Immortal heartthrob Elvis Presley stars as Walter Gulick, an ex-G.I. who returns to his rustic hometown in upstate New York looking for work as an auto mechanic. Ambitious but naïve, he's reluctantlyroped into becoming a boxer by dubious manager-turned-innkeeper Willy Grogan (Oscar(r)-winner Gig Young, 'They Shoot Horses, Don't They,' 1969 Best Supporting Actor). With his loyal trainer Lew Nyack (screen legend Charles Bronson) at his side, the iron-jawed, anvil-fisted Elvis quickly becomes the top-drawing champion "Kid Galahad." But when the mob tries to muscle in on the action, the cool-headed fighter is forced to pull no punches in the ultimate bout to protect his honor and his dreams. Themesmerizing voice of Elvis, a romantic soundtrack, and breathtaking scenery makes this popular musical remake a knockout hit for the entire family.
Elvis Presley tries on boxing gloves for Kid Galahad
, one of his post-Army pictures that still has some fresh air and innocence in it. First spotted crooning from the back of a pickup truck, Elvis plays an ex-G.I. newly returned to his foresty birthplace, where shifty Gig Young runs a boxing camp. Naturally the kid turns out to have talent with the gloves, and a gamblers/mobsters/boxing formula soon kicks in. Meanwhile, Elvis turns his attention to Joan Blackman (from Blue Hawaii
) and Young resists making an honest woman of girlfriend Lola Albright. Charles Bronson, who didn't get on well with Elvis, has a hefty role as an incorruptible trainer. The songs squeezed in around this are humdrum, and even the best ones can't accurately be described as rock & roll. Director Phil Karlson, a dab hand at action films (The Phenix City Story
), gets some savagery into the fight scenes, and the early location work has a nice breezy feel. As for Presley himself, the early signs of stupor are beginning to be apparent; after the enjoyable opening reel he lacks the old spirit, looking understandably unengaged by the material or his co-stars. --Robert Horton