's practically supernatural odyssey from gas station to recording studio -- shedding light on a few of the darker aspects of being famous (such as rabid fans that rob E of his privacy and, even more telling, the tenuous relationship with a manipulative manager who guides his career with iron will). Loving You boasts beautiful color photography, excellent costuming, and a few of the King's outstanding performances -- particularly "(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear."
  • This was Elvis Presley's second film, and the first to be filmed in gorgeous Technicolor. Elvis plays a delivery boy called Deke Rivers, and when a very persistent press agent (Lizabeth Scott) hears him singing, she convinces him to join her ex-husband's small traveling musical entourage, gradually promoting him into a huge sensation. First playing small town gigs and then advancing onward into bigger city shows, Rivers eventually becomes the lead act of the modest group and a popular star in his own right. This movie feels close in spirit to the true story of Presley's own career beginnings, and he gives a pretty decent performance which includes a terrific down and dirty fight scene. The songs are all well chosen and incorporated into the story this time out, beginning with the title ballad and then the hit song "Teddy Bear". The soundtrack benefits too from some heavier rockers like "Mean Woman Blues", "Got a Lot O' Livin To Do", "Hot Dog", and "Party". Truthfully, I can't usually take much of Lizabeth Scott in general, but she's well cast here as the older and very tactical manager, and there's an interestingly offbeat side relationship between Scott and her ex (Wendell Corey). Not a great film, and I do think it could have worked even better if about 15 minutes were clipped, but this is still good, solid, early vintage Elvis before the same tired movie formula became a little too routine. *** out of ****
  • Warning: Spoilers
    A press agent called Glenda Markle (Lizabeth Scott) signs a young hillbilly singer, Deke Rivers (Elvis Presley), to her husband's band in order to boost their success. America's teenagers take to the young singer, but the controversy of rock n' roll music and his troubled past threaten to ruin his new found fame.

    LOVING YOU was Presley's second feature film and his first in colour. It stands as one of his best as he gives a genuinely emotional performance and the tunes are great too. Especially PARTY, GOT A LOT OF LIVIN' TO DO, TEDDY BEAR and not forgetting the title song. The colour photography of Charles Lang is first class and watching the film makes one see that most of Presley's subsequent movies played the same storyline over and over again. Only many of these were becoming increasingly poor as were the tunes, by the time DOUBLE TROUBLE (1967) came out, he was reduced to singing OLD MACDONALD.
  • ptb-826 February 2004
    I know that title belongs to Dolores Gray in another 50s sensation ITS ALWAYS FAIR WEATHER but it could also be applied to the incomparable LIZABETH SCOTT in LOVING YOU....that is if you can tear your eyes from ELVIS in his first color film. Aged just 22 during production this is like CRY BABY for real.....and if only JOHNNY DEPP was as handsome (haha). LOVING YOU is a very good 50s color pop culture film and clearly shows how the early Elvis pix are the best (also like KING CREOLE or JAILHOUSE ROCK) The Technicolor print is stunning and the enjoyable 50s rockabilly tone is perfect. The TEDDY BEAR number is sheer perfection: Elvis+ 1957+ Technicolor +pop imagery + the music.
  • kwbucsfan15 August 2001
    I like this semi autobiographic movie. Not only is the plot strong, but once again Elvis has a strong supporting cast. I particularly liked the character the Delores Hart played. I especially thought that the controversy surrounding Elvis Presley's character mirrored the early part of his career. I give this movie 4 stars
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Elvis Presley commanded top billing in his second movie, freshman director Hal Kanter's "Loving You," but it is Lizbeth Scott who commands the attention. Cast as an ambitious Svengali-like publicist, Scott boasts wattage to burn and outshines Presley. The Herbert Baker & Hal Kanter screenplay, based on a story by Mary Agnes Thompson, amounts to a semi-autobiographical account of the ascension of Presley's nobody singer to stardom. In fact, "Loving You" could be compared with "A Star Is Born" because Presley's star ascends while Wendell Corey's washed-up singer Tex Warner sinks into the sunset. Hard luck toppled Tex from stardom and nobody in the industry has any use for him. Nevertheless, unlike "A Star is Born," "Loving Up" contains enough drama to maintain tension throughout its 101 minutes without immersing its audience in tragedy. Corey and Scott generate credible chemistry as an older couple while Presley gravitates between Scott and newcomer Dolores Hart. For the record, in addition to the eponymous title tune, Elvis performs "(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear" and "Got A Lot O' Livin' To Do" to "(Let's Have A) Party," "Mean Woman Blues," and "Hot Dog."

