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I like this film. It has everything for a relaxed, stress-free Sunday afternoon entertainment. Elvis Presley, lots of gloriously silly early sixties fluff and footage from the 1962 Seattle World fair. It has nostalgic moments too, like Kurt Russell's famous kick-on-the-shin to Elvis. I only wish there was a bit more footage of the Fair attractions, like the Bubbleator. Perhaps MGM will bear this in mind when they bring out the DVD.
As someone else mentioned, 1963 is still early enough that Elvis
Presley looks like he's enjoying himself in "It Happened at the World's
Fair," which also stars Gary Lockwood, Joan O'Brien and Vicky Tiu.
Pilots Mike (Elvis) and Danny (Lockwood) find themselves without a
plane after it's confiscated for debts due to Lockwood's addiction to
gambling. They hitch a ride to Seattle with a man and his 7-year-old
niece Sue-Lin (Tiu), and Mike ends up taking the little girl to the
1962 World's Fair. When she eats too much junk, he takes her to the
clinic, where he meets Diane Warren (Joan O'Brien), a nurse. He comes
on a little strong - so strong, I'm surprised she didn't call security.
In order to see her again, he gives a little boy (Kurt Russell) a
quarter to kick him in the shins.
After he return Sue-Lin to her uncle, she finds Mike again when her uncle doesn't come home from making a delivery. Mike now has to cope with a not very helpful partner, trying to think of a way to get his plane back, romancing Diane and taking care of a 7-year-old girl.
This is the usual Elvis travelogue, but more interesting than others because it's shot on the grounds of the Seattle World's Fair and has that iconic moment when future brilliant Elvis impersonator Russell lets him have it in the shins. Elvis looks great and as usual sings beautifully. The music is pretty good. This wasn't the film career Elvis wanted but unfortunately for his ambitions, these films made money. Enjoyable.
For me, this is one of Elvis' more enjoyable early-'60s "formula" films, partly because at this point it was still early enough that Presley still seemed to pretty much have his heart in it and is not yet bored by it all. He's an out-of-work pilot named Mike Edwards who finds himself saddled with babysitting a sweet little girl (Vicki Tui - very cute and a fine little actress) at the 1962 Seattle World's Fair when her dad drops her off and then disappears. While seeing the sights, Elvis makes the acquaintance of a lovely nurse whom he keeps trying to snare, and this necessitates a hilarious and oft-cited scene with a very young Kurt Russell as a kid at the fair who agrees to kick Elvis hard in the shin for a quarter; it's a short sequence but it's a lot of fun, and quite ironic since Russell would wind up playing Presely himself in a 1977 TV movie. This one's got laughs, romance, and also some of the best trademark Elvis fist-fighting (it's amazing to me that he would be allowed to do his own stunts in these movies where he could easily have gotten injured). Oh yeah -- and there are more songs -- quite a few of them, actually -- but only "One Broken Heart For Sale" was of moderate interest for me. *** out of ****
Taking advantage of the Seattle World's Fair, frequent Presley director Norman Taurog does his best to spice up an otherwise routine programmer in which Elvis ends up the reluctant guardian of a cute little girl who has been separated from her folks. Chief among the delights that transcend the vanilla flavor of the picture is a scene between The King and scorching supernova Yvonne Craig in which the former croons the tune "Relax" while the latter deftly evades his prowling lips and paws. The mercury reaches the boiling point in record time, and fans of the gorgeous Craig will be transformed into Tex Avery's wolf, whistling vigorously, stomping on the floor, and bashing themselves repeatedly in the head with a large mallet.
ELVIS PRESLEY gets to sing several non-memorable songs, the best of
which is "One Broken Heart for Sale", but IT HAPPENED AT THE WORLD'S
FAIR is strictly standard Presley stuff wherein the guy has his eye on
a pretty gal (JOAN O'BRIEN) and makes a pitch, the sort that turns her
off at first. Predictably, after a few misunderstandings involving a
small girl abandoned at the fair, a happy ending is soon in sight.
The music by Leith Stevens is pleasant enough and the fair grounds at the 1962 Seattle World's Fair make colorful backgrounds for the slight story. GARY LOCKWOOD is Elvis' pilot pal, both of them down on their luck but seeming to spend plenty of money on the fair and decent lodgings. The sub-plot involving both bachelors entrusted with the care of a seven year-old by a complete stranger is more than a little improbable, especially given today's public awareness of children being taken advantage of by adults with criminal behavior.
Presley shares some effective scenes with the little girl but has his standard "boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy wins girl" routine with leading lady O'Brien, a pert blonde who plays a nurse who suspects him of feigning illness as a part of his wolf routine. Naturally, the little girl is responsible for bringing them together again after a few silly misunderstandings keep them apart.
Nothing special, but passes the time pleasantly whenever Elvis sings, which is pretty often.
