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Glen Tyler (Elvis Presley), a down on his luck young man, is sent to counselor Irene Sperry (Hope Lange) to begin battling his personal demons. While under her tutelage a flair for writing emerges. Can she guide him down the right path or will her interference lead to his demise? Written by
I wanna get out of here. I'm young. I want a good time out of life.
Then do it, hun. Paint your toenails red and run away.
It needs a man to go to Hell with, because that's what I want. Hours and hours of Heaven that just slides on down to Hell and we don't care how or when it ends. You're wild, Glenn, just like me. Unhappy wild!
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Funny thing. My local video store had this movie listed under "musicals". If there is one thing this picture is NOT, it is a musical. It is the one valid dramatic effort of Elvis' career, and easily the best picture he ever starred in. He sings exactly two musical numbers, both are fairly natural in sequences in the film. The first one early in the film while riding with sweetheart Millie Perkins (as Billie Lee) in a pickup truck. . . is a bit musical-ISH, if you will, in that it sort of comes out of a stylization contrivance of the film-makers. Yet it is very romantic and sweet. The other one is a serenade to Tuesday Weld (Noreen in the movie) that is very comfortably meshed in with this heartfelt story. Anyway, Elvis plays a young man, Glenn, who comes from a troubled past, evolving from country roots that were wild and unsettled between his father and mother. His father was a lazy good for nothing. His mother, who died in his childhood, is depicted as having been a good hearted woman. So Glenn gets in trouble with the law when he nearly kills his brother in a fight. His father wants him to go to jail, but a compassionate parole board, advised by psychiatrist Irene Sperry (Hope Lange) allows him one more chance with his uncle, where he helps with his uncle's distillery. His uncle has a daughter, Noreen, who has a child but no husband,(wonderfully played by Tuesday Weld) who is kind of wild like Glenn (but also tender hearted). In a complicated plot Glenn has both Noreen and Billie Lee to consider. Millie Perkins, as Billie Lee, is also quite inspiring and sweet. Eventually, as Glenn gets in more and more trouble, he ends up falling for the psychiatrist widow Sperry, and at that point he has more women troubles than any man SHOULD have. . . .BUT. . .it's all good. He gets discovered by the psychiatrist for his natural talent, WRITING! Believe me, the troubles this guy has. . . all of us guys would like to be burdened with. Some of the beautiful scenery from the Smokey mountains in Tennessee is quite stunning. Also, I really enjoyed the natural quality that can never be found nowadays in period pieces from the same era (1961). The cars are distinctly authentic, for instance, not all pristine conditioned masterpieces. I give this movie all 10 stars just from the sweet effort given by cast and film makers to NOT make just another money making Elvis vehicle, but a compassionate dramatic tale of moral strength and sweetness.
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