    The Baker & Kanter screenplay has more substance than you might imagine and the dialogue is far from embarrassing. Presley plays beer delivery driver Deke Rivers, an orphaned truck driver who tools around in his black hot rod making deliveries, and his latest delivery is to a snake-oil salesman on the campaign trail for the upcoming gubernatorial election. Big Jim Tallman (Ralph Dumke of "Violent Saturday") has hired Tex Warner (Wendell Corey of "Cyborg 2087") and his cowboy swing band to attract and entertain citizens so that he will have a crowd to regale with his promises. Tallman also has Glenda Markle (Lizabeth Scott of "Dead Reckoning") on the payroll as his publicist, but Glenda—like Tex—hasn't seen a paycheck in several weeks. When Deke rolls up in his roadster, his buddy touts his singing talent and Glenda hustles Deke onto the platform to warble a few tunes. Tex notices that the guys in the crowd are not impressed, but Glenda spots the reaction of the gals and knows that she has gotten a gold mine.

    Glenda makes Deke an offer to sing with Tex's band for twice the cash that he earns hauling beer. All he has to do is show up in the morning to head out with them. Tex and Glenda are dumping Big Jim because he cannot pay them. Meanwhile, Deke has already had a taste of show business and it wasn't pleasant. The cheapskate promoter skipped town without paying him off and stole his guitar so Deke doesn't jump at Glenda's proposition. Nonetheless, Glenda isn't going to take no for an answer and goes so far as to complain to Deke's employer. She complains that Deke made his beer delivery late and the boss fires Deke. At the same time, Tex questions Glenda's judgment but bows to it because she is the brains behind their publicity.

    Predictably, the women go wild for Deke. One stands up in the audience and yells at him. Later, another girl hides in his dressing room and demands a kiss before she will leave. As they are kissing, Glenda and two newspaper people snap a photo of them that winds up in the press. Melodramatic madness sets in around the last half hour because Tex thinks Glenda has dumped him for Deke. Deke is scheduled to perform in the small Texas town of Freegate, but the oldsters convince the city fathers to cancel the concert. This reflects the tension that existed between older people who didn't like rock'n roll and the youngsters who embraced with a passion. Glenda takes on city hall and persuades the nearsighted politicians to do an about face when she informs them that television cameras will descend on their small town and show the world what a great place it is to live. Suspense mounts when Deke decides in a fit of anger to leave so Glenda takes off after him while the harried television producer parcels out time to interview Deke's fans.

    Eventually, Glenda catches up with Deke and manages to change his mind. The concert is a smash and Deke is set for life, but trouble has been brewing because Tex thinks that Deke is moving in on Glenda. Meanwhile, Deke doesn't realize that their new agent, Carl Meade (James Gleason of "Arsenic and Old Lace"), has sacked everybody because Deke is the only one pulling in the dough. Among those fired is Susan Jessup (Dolores Hart) and Deke has developed an affection for Susan because he can talk to her about things other than business. Deke drives her home to her parents and discovers during a quiet moment what has happened.

    Surprisingly, Hal Kanter didn't helm that many movies. "Loving You" is a good Elvis Presley epic and the action is well thought out. The troubled life of Deke Rivers is interesting, especially his origins when he fled from an orphanage and stumbled into a grave yard when he appropriated his name from a tombstone. Presley never received the credit that he deserved as an actor and he gives a sincere, well-rounded performance that provides him with moments of happiness, anger, and nonchalance. The honky-tonk fight between Deke and Wayne (Kenneth Becker) is staged well and looks rather brutal as they pummel each other with repeated blows.

    "Loving You" qualifies as a good Presley potboiler.
  • Elvis Presley was a hugely influential performer with one of the most distinctive singing voices of anybody. He embarked on a film career consisting of 33 films from 1956 to 1969, films that did well at the box-office but mostly panned critically (especially his later films) and while he was a highly charismatic performer he was never considered a great actor.

