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When he completes his military service Walter Gulick returns to his birthplace, Cream Valley, New York. He was orphaned as an infant and grew up elsewhere but always wanted to return to where he was from. He hopes to be a mechanic but soon after his arrival finds himself working as a sparring partner at a boxing camp. Having lost all of his money in a crap game, Walter is happy to take any kind of work but a devastating right hook sends him down a different path. Willy Grogan thinks he has a winner in Walter who, after helping a lady out, is dubbed Kid Galahad. Willy is a likable man but gambles too much and may have been a witness to a mobster's conversation that would best be forgotten. As Walter gains more success, and falls in love with Willy's sister Rose, Willy Grogan finds himself coming under pressure from mobsters to make Walter takes a dive at his next big fight. Written by
Kid Galahad trains for the climactic big fight during the middle of summer, Independence Day to Labor Day, yet when you see all the orange and yellow leaves on the trees and on the ground it is obvious that these scenes were filmed in autumn. See more »
At the start, Walter is fresh from the army and hitchhiking on the back of a moving van (not something anyone should attempt in real life, but it looks good here). And he's singing! Walter arrives in the small scenic New York community of Cream Valley, where he was born. After his parents died he was raised by an aunt in Kentucky (which explains the accent). In the army he worked in the motor pool, and he loves restoring cars, so he hopes to get a job as a mechanic.
Unfortunately, the only job available is sparring partner for one of several boxers training in the community. At least Walter boxed in the army. He isn't that good, until ...
Willy runs Grogan's Gaelic Gardens, which is trying to compete with Lieberman's Shangri-La as a tourist attraction. But Willy has a gambling problem, and Otto and his goons constantly remind him he needs to pay up. Dolly, who used to sing at Lieberman's, is Willy's impatient fiancée, and she helps take care of the place. And Rose is Willy's younger sister and business partner. The minute Walter sees Rose, we all know what's going to happen with them. Of course, Willy turns out to be quite overprotective.
Walter's boxing talent just may turn out to be the solution for Willy's problems. The usual formula for movies like this applies, though, and it won't be that easy.
I haven't seen but a few Elvis Presley movies. But I didn't know what I was missing. Even Elvis admitted (as portrayed on TV by Jonathan Rhys Meyers) that his movies were fluff, but this one was just a little more.
Elvis gives us his usual impeccably polite all-American boy, and shows his singing talent in a few scenes (though this is not what I would call a musical). He is also good at looking tough in the boxing ring, and he really seems to be able to take a punch or two or three. But in the scenes where he loses his temper (because women shouldn't be treated that way), it becomes clear Elvis was hired for his popularity, not his acting ability.
What makes this film more than ordinary is the talent surrounding the King. Lola Albright as Dolly, Robert Emhardt as Maynard, and David Lewis as Otto in particular. I wasn't that impressed with Gig Young as Willy, but he was easy to like.
And I have to single out Charles Bronson as boxing trainer Lew. When he was in pain in one scene, it was truly disturbing. And that's what put this movie over the top and made it more than just the usual.
Ed Asner (from the Manhattan district attorney's office) had a bald spot even way back then! I've liked him for years. I didn't see much from him here to be impressed with, though.
I did like the music, and the classic cars, which of course were brand new or only a few years old. Walter himself liked the vintage car he restored better than I did.
I would call this good, clean family fun, but of course Elvis does get beat up a lot and he does bleed. And there is some violence even outside the boxing ring. But in the early 60s, violence wasn't as big a concern as it is today.
If you like Elvis, this is certainly one to watch.
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