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Elvis plays Clint Reno, one of the Reno brothers who stayed home while his brother went to fight in the Civil War for the Confederate army. When his brother Vance comes back from the war, he finds that his old girlfriend Cathy has married Clint. The family has to struggle to reach stability with this issue. Vance is involved in a train robbery, while a Confederate soldier, of Federal Government money. There is a conflict of interest, when Vance tries to return the money, against the wishes of some of his fellow Confederates. Written by
Pat McCurry <email@example.com>
My guess would be that the story for Love Me Tender was probably laying around the offices at 20th Century Fox and would have been a B western starring Richard Egan. In fact the original title was in fact The Brothers Reno.
But along came Elvis Presley and when Darryl F. Zanuck signed him for his feature film debut the story had to be reworked to accommodate his presence. Of course four songs had to be added, including the title tune, which was a rewording of the famous Civil War era ballad Aura Lee.
The Reno brothers, Richard Egan, James Drury, and William Campbell go to war, enlisting in the Confederate Army. The youngest brother Elvis Presley stays home to take care of Mother Reno, played by Mildred Dunnock and the family farm. When it's reported that Egan was killed, fiancé Debra Paget marries Elvis.
Of course all three Reno brothers return, sound of wind and limb. The day after the Civil War ended, the brothers and others rob a Yankee paymaster and split the money.
They're outlaws now, but a reasonable carpetbagger administrator played by Robert Middleton is willing to forgive and forget if he gets the money back. That and the return of Egan lead to the ensuing conflicts in Love Me Tender.
I have no doubt that Colonel Tom Parker chose this particular screen property for his star and as usual Colonel Tom chose well. The southern civil war background of the story made perfect casting for Elvis. Of course his hip wiggling gyrations in the post bellum South seem out of place, but that's what the ticket buyers to an Elvis film wanted.
And he certainly sang Love Me Tender real good.
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