    'Loving You' however is one of his best films, regardless of its corny scripting, paper-thin (at times) story and cop-out ending. It also boasts one of Elvis' better acting performances, it is one of his most natural-looking ones where he is not as stiff as he could be and like in his film debut 'Love Me Tender' there is a charm, easy-going charisma and genuine emotional honesty. He also has one of his best supporting casts, with the likes of Lizabeth Scott, Wendell Corey, James Gleason and Delores Hart.

    As to be expected, the music is great, especially the title song, "Teddy Bear" (a highlight scene), "Lonesome Cowboy" and "Got a Lot o' Livin' to Do". Elvis sings sublimely with his usual distinctive timbre and the way he sings and performs in 'Loving You' is quintessential prime Elvis Presley.

    Throughout there is a lot of charm, and as an re-enactment of Elvis' rise to stardom the film boasts some genuinely moving and sincere moments. The direction is solid.

    Production values are top-class too, 'Loving You' was the first of Elvis' films to be shot in colour and it looks fabulous.

    In conclusion, one of Elvis' best films, not perfect but not one to be scorned at. 8/10 Bethany Cox
  • For his second film Elvis Presley plays a young man who is discovered and becomes a singing idol much like Elvis Presley. His discoverers are publicist Lizabeth Scott and has been country performer Wendell Corey. Elvis's success and his issues as a troubled youth cause a lot of issues between Scott and Corey.

    Loving You boasts a couple of big mega hits for Presley, the title song and Teddy Bear. It also introduces Dolores Hart who is a country girl like Presley is a country boy and it takes the whole film to find out they're really suited for each other.

    As for Presley's issues he has a fine scene with Scott as he tells her of his orphan background and how he came to take the name of Deke Rivers. The scene was delivered with a whole of feeling and indicated an acting talent in Presley that later on was never taken advantage of.

    For Presley fans, Loving You is an absolute must.
  • LOVING YOU was Elvis Presley's second film that displayed him at the zenith of his hip-swiveling,nostril-flaring appeal in addition to introducing some of his best songs( including "Teddy Bear"). Elvis plays Deke Rivers, a young delivery boy who is discovered by a publicist (Lizabeth Scott)who decides to make Deke a star. The paper-thin plot is basically a showcase for Elvis to show what all the fuss was about...Elvis really hadn't learned anything about acting at this point, but no one really cared. Scott adds a touch of class to the proceedings as Glenda the publicist and Wendell Corey has one of his better roles as Glenda's beau, who resents the attention Glenda is showering on Deke. Pretty Dolores Hart also has one of her earliest roles as a back up singer in Deke's band who he falls for, much to Glenda's outrage. A must for Elvis fans and fans of classic cinema who can revel in the presence of Lizabeth Scott and Wendell Corey, who make the most of the sparse material they are provided.
  • Music wise you cant ask for better, and Elvis: acting is getting better, the dialogue is a bit corny in places but hey! this is 1957, what do ya expect, Lizabeth Scot , Wendel Corey especially Wendel Corey, this is Elvis; film but Corey steels the movie with his constant wise cracks and one liners, such as (Hey dog, you wanna go to longhorn with me?) and at the end (Lady maam, just call me Tex) I go into fits of laughter every time he says it, Wendel Corey was in The Rainmaker a year earlier, he was good, incidentally Elvis screen tested for that movie too, course he lost out but hey ya cant win em all! incidentally, guys i hope this isn't a spoiler more like a goof that was cleared up before the movie came out, in the Teddybear sequence its been said that it took 28 takes for Elvis to get it right!sign slapstck2000
  • In honor of The King of Rock 'n' Roll's untimely death nearly 30 years ago, I've decided to check out some of his movies like this second one he made called Loving You. In this one, he plays Deke Rivers who was just making some deliveries when a woman (Lizabeth Scott) inquires if there's a singer around. Guess who gets picked! Along the way, Deke meets her bandleader ex-husband (Wendell Corey) and the female vocalist (Dolores Hart). The movie follows the road tours that lead to some big breaks despite some troubles with some teenage girls and their jealous boyfriends looking for a fight. Elvis shows great charisma throughout and has smoldering chemistry with Ms. Scott and a charmingly sincere one with Ms. Hart. It threatens to get corny at the end with a happy ending for all but it plays very believably for the more innocent time that it was filmed in. Certainly Loving You is more preferable to some of the more sillier movies he made in the 60s. Great songs like the title one and "Teddy Bear" abound. Look for Presley's parents, Gladys and Vernon, in the finale.
  • "Loving You", the King's second movie, succeeds by using his own raw personality and talent and a version of his real-life rise to fame as a backdrop; the songs, too, are far better than many of the musical films he would churn out in the 1960s. Elvis himself makes use of his young rebel status as Deke Rivers, a driver who joins a country music outfit and causes havoc with his wild rock 'n roll style. His own band appear (Scotty Moore, DJ Fontana, Bill Black) and there is even a glimpse of Elvis' mum Gladys in one of the audiences.

