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Wild in the Country
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Wild in the Country More at IMDbPro »

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23 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

Not just another Elvis vehicle

Author: emdragon from Reno, Nv
12 May 2005

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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13 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Fine acting and hugely entertaining

Author: Joe-290
5 April 1999

This film is a great movie for its fighting scenes and its music score and its drama and wonderful script. Elvis acts amazingly well with Hope Lange. There is a sadness to the movie when the character played by Elvis starts to tell the story of how he could have saved his mother from dying. It's emotionally sensitive and well made.

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11 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Beautiful babes w/decent Elvis!

Author: shepardjessica from sparks, nevada
28 June 2004

This film (written by Clifford Odets of all people) is one of the better ones in Elvis' track record. The women are all beautiful accomplished actresses, especially Tuesday Weld, Hope Lange, and Millie Perkins. Good story-line involving moonshine and other things important to most small-town Americans.

Not as interesting or involving as King Creole, this movie has qualities and showed that Elvis could have been a good actor if he wasn't doing tripe scripts all the time. This is a normal movie without unnecessary fight scenes or boring young actresses PRETENDING to think The King is a hot guy. Check this one out. Well worth your time for movie-lovers and Elvis fans.

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9 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

I love this movie! 9/10

Author: Aida Nejad from Gothenburg, Sweden
8 March 2009

"A troubled young man discovers that he has a knack for writing when a counselor encourages him to pursue a literary career." Do me a favour: Do not think of this movie as any other Elvis flick, because this is one of the best classic films I've seen. Well, he sings a couple songs to his lovers and he gets into a couple of fights, but here it just doesn't happen randomly. The plot is excellent and Elvis blew me away with his acting. There's one specific scene where he's sharing stories about his dead mother with Hope Lange and it almost brought me to tears. His acting was very natural, as was Hope Lange's, Tuesday Weld's and Millie Perkins'. This is a fantastic movie and I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did.

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11 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

A bad boy tries to find a new life and better behavior.

Author: Michael O'Keefe from Muskogee OK
20 October 1999

A beautiful and passionate screenplay by Clifford Odets. Elvis plays a brawling delinquent with a hidden literary talent. Three women compete for his attention, lust and future. Millie Perkins plays the childhood sweetheart. Tuesday Weld is outstanding as the seductive cousin. The older of the three, Hope Lange, is an understanding psychiatrist trying to lead Elvis' character to college. The songs in this drama are limited, but highlighted by "I Slipped, I Stumbled, I Fell". An emotional performance turned in by Elvis. Some say this is one of his best movies. Watch it again to appreciate.

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8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Elvis does Peyton Place...

Author: moonspinner55 from las vegas, nv
15 July 2007

J.R. Salamanca's book "The Lost Country", adapted for the screen by Clifford Odets (!), becomes decent though somewhat stodgy melodrama featuring Elvis Presley as southern delinquent who shows promise as a writer, counseled by a female psychologist who believes in him. Critics at the time were calling for Elvis to start doing some decent dramatic work, yet when this picture was released it was mostly ignored (it is often cited as the one Presley-vehicle which failed to turn a profit). The females in the cast (Hope Lange, Tuesday Weld and Millie Perkins) are strong screen-matches for Elvis, and the plotting is good when it isn't being overripe. As for the star, he does his typical thing: singing just a few songs, but performing in his usual shy and self-conscious, overly-polite low key. **1/2 from ****

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8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

One of Presley's better vehicles

Author: Bjorn (ODDBear) from Iceland
23 April 2004

Wild in the Country is a solid film and one of Presley's best.

Elvis is excellent as a delinquent who happens to be a potentially terrific writer. Psychiatrist Hope Lange helps Elvis achieve his potential and they slowly fall for each other. Elvis only sings a couple of songs here and therefore, instead of a musical, we get a dramatic story that's well acted by all three leads and is genuinely captivating, only falls short towards the end and goes for a sappy conclusion. Overall, one of Presley's best films and he once again proves what a great actor he could have been. 7 out of 10.

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8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

another great movie

Author: kwbucsfan from Florida
16 August 2001

This is yet another great Elvis movie. It's great to see how a young kid who is dealt a very bad hand in life, with an abusive father and brother, with the death of his mother as a child and being guilty until proven innocent by the town comes out on top. It has good songs, but is not a musical. Again another great plot with a strong supporting cast, with Tuesday Weld and Gary Lockwood to name a few. I give this movie 4 and a half stars.

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10 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Elvis is excellent, as is everyone else, but the film's a bit ponderous...

Author: Shane Paterson from Las Vegas, NV
2 July 2002

This film is a tragedy, to me, in that it basically marks the end of Elvis' aspiration to be a 'serious' actor, an aspiration that he was quite capable of realizing. He'd still display flashes of brilliance in his '60s musical comedies, and he yet had the stellar "Follow That Dream" and the somewhat lesser "Kid Galahad" (as well as some late '60s roles) to come, but this film represents his last successful all-out stab at a dramatic role. Elvis plays a country boy, named Glenn Tyler, who's possessed of an enormous talent for writing -- encouraged by his now-dead mother -- but who lacks formal education and the supportive environment needed to allow that talent to bloom. After a series of run-ins with the law, at least some of them undeserved, Glenn is removed to his uncle's custody and it's when he's assigned a female case worker who recognizes his potential that things really begin to change.

