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As weird as this sounds, I've always preferred the Elvis movies that aren't considered among his best. His best include "Jailhouse Rock," "Loving You" and "Wild In The Country." You know, the heavier, more serious early ones.
No, I'll take his later films - you got it, the dumb, stupid, oh-so light ones. Films like "Tickle Me," "Girl Happy," "Spinout" and "Double Trouble." And "Clambake." The plots were always mindless fun and "Clambake" is no different.
Elvis was almost always a moody, brooding loner in the early films. He usually played unappreciative guys with chips on his shoulder the size of the Rock of Gibraltar. The characters in those films are guys I'd have little desire to know.
However, the guys he played in his later movies aren't that way at all. They're nice, decent, upstanding, fun-loving fellas. I like those guys. I like watching them as heroes, as leading characters in fun, dumb little movies. Hence, I like those movies a lot more. I couldn't give a rat's rear about appraising them as serious films because they're not.
In his silly mindless mid-'60s films, Elvis always had a goofy main sidekick. Here in "Clambake," it's Will Hutchins, who starred in one of Warner brothers' classic '60s television westerns, "Sugarfoot." And believe me, Hutchins can goof it up with the best of them.
The two wise, sage, old guys are (1) old pro James Gregory and (2) Bette Davis' ex, Gary Merrill, who, if you really look, often looked as though he hated whatever film he was in.
Elvis' Number One girl, Shelly Fabares plays the gal Elvis competes for with Bill "My Favorite Martian" Bixby. There are also plenty of Elvis Girls around, as usual.
Alas, there are no true classics or any memorable songs in the entire film. Tunes like "High Hopes" clone "Confidence" aren't either.
"Clambake" ain't no "Tickle me," but it's still great fun!
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