    In the cast alongside Elvis are Lizabeth Scott as the predatory Glenda, Wendell Corey as her on-off boyfriend and bandleader Tex, and pretty Doleres Hart as the love interest for Deke. The film also benefits from carefully planned Technicolor and some imaginative costumes for Presley to kick start his movie image. Enjoyable and very watchable, and somewhat ahead of its time.
  • Yes it's a middle of the road "Let's love Elvis" homage, but with good good sprinkling of songs. Basically a sentimental semi biog. with a nice performance from Wendell Corey (The man with Steve McQueen's eyes) If your abiding image of Elvis is Overweight Jumpsuit don't miss the last five minutes, the young King's rendition of 'Lot of Livin' to do'with make you sweat-energy, youth and joy. It is one the sexiest two minutes of 1950's hollywood celluloid. WOW!
  • This is among the handful of estimable movies Elvis made ("king creole" " flaming star" "love me tender" ....) The plot takes a little time to take off,but it does not really matter,for Presley's performances on stage are terrific,the songs uniformly exciting ("let's have a party" particularly brings the house down ).You had to be here,but if you were not,this is as close to Elvis the Pelvis you can get;and you will be convinced by Lennon's sentence (without Elvis,no Beatles) after watching it! The supporting cast ,Lizabeth Scott and Wendell Corey are veterans and their Relationship with Deke is more elaborate than usual;the scene in the cemetery -during which Deke reveals his secret- might be the best of all Presley's movies.It was the year before his own mom's death ,and he makes us feel ,particularly in the scene on the farm,how much he loves the family life ,a thing which would always elude him in real life .

    Had he be given decent material to work with,he could have been a really sensitive actor .

    A French singer,fan of EP,took the name of his character as a pseudo,with a slight modification:Dick Rivers.
  • Young trucker Deke Rivers is picked up by an agent, Glenda and taken on a tour of Texas with another musician (Tex) and his band. While he enjoys the singing, Glenda is busy trying to whip up a media storm behind him by paying people to complain and starting rumours about him. Meanwhile Deke harbors a secret past and longs for the simple life.

    The plot os this film very loosely reflects Elvis's own sudden rise from obscurity to worldwide fame. The story is pretty good because it isn't all put on Elvis's shoulders. Instead you could be mistaken for thinking that Glenda's manipulation was the main thread as it is given a great deal of time. This line is interesting because it shows the way the media machine worked back then – shows New Labour weren't the first to use the media in this way! It is quite funny in some places but works best as a drama. How true to life it is in Elvis'' case is anyone's guess but this is quite good.

    The musical numbers save it the most, it has several really good songs and at least one or two everyone will have heard before. Elvis himself looks great – he has a youthful swagger about him and is believable in the lead role. His acting isn't great but he's not as wooden as he can be. Lizabeth Scott (what? No E?) is the best thing in the film, she commands every scene she's in and is really strong. Corey by contrast is washed out and barely makes a mark, but it doesn't matter so much.

    The photography is good and has great colours for the whole film, it may be a little garish at times but it feels like the 50's from the colour and tone. The story sort of wavers bit in the last 20 minutes and the ending is a bit of a cop out but for most it's pretty good.

