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Here is an Elvis picture with something for everyone: The King appearing in a dual role as a soldier and a hillbilly, exciting fist-fights, surrealistically phony mountain and forest studio sets, hapless choreography, and gorgeous Yvonne Craig as one of the backwoods spitfires who tries to capture E's heart. The film's true value, however, is that is accomplishes the touchstone of any Presley flick worth its salt -- it contains a scene in which Elvis takes a pratfall into a body of water. In one song, E croons, "Life's a playful puppy/You can grab by the scruff/And if you live every sec, what the heck?/Once is enough." My thoughts exactly.
I think this is a good movie, it does what it is suppose to do make you chuckle and listen to Elvis sing. The cast is totally into the "backwoods characters" they play. Elvis himself (in a dual role) gives a great performance as the backwoods cousin Jody, a Jethro type character but a little sexier and a little smarter. The Air Force pilot cousin Josh is more like the typical Elvis role. Arthur O'Connell is great as Papa Tatem. Jack Albertson(from Chico and the Man fame)was also good as Capt. Salvo. The production was low budget and made in about 14 days. Elvis hated the blond wig. The idea here is fun. Nothing serious just 60's fun.
This movie, tho not one of Elvis' best, certainly isn't as bad as some reviews have stated. Those who say it is Elvis' worst film have obviously never seen "Double Trouble", "Clambake", "Speedway", "Stay Away Joe" and a couple others. The movie is fun, if not brilliant and the blond wig he wore is tacky and a couple of the songs are pretty horrible (Barefoot Ballad). However, the supporting cast is quite good headed up by Oscar winning actor Jack Albertson. It also features the wonderful character actor Arthur O'Connell and Glenda Farrell. Batgirl from TV's "Batman", Yvonne Craig, is in fine form as Elvis' love interest. As for the music, the title tracks are pretty good. "Tender Feeling" is a wonderful ballad and "Catching on Fast" is a lively rock tinged number that goes down quite well. It is also apparent from many of those who did not like the film at all that they did not pay attention as they all claim one of the Elvis characters, Josh, is an army officer. Not so. He is an air force officer. Go back and look folks. At any rate, I've seen every Elvis movie ever made many times and this one is worth a watch.
My rating: 6/10
This movie is all about fun and laughs. Very humorous, with a several good lines [What're you doin' with my face?]. The songs were toe-tapping, up-beat songs with that Elvis flair. Although it did have a very understated plot, Kissin' Cousins was a very enjoyable ride [if you like that kind of thing].
Now, the way I rate movies...This one was great for fun and little thinking, but it obviously was not a masterpiece of filming or anything like that...
Fun for oldies music lovers!
Glenda Farrell was in some of the greatest films of the early 1930's,
including, "Little Caesar," "I Was Fugitive From a Chain Gang,"
"Mysteries of the Wax Museum," and "Gold Diggers of 1935". It was
delightful to see her as a hillbilly mammy in this film. The director,
to his eternal credit, even gave her a song to sing without Elvis. It
was the best song in the film. I wonder if anybody else ever got to
sing a solo in an Elvis picture?
It was also nice to see Yvonne Craig, she because famous a couple of years later when she became a regular on the "Batman" television series as "Batgirl". It was a gimmick that helped save the rapidly fading series for a short while. She was rather adorable and perky in the role, as she was in this movie. Unfortunately, her career went nowhere, except for occasional television guest spots.
Pam Austin also looked great in this film. She became famous for a Dodge television commercial a couple of years later, inviting people to join the "Dodge Rebellion." She starred in "the Perils of Pauline" with Pat Boone two years later. It was quite an amusing and sweet movie, but sadly her career also went nowhere afterward.
We have to remember that three of the most popular television series at the time this film was made were 1) The Patty Duke Show (Patty Duke playing cousins with opposite personalities), 2) Petticoat Junction (rural comedy) and 3) Hootenanny (music variety show). It must have seemed like a great idea to combine all three themes in one movie. The conflicted cousins theme comes off the worse. Air Force Major Elvis is fine, but Hillbilly Elvis just stands around looking grouchy. The Petticoat Junction theme is transformed into a "Little Abner" theme, but there is no Julie Newmar (Stupifying Jones)to focus on. The Hootenanny that takes up the last 25 minutes is the only part that sort of works. It would have been nicer if there was more time for the choreography. It looks like they only had a couple of days to get it together, but everyone seems to be having a good time and it does send the audience out of the theater tapping their toes.