Enjoyable but standard Elvis fare with Elvis girl-hunting and babysitting
the World's Fair in Seattle. Songs are a bit too cutesy, reflecting the
shift in Elvis' image since his return from Germany. Fun story, though,
a fun song with Yvonne Craig. Douglas appears in a very early role as a
who kicks Elvis on the shin -- twice. Lockwood is, as always, sufficient.
Fans of Expos and World's Fairs (any others of us out there?) should be
pleased to see so much footage of the excellent grounds and exhibits that
graced the Seattle Expo.
The 1962 World's Fair is the eye filling backdrop for this typical Elvis Presley project. Elvis and his flying buddy (Gary Lockwood) have their plane confiscated. Trouble occurs with involvement with gamblers and gangsters. Elvis befriends a little 7 year old girl that wants to go to the fair. Elvis uses the girl and a little boy (Kurt Russell) to aid him in romancing the infirmary nurse (Joan O'Brian). Ten light and whimsical tunes make up a pleasant soundtrack featuring "One Broken Heart For Sale". A small scene with Yvonne Craig could scorch a ten ton block of ice. This may be the hardest of the Elvis movies to find on home video. Worth seeing!
Enjoyed this Elvis Presley film where he plays the role as Mike Edwards who is down on his luck and meets up with a sweet little girl named Sue-Lin, (Vicky Tiu) who likes Mike and he agrees to watch her while her uncle takes care of his business affairs. Mike takes Sue-Lin to the Seattle World's Fair and they take in all the rides and Sue-Lin also wins a huge doll which is larger than she is. Mike buys Sue all kinds of food at the fair and she gets sick and is taken to a hospital where Mike runs into a very attractive blonde nurse, Diane Warren, (Joan O'Brien) who puts the make on her and Diane quickly brushes Mike off. Elvis performs various songs which were not very popular and this was not necessarily a great Presley film, but the story was very cute and if you missed the Seattle World's Fair, you will enjoy all the photography taken at the fair.
This enjoyable Elvis musical tells an entertaining story of Mike and Danny, two crop duster gamblers who somehow need to get to the World's Fair. That was never really explained, but that is where It Happened so we'll let that go. They hitch a ride with their friend Uncle Walter, who, as his name suggests, has a niece, a very cutieeeeeeeee Asian girl named Sue-Lin. After they get to the World's Fair, Uncle Walter unavailable to attend so f course Elvis takes Sue-Lin, where she wins a giant stuffed dog as big as herself, gets sick, seeks medical attention so Elvis can meet Nurse Diane at the World's Fair, where It Happened. Notable guest stars include a young Kurt Russell, and Yvonne Craig who was Batgirl in the 60s TV series Batman. You get to see Elvis spend quality time with Sue-Lin and sing her a Lullabye, and you know scenes with Elvis and kids are touching and heartwarming. The film may have been kind of an infomercial for the World's Fair in its day, or the Space Program maybe? After the fact, it is a pop culture footnote to it. Oh, and one more thing. If you really have to get to the top of the Space Needle right away and someone tells you to get to the back of the line, it REALLY helps to be with Elvis Presley in an Elvis movie. They let you right through!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Finally available on DVD in its original widescreen format and a
digital transfer that is sharp and crisp, this film looks a lot better
than I remember it from when I first saw it on TV as a kid. Although
not one of Presley's best, It Happened at the Word's Fair is an
enjoyable, if formulaic, story set against the Seattle World's Fair.
One of the first films to include the Space Needle, it provides a
glimpse into Seattle's not too distant past.
The film finds Elvis as Mike Edwards, an out-of-work pilot, who finds himself stuck babysitting a young girl (Vicki Tui, now the first lady of Hawaii) at the fair. The character of Mike could be any number of characters played by Elvis he is down on his luck, not afraid of trouble, and most importantly good with the ladies. This film tries to include something for everyone: an adorable child, Elvis, sexy women, Elvis, danger in the wake of his partner Danny's (Gary Lockwood) gambling problems, and more Elvis. Thankfully it is still early in his film career and Elvis appears fresh and in good form not bored to distraction with playing the same basic character as we find in his later films.
Noteworthy in this film is the steamy (okay maybe a little more schmaltzy than steamy, but it was the early sixties after all) scene early on with Yvonne Craig. The future Catwoman plays cat and mouse with Elvis while he sings the appropriately titled song "Relax." Elvis seems to have more chemistry here than he does with Joan O'Brien, the main love interest.
The music although not as great or catchy as Blue Hawaii or Jailhouse Rock is appropriate and not over done. The songs fit the action and those with the young girl seem natural and are the most touching. "How Would You Like to Be" is probably the best song from the set. The delightful song is sure to lift any pouting child's spirit.
With decent acting and directing, the film is quite enjoyable for Elvis fans, and quite tolerable for non fans. And, of course, the screen debut of Kurt Russell (he'd later go on to play Elvis) in which he kicks the King is worth seeing just for the irony.
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