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"G.I. Blues" was the first film Elvis Presley made after his release
from the army in 1960, and, appropriately, has an army theme. Elvis
here plays Specialist Tulsa McLean, a tank crewman serving with the
U.S. Army in West Germany. In some ways this film looks forward to the
sort of musical comedies which Elvis was to make later in the sixties.
Many of these had an exotic setting and seemed to function as
travelogues as well as musicals. What Elvis was later to do for Hawaii
in "Blue Hawaii", for Mexico in "Fun in Acapulco" and for Nevada in
"Viva Las Vegas!" he does here for Germany. In 1960 Americans were no
doubt used to films about Nazi Germany, but the country we see here is
not the defeated enemy of fifteen years earlier but America's new
democratic ally, shown as an idealised land of old timbered houses,
romantic vistas of the Rhine, foaming mugs of lager and pretty
Frauleins in dirndl skirts. No doubt the German Tourist Board was
Like most characters played by Elvis, Tulsa is a keen singer, and his great ambition is to run his own nightclub when he leaves the army. In order to obtain some of the money needed for this venture, he accepts a bet that he can spend the night with a local nightclub dancer named Lili. Lili has a reputation for being "hard to get", but Tulsa, like most characters played by Elvis, turns out to be irresistible to women, and it is not long before romance starts to blossom. There are also subplots about romances involving two of Tulsa's buddies, one (Cookie) with Lili's Italian flatmate Tina and another (Rick) with a local girl named Marla. Rather unusually for a light-hearted musical comedy from this period, Marla is an unmarried mother; when Production Code Hollywood dealt with the subject of unmarried motherhood it generally did so in the context of some deeply serious, moralising movie.
"G.I. Blues" was a success at the box office, but Presley' s film career seemed to be going in a different direction when he followed it up with two more serious films, "Flaming Star" and "Wild in the Country", in both of which he concentrated more on acting and less on music. Neither, however, was as successful at the box office as "G.I. Blues", which in many ways serves as a template for the "pretty girls and pretty scenery" type of musical comedies which were to provide Elvis with his comfort zone during the rest of his cinema career from "Blue Hawaii" onwards. The main difference is that "G.I. Blues", musically speaking, relies rather more on rock music and rather less on than the easy-listening style than do the likes of "Blue Hawaii" and "Frankie and Johnny". (The film's best-known number, however, is "Wooden Heart", derived from a German folksong). Elvis's leading lady here, the glamorous, leggy Juliet Prowse, makes more of an impact than do some of her rather anonymous successors, and her role as a nightclub dancer gives her a chance to show off her own dancing skills.
Interestingly this is one of the few films to play games with the normal convention that, except when making cameo appearances as "themselves", film stars are not referred to in the films in which they appear. While performing in a bar Tulsa discovers a record called "Blue Suede Shoes", sung by one Elvis Presley, on the jukebox. I wonder who he was. Other examples of this sort of game include "His Girl Friday", in which Cary Grant makes a quip about his co-star Ralph Bellamy, and "Ocean's Twelve" in which one character's physical resemblance to Julia Roberts is an important plot point. Roberts, of course, plays the character herself.
The banal plot, underdeveloped characterisation and lack of any great acting performances mean that "G.I. Blues" is unlikely ever to be regarded as a classic of the cinema. As with most Elvis films, the interest lies more in the music than in the characters or storyline. At least the film has more heart and spirit than a number of later Presley movies, such as "Frankie and Johnny" and "Paradise Hawaiian Style", and the star himself is more animated and less wooden than he was to be in some of those offerings. And Prowse is always worth watching, especially while dancing. 5/10
A goof. The German for "Fritz loves Emma" is not, as the scriptwriter obviously believed, "Fritz liebe Emma" but "Fritz liebt Emma". After me, class- Ich liebe, du liebst, er liebt.....
Elvis Presley's real-life Army uniform wasn't even cold yet before Paramount got him back on screen with "G.I. Blues", one of those musicals in which the flimsy script can nearly be forgotten in the wake of several wonderfully produced numbers. Group of wolfish U.S. Army soldiers, finishing up their tour in Germany, bet fellow G.I. Elvis he can't get inside cabaret performer Juliet Prowse's apartment and stay all night (she's the flashy European-type who is steam-heat on the outside, iceberg on the inside). Forget the contrived plot and the manic, eyeball-rolling performances and just enjoy Presley's music, with each song staged for a thrilling impact (whether they take place in a train-car, a nightclub, a skyway cabin, or a puppeteer's stage). Filmed in gorgeous color, the picture looks good enough to eat--plus, there's a cute baby, some self-effacing humor, and romance to boot. A bit long at 104 minutes, and the girls-as-targets theme is dated now and tacky, but otherwise this "G.I." is a lot of fun. **1/2 from ****
"In Frankfurt, the G.I. Tulsa McLean (Elvis Presley) bets all the money his friends Cookie (Robert Ivers) and Rick (James Douglas) and he are saving to buy a night-club of their own in USA that his mate Dynamite will seduce and spend a night with the untouchable cabaret dancer Lili (Juliet Prowse). When Dynamite is transferred to Alaska, Tulsa has to replace him in the bet, but he falls for Lili and tries to call off the game." It's a nice plot and the acting was OK, but the best thing about this movie is the soundtrack. The songs are fun, catchy, and Elvis knows just exactly how to sing them. As do Juliet Prowse; for the first time Elvis is paired up with a leading lady who dances and is good enough to be compared with Elvis' character, Tulsa. I recommend this great musical to any Elvis fan.