    Overall there are better Elvis films out there but this has a reasonable drama at it's core and several good musical numbers with the King at his youthful best.
  • Threadbare plot pumped up with Elvis Presley and his rockabilly music, worth sitting through for that reason alone. Delivery boy in a small town is brought on-stage at a community rally to sing by an ambitious female press agent for a country-western band; he's an instant hit, so the gambit is repeated in town after town until the kid becomes a star. The screenplay from Herbert Baker and Hal Kanter, inspired by the magazine story "A Call From Mitch Miller"--as well as Elvis' penchant for shaking up live audiences--doesn't allow for characters; it's just a star-vehicle. Presley's Deke Rivers is haphazardly written: he's a rube, he's polite, he does what he's told, but then it's revealed he has a dark past (and a terrible temper, which flares up unexpectedly). The idea seems to have been to show all sides of Presley's personality (a live-wire on-stage, but modest and trusting in life--until he's pushed too far). Perhaps Deke's personality--a scrubbed-clean boy who doesn't understand the level of excitement in his own performances--but was based on Presley's image, but here it doesn't ring true, especially not with such unsure dialogue and acting. But then, this is nothing more than a fantasy for bobby soxers--a way to utilize Elvis, his moves and his music, that television at the time couldn't do. ** from ****
  • MegaSuperstar12 October 2014
    One of the bests -if not the best- Elvis films. It has it all: nice script, good plot, convincing performances and great songs. Elvis performs some of his great rock 'n roll hits -"(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear", "(Let's Have A) Party", "Hot Dog",...- and Loving You and you can see he's having a great time...so will you by watching this film. Plot is a basic but effective formula: a publicist manager (Lizabeth Scott) of a country group lead by Tex Warner (Wendell Corey) with singer Susan Jessup (Dolores Hart) discovers a local delivery boy singing talent and offers him a contract with them. Soon he becomes more and more successful. But the golden road to fame and fortune is not a bed of roses: fan harassment, love and discovery that things are not what they really seem to be in the showbiz world will test the boy, who should decide what his priorities in life are. Elvis mother Gladys and father Vernon do appear in the final musical numbers as part of the public, sitting by the central passage. An enjoyable film, specially if you are an Elvis fan, you can see him singing and shaking at the peak of his youth rhythm and talent offering us a sincere performance: definitely it's Elvis at his best!
  • This is a semi-autobiographical & documentary like account of the early Elvis phenomenon & what all the excitement was about when Elvis exploded onto the scene in 1956. It's all here with the controversial hip shaking gyrations. This movie is a showcase of the early Elvis persona on stage rather than his acting. He's not given much to work with since he's essentially playing himself so he doesn't need to do much acting. Aside from the fight scene he mainly shines as a singing entertainer.

    Out of the 4 pre-army movies this is my least favorite because his acting is not very good & is overshadowed by the music & the other actors. Lizabeth Scott is the one that really carries the film, her character is very strong & commanding & the driving force that moves the story forward. It's not that Elvis can't act there's just no room to act when he's playing himself.

    Elvis's acting was much better in his first movie "Love Me Tender" because he was a supporting player to Richard Egan & Debra Paget & he was stepping into a role. Elvis really started to shine as an actor in his next movie "Jailhouse Rock" & of course "King Creole". This early on Elvis' acting career still looked promising.
  • Elvis Presley’s second film and his first in color has, on the surface of it, a standard ‘road-to-stardom’ plot which probably mirrored The King’s own rise to fame, though obviously given the Hollywood treatment with an older female press agent falling for him, the singer almost giving up his career at the moment of triumph, etc. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that this occasionally plays like a lighter version of Elia Kazan’s A FACE IN THE CROWD which was actually released a few days before the Elvis movie…although the success story turning sour bit was more thoroughly dealt with in Elvis’ next outing, JAILHOUSE ROCK (1957)!

    Of the four new vehicles of his that I’ve watched so far, this is clearly the most satisfactory what with the pleasant Technicolor, the professional Hollywood handling and a solid supporting cast (Lizabeth Scott, Wendell Corey, James Gleason), etc. The underrated Corey excels in his portrayal of a has-been entertainer reduced to headlining a modest traveling rockabilly act until Elvis joins the troupe that is and, unsurprisingly, steals his thunder; Lizabeth Scott takes some time getting used to here as the scheming press agent but she acquits herself fairly well in the long run and lovely Dolores Hart is the singer whom the public merely “tolerates” but whose charm and modesty win over the troubled Elvis.

    Presley himself is here still full of the raw magnetism which made him a sensation at the time as he belts out one electrifying hit tune after another, from “(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear” and “Got A Lot O’ Livin’ To Do” to “(Let’s Have A) Party” and the title ballad, of course. Actually, it was while leafing through the first edition of Guinness’ “All-Time Top 1000 Albums” of 1994 that I became interested more than ever before in Elvis’ musical heritage since he had an impressive 8 entries in that list, including this film’s soundtrack album and the subsequent one for KING CREOLE (1958).
  • Oct27 July 2007
    Warning: Spoilers
    How cruel the critics have been to Presley's films, with the exception of 'Jailhouse Rock', whose monochrome mordancy is more to their liking than the candy-colored 'Loving You'. Yet arguably the latter presents the century's greatest vocal magus more truly, at least when he was young, green and disturbing teenagers' parents.

