Charlie Rogers is a leather-jacketed biker who's fired from a singing engagement after getting into a fight with a group of college toughs. While riding his cycle to the next gig, an irate ...
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Michael D. Moore
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Charlie Rogers is a leather-jacketed biker who's fired from a singing engagement after getting into a fight with a group of college toughs. While riding his cycle to the next gig, an irate dad runs him off the road when he flirts with his daughter. He's forced to hook up with a traveling carnival until his bike can be fixed. The carnival is run by a tough old broad, a broken-down drunk and his nubile daughter. Along the way, Charlie (who's got a chip on his shoulder about being an orphan) somehow learns about family values from this vaguely dysfunctional one. A scheming rival carny shows up, based on the legend of Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis Presley's real-life manager. Written by
Elvis Presley recorded a song, "I'm a Roustabout", but it was not used and went unreleased. It was rediscovered in 2003. See more »
Several new vehicles in the film, including police cars, display California dealer license plates. See more »
I never thought I'd be running off with the circus.
Let's get one thing straight. This is not a circus. This is a carnival. There's a big difference.
I guess you're right. I guess a circus has elephants.
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Once again, this is an above-average Elvis Presley star vehicle but which, at the end of the day, offers nothing really new; still, I feel that the star’s own performance here is near the best that I’ve seen him give as he is well up to the challenge of playing a relatively complex character: alternately selfish, cocky, rebellious but, eventually, compassionate and even shrewd.
Presley, however, is let down by the plot which, as I said, is not only formulaic and, therefore, entirely predictable but rather sentimental as well, what with Barbara Stanwyck’s carny show forever on the brink of foreclosure; one other definite thorn in the film’s side is the one-dimensional nature of Leif Erickon’s grumpy characterization. On the other hand, Stanwyck’s participation adds undeniable distinction to the film (her role had previously been offered to Mae West!) and lovely Joan Freeman projects the right mix of independence and vulnerability as the heroine.
At least, the vivid carnival setting does provide plenty of opportunity for color, action, thrills, romance, comedy (courtesy of Sue Ane Langdon as a flirtatious fortune-teller) and, of course, songs which are not too bad – “Poison Ivy League”, “One Track Heart” and, especially, the Jerry Leiber-Mike Stoller penned “Little Egypt” – though, again, Elvis has certainly sung better ones in his Fifties heyday.
For the record, an uncredited Raquel Welch can be glimpsed among the college kids in the film’s very first sequence and, unless they didn’t hit it off here, it seems rather strange now that they were never paired together when she became a star in her own right a couple of years later!
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