While not a good film, it is fun and worth seeing for Elvis and Glenda Farrell fans, and people who enjoy 1960's television sitcoms. I thought this was much better than the other Elvis film that Gene Nelson directed, "Harum Scarum". That one really is only for die-hard Elvis.
Elvis had to work overtime in this flick because he plays two parts. Did Marlon Brando ever play two parts? Did Montgomery Clift? Did James Dean? Nope, only Elvis could handle such a challenge. Actually I'm not even sure if Brando, Clift and Dean did double duty, but even if they did, there is no way they could be as good as Elvis. In the 1960s seeing double was hot in the television and motion picture business. Hayley Mills, Patty Duke and Bob Denver all took on duo roles in their respective projects. It only made sense to have Elvis do it too. He seems to have fun playing Jodie Tatum since he is liberated from having to play "the Elvis movie character" that he pretty much was forced to do in all his other movies. He's allowed to be a bit of a rascal. Elvis also gets to fight himself which is always fun to see an actor do. The biggest weakness of this film is that Yvonne Craig did not get to play two parts. I wouldn't have minded seeing two of her.
I've seen most of Elvis' films by now, though I do have some more to go... but I think I'm pretty secure in my feeling that KISSIN' COUSINS is surely one of the worst of them all. It's a dumb comedy that's not even funny, with Elvis playing twin cousins, one a dark-haired army man and the other a blond hillbilly. Presley is in the army when he's sent along with his commander (Jack Albertson) to the backwoods mountains to convince his redneck relatives to allow the government to install a missile base on their property. Yvonne Craig plays one of the many hillbilly gals who's sweet on her own cuz. All of the songs here are pretty awful, though the fast version of the title track works during the closing dance sequence. But I was often so bored that I found myself regularly checking out the dual Elvis characters whenever they were in the same shot to see if I could spot the stand-in, who shifts duties from blond to brunette, as needed. *1/2 out of ****
Kissin' Cousins (1964)
* 1/2 (out of 4)
An Army man (Elvis) tries to talk his redneck cousin (Elvis) into letting the government put up a missile site on his property. As you can tell, the big story here is that Elvis plays a duel role and in fact he's the best thing about the movie but more on that later. The rest of the film is pretty damn lame from start to finish with horrible songs and horrible performance. With a title like this I was expecting a lot of Southern stereotypes but we don't even get any of that, which just makes the film all the more bland. The supporting players are all incredibly weak but I guess they knew how stupid the story was. The actual story never really makes any sense, which just makes the film a drag to go through. Back to Elvis, I thought he gave one of his better performances here in both roles. He spent time in the Army so he looked and acted very realistic in the scenes early on when "reporting" to higher officials. He was also a redneck so I thought he pulled the Southern thing off as well but what the hell was up with that blonde wig? The 'trick shots' used to hide The King's double are the only laughs in the film.
Elvis Presley plays Brunet Lieutenant Josh and his Blond "hillbilly"
cousin Jodie. Brunet Elvis has to secure the family of Blond Elvis'
land for an important U.S. Army base. The Elvises wrestle and stuff;
but, they never actually kiss. Yvonne Craig stands out among the busty
mountain women; later, she was one of Batman's TV Catwomen.
The fun in "Kissin' Cousins" is not in the situation; but in picking out the Elvis "double" in the scenes where they both appear. It's fairly easy to spot the fake Elvis. There are a lot of very well-proportioned women in bikinis running around and squealing; today, there are more satisfying ways to find that kind of entertainment.
I enjoyed the song "Tender Feeling"; but, it's actually the song "Shenandoah" with different lyrics. "Barefoot Ballad" is the most embarrassing song. The musical highlight is the song "Kissin' Cousins"; but, watch for the superior version at the end, not the beginning, of the film. The material in "Kissin' Cousins" would make one good music video. As a full-length feature film, it's shameful.
** Kissin' Cousins (3/6/64) Gene Nelson ~ Elvis Presley, Arthur O'Connell, Yvonne Craig, Jack Albertson
Dual role for Elvis doesn't equal half of a good movie. Presley plays a military officer (Josh Morgan) trying to convince distant hillbilly relatives to give up their land to install a new missile base. Josh runs into a blond look-alike cousin; man hungry mountain gals; and an innocent moonshine still. Not hard to tell this is a Sam Katzman quickie production. Very apt cast includes Arthur O'Connell, Pam Austin, Jack Albertson, Yvonne Craig, Cynthia Pepper and Maureen Reagan. The soundtrack album easily generated more money than this flick.
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