Sometimes when rating movies I can feel a little embarrassed in giving
certain films a three out of four star rating. Well, to hell with that
-- I flat-out enjoyed G.I. BLUES, which was Elvis Presley's fifth movie
and marked a significant shift in his public image and how he would be
perceived throughout the 1960s while The Beatles and other groups were
taking over. After coming back from his stint in the U.S. Army, Elvis
made this picture which capitalized on that event. He plays a G.I. who
takes a bet with some of his army pals in Germany that he will be able
to score with leggy fraulein dancer Juliet Prowse. Along the way there
are laughs, songs (naturally), and some romance.
Gone here is the young rockin' rebel we'd previously seen in films like LOVING YOU, JAILHOUSE ROCK, and KING CREOLE. Now we have Elvis as the more matured family man, Elvis as the comedian. And you know what? Elvis could be funny! Some of his comedic facial expressions in this are priceless, and the scene where he nervously bumbles about while trying to babysit a screaming child is truly humorous. Regardless of how Elvis himself felt about doing such a film, it doesn't show in his performance at this stage as it would many years later when it would appear he was just going through the motions in these types of formulaic situations; here he seems to be having a good time. The songs aren't superb, but they're fun and entertaining. I personally like the title tune of "G.I. Blues", as well as "Shoppin' Around," "Didja Ever," "Doing the Best That I Can," and - my personal favorite singalong, "Frankfurt Special" (whoa, whoa, whoaaa!). *** out of ****
G.I. Blues was filmed after our boy Elvis came back from the Army, and the
savvy, slick succubus known as Col. Tom Parker wanted to milk that
experience as much as he could, thus this movie.
I must say that it's not a horrible film ("Clambake" anyone?) but it's not his best (and there are so many that are better than this one).
Fun, light programming fare, with cool songs.
I thought that this was a decent movie, I don't know if this was Hollywood's idea of what Elvis's life was like in the army or not. I like the way that Elvis's character backed out of a bet with Juliet Prowse's character so as not to hurt her. His character showed class. The movie was a feel good movie in my opinion. I know the movie is a classic, but I don't think it's spectacular. But still a watchable movie. I give this movie 3 and a half stars.
Elvis was just released from the Armed Forces and like his movies prior to serving, this one mirrors his real life. He gets in some great songs and a great duet with Juliet Prowse on a ski lift. He even shows some good comedic acting while babysitting! You don't have to love Elvis to like this movie, but it couldn't hurt.
Elvis Presley's first post Army movie is an entertaining piece of fluff
which fictionalizes his army career in Germany.
Elvis and his buddys plan on starting a nightclub in the States after their tour of duty in Germany.There's just one slight problem: money!!!. This problem lands Elvis in a bet: That he can defrost an icy dancer at the "Europa-Club".
This was in fact the proto-type of the later Presley-vehicles,which all had a similar storyline to let Elvis romance the girls and sing his songs.It's anyway one of his better films.
Rating: **1/2 of *****
For being one of Presley’s more popular vehicles, I found this rather
disappointing; in retrospect, its “reputation” clearly hinges on the
fact that Hollywood was all-too-ready to cash-in on Elvis’
much-publicized military service (this was, in fact, his comeback
The Berlin locations (mixed in with the studio-shot footage of the actors via process-screen photography!) may have provided novelty value, but the plot was even cornier than usual – with the inclusion of not one, but two, wholly gratuitous subplots involving the individual dreary romance of two of Presley’s army buddies! Statuesque Juliet Prowse is initially played up as a sort of femme fatale but she’s soon under Elvis’ spell – so that, apart from her evident dancing skills, she emerges to be indistinguishable from most other leading ladies in his movies; Leticia Roman, best-known for playing THE GIRL WHO KNEW TOO MUCH (1963) for Mario Bava, appears unremarkably in support (as Prowse’s love-struck Italian room-mate).
Apart from a number of typically rollicking Presley numbers – including the title tune, the soundtrack features the star’s own “Blue Suede Shoes” as an in-joke, “Tonight Is So Right For Love” (which borrows the main theme from Offenbach’s celebrated “Barcarolle”), and even the popular German folk-song “Wooden Heart”!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Elvis Presley's first movie release since his return from military service
in Germany probably had his legion of teen fans swooning in their seats;
unfortunately, it marked for the rest of us the beginning of a decade in
which Presley made essentially the same movie over and over again. Like the
20-odd films that followed throughout the 60's, this fluff is as light and
undemanding as candy floss but with nothing like its
Saddled with a paper-thin plot, Elvis sleepwalks through the role of a Frankfurt-based GI out to win a bet by spending the night alone with a frosty nightclub dancer (consider that a spoiler: now you don't need to see the movie to know how it will all end). He's not helped by a largely routine set of numbers only `Wooden Heart' and `Blue Suede Shoes' are recognisable.
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