    It is not without hints of the temptations that would turn him into a tragic, bloated self-parody. But it gives all due credit to his electrifying stage presence, his modesty and ineffable, courtly charm when a novice idol. You do not feel, as so often in his later programmers, the contempt of the old men jerking the strings for their moneymaking puppet.

    Plotwise, 'Loving You' is little but a sanitised bio. The delivery boy is discovered, at a political rally of all places. He slowly builds a following in venues such as the Haroldsville Lions Club and the Alkali Wells Stock Fair. He is groomed for bigger things by a Svengali (but a husky-voiced female, not a Dutch illegal immigrant with a bogus military rank) and he learns a few lessons about life and love as the fans scream louder and louder.

    So far so obvious. The craft is in the detail. Hal Kanter, who came from Elvis's neck of the woods, writes and directs with an eye to the folksy, C&W background of Deke Rivers's troubled youth: the title song is first performed, not in a theatre full of squealing teenyboppers, but al fresco in front of a farmer's family, with chickens scratching behind our troubadour.

    Deke's main squeeze (Hart) is a sweet pony-tailed innocent, not the wiggling little swimsuited strumpets of the later "travelogues"; Scott and Corey are an on/off showbiz couple with one eye to exploiting their find but another to treating him honourably. There are no real baddies, only hooligans in the diner and bluenosed ladies in Freegate, Texas, readily convertible to Deke's music. Elvis uses his fists only to defend Corey; and he only gets into a big clinch with Hart in the last shot.

    The simplicity of this film has kept it fresh. There are topical gags about flying saucers, De Mille's "Ten Commandments" (a favourite of the King) and the Freegate finale mirrors the concocted fuss about Elvis's gyrations on Ed Sullivan's show; but the period elements do not obtrude. Even the clothes-- Elvis's denims, Hart's blouse and skirt-- don't look nearly as dated as punk or Goth clobber.

    The picture is aimed at a wide audience, lacking the silly juvenile-delinquent posturing that Elvis was made to do later to grab the teens. Since the story makes him an orphan, he has no familial bonds to struggle against- rather he longs for the home he never had, and his mistaking Corey and Scott for surrogate parents (while she is tempted to be more than maternal or managerial) is the tale of his relationship with them. Elvis eventually plays matchmaker like Shirley Temple or Deanna Durbin before they were old enough to have their own sex lives on screen.

    It must have been agony, in 1957 and more than ever soon afterwards, for the mother-fixated Elvis to utter such lines as "My mother's dead" or be told by Scott that "It's time you realised that Momma is never going to come!" During the shooting Vernon and Gladys Presley were summoned to Hollywood, the only long trip they ever took together; they can be seen in the audience in the last scene, and when Elvis comes jiving down the aisle Gladys is among the older "converts" clapping along. She died soon after, and he never watched the film again.

    Presley was lucky that he commenced actor just as the Method was hitting its height of popularity among younger Hollywood denizens: his tendency to mumble, wriggle and stutter seems less out of place than ten years earlier or later. He begins playing every scene with his head hanging or averted, as if mortally abashed; later he grows a bit more confident and relaxed, but this suits the character's evolution. His rough edges as an actor only make one root for him; he projects likability.

    It was Elvis's real movie debut ('Love Me Tender' was a rushed, botched job) and a fair sign of what his stock in trade would be. But for Scott, producer Hal Wallis's girlfriend, it was the end of the road: her career was wrecked by 'Confidential' magazine's innuendoes. Shame- she might have blossomed int another Joan Blondell. That infamous rag also smeared Dolores Hart, who reacted rather drastically by taking the veil, though she still has a vote in the Oscars. Kanter returned to Colonel Parker's circus to write, alas, 'Blue Hawaii': Elvis's post-Army induction into the legion of inoffensive entertainers.
  • Boyo-210 January 2000
    Even if you see this movie just to hear Elvis sing "Teddy Bear" or the title song, it'll be worth it. The story and the other actors are secondary, as if anything could call attention away from the King. He is still completely mesmerizing and this movie contains some of his great moments.
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