Hope Lange plays the proverbial older woman, a fixture of many Elvis movies. Pouty Tuesday Weld plays a prematurely world-weary teenaged mother who represents the fork in Glenn's road that leads to a life less than what he was capable of. Millie Perkins plays the girl from the 'right' side of the tracks whose father looks down on Glenn and his ilk and who represents a path that would take him firmly into the heart of Middle America (southern style). Hope Lange turns out to be the third path, perhaps propelling Glenn to where he might realize his fullest personal potential. Ironically enough, Tuesday Weld played a woman delivered a kidnapped Elvis in 1988's "Heartbreak Hotel" and Millie Perkins played Elvis' mother in the excellent 1990 TV series, "Elvis - The early Years."

Red West, Elvis' former bodyguard and friend since high-school days, plays Elvis' hood/redneck brother in the film. He acquits himself well, though those of us who don't think that anything could justify his participation in the 1977 'tell-a''' book, "Elvis - What Happened?" might perhaps revel in the sound thrashing that Elvis delivers to Red at the film's beginning. Superathlete Rafer Johnson -- fresh from winning an Olympic gold medal for decathlon -- appeared in this film and Christina Crawford made her film debut here. Other familiar faces include Alan Napier (known to many as Alfred, the butler, in the '60s "Batman" series) and Gary Lockwood (Elvis' partner in "It Happened At The World's Fair"). William Mims is great in his role as the sleazy uncle. Jason Robards, father of Junior, made his last screen appearance in this film. For some reason, the film -- though set in the South -- was shot in the Napa Valley region of Northern California.

This film deals with adult themes and it's perhaps not surprising that both Hope Lange and Tuesday Weld featured in "Peyton Place" properties. I understand that the "Peyton Place" franchise defined the modern soap opera, at least the prime-time kind. "Wild In The Country" is, at heart, a bit of a soap opera. I believe that the film was shot with two or three endings -- at least one had a suicide (can't recall if it was Elvis' or Hope Lange's), but they ended up going with the more upbeat conclusion.

In all, I find this film a bit tedious to watch, perhaps explaining why I've only seen it twice now. I don't have a short attention span, but certain movies make me wonder if I'm developing one and this film falls somewhat into that category. As much as anything, perhaps it's a just a little too soapy for me, though a beautifully-realized film packed with convincing characterizations. Still, to me, it pales beside the excellent "Flaming Star." However, I've seen films far more glacial in pacing and many are lauded as 'art' -- to me they're just boring -- and this one, at least, has Elvis! And, to be fair, it tells a good story and does so in a well-crafted way. The songs separate this one from "Flaming Star," too, though few in number and every one is worked into the script naturally. Two of the songs cut from the film are as perfectly beautiful as the ballad that Elvis sings to Tuesday and were recorded in two versions, one with guitar only (for the film) and the other with added instrumentation and voices. The producers, at least, were trying to get away from the typical 'unrealistic' musical thing wherein music and voices come from nowhere.

In this film Elvis again proved his tremendous potential as an actor, and is totally believable for most of his screen time (he does a great 'drunk' scene with Tuesday Weld, too). The film may not be as solid and tight as "Flaming Star" but Elvis' performance is still very strong and he is again ably supported by an excellent cast. It's nothing short of tragic that Elvis' acting ability would never again be explored to the extent that it was in this and the other 1960 Fox film that Elvis did, "Flaming Star." By the time that Elvis finished the '60s and got around to filming some atypical movies (e.g., "Charro!," "The Trouble With Girls," and "Change Of Habit") the damage was already done and the films were subverted either by substandard scripting or by Elvis' own lack of enthusiasm for what had become, over the preceding seven years or so, increasingly a despised exercise in commercialism. Unfortunately, "Wild In The Country" failed to even live up to the mild box-office reception that "Flaming Star" had generated, and we'll never know how things might have turned out differently had Elvis continued to make high-quality dramas (comedies and adventure yarns, for that matter) instead of the lightweight musical 'vehicles' that largely became the norm. About four months after filming "Wild In The Country" Elvis began work on "Blue Hawaii," quickly to become his most successful film of the 33 that he made, and the rest is history.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Simone Signoret and Elvis Presley!!??

Author: John Mankin (
23 August 2002

Elvis Presley as a hell-raising juvenile delinquent? I don't think so. That's what `Wild in the Country' would have us believe, but in reality he's the only honest and decent male in the movie. He plays a misunderstood young man from a poor white trash background who is sent to a psychologist as part of his parole after he gets into trouble (which he often does through no real fault of his own, naturally). Hope Lange plays the `older woman,' who discovers a budding literary talent in her charge. However, according to director Philip Dunne's memoirs the part was originally offered to Simone Signoret (!). Contemplating this pairing is more exciting than anything that happens in this movie. Miss Lange gives it a good try, but she was only about 3 years older than Elvis. Signoret would have made a man out of him in no time! This was supposed to be Presley's big dramatic breakthrough in a non-singing role, but according to Dunne, the bosses at Fox insisted upon interpolating songs. The movie also suffers from the Production Code censorship of the time (no actual going to bed with Lange, thank you), and Elvis was too nice to be really bad. Considering all the strikes against it, it's surprising that `Country' is still as watchable as it is. Presley is as good as he's allowed to be, and Tuesday Weld also spices things up as the requisite `bad girl' who tempts him. Call this one a `bad movie to love.'

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