Top critical review
Great music, great location photography
on April 17, 2012
Movie looks and sounds great on DVD. For those fans who got tired of Elvis "Light Hollywood Musicals" and just waited for something to happen...and happen it did on December 3rd, 1968..can look back at even the weakest of these vehicles and say, it's really not bad and there are 3-4 good songs and Elvis....is Elvis!
This 1960 effort had to be a "down" experience for Elvis, whose previous movie was the exceptionally strong King Creole, filmed on location and featuring a dynamite cast, nice black and white cinematography, mostly terrific songs (albeit 3 too many); here, too, we have "location" shots..but Elvis was not there.
He was probably happy about that, as he had expressed around 1958 that he would not accept a post in Entertainment Services but a post any soldier would be assigned to.
This reviewer assumes that the furthest thing from Elvis' mind in '58 would be making a tired, obvious "Service Comedy" upon his return.
This movie has alot going for it, production numbers professional (though curiously rsique on the Prowse numbers) - plus the songs actually fit the flow of the picture > but the script is almost devoid of humour, and any chance to challenge the 25 year old star goes right out the window. Problem: the writers, powers-that-be, had to make "Tulsa" so likeable that the romantic interest, juliet Prowse, was never REALLY mad at him for using their date as leverage in a bet. No dramatic tension...just, shucks, isn't he the most!
Along these lines, and as in many of Presley's flicks, the viewer does not need a Degree in Cinema to see that certain scenes that should have been done over. Elvis is great in one scene...almost amateurish in the next. All that matters is that Elvis is handsome and has a good beat.
But since it all comes down to Elvis, he looks great, is engaged, and sings his brains out. On one beat ballad, an operatic rewrite, "Tonight is So Right For Love", his range is astonishing. This one, and several others, would have souned just fine on the King Creole soundtrack!
Overall, recommended for Elvis across the board - that new "family" demographic for the superstar; for those '50s only fans, note that Sun Records associate Scotty Moore is heard throughout on the soundtrack.
Finally, the military theme works well and has traveled nicely through the many decades.