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|Index||39 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I've been an Elvis Presley fan since the age of 6 - that's almost 30 years, and yet I only saw 'Clambake' for the first time last week then again just before. What's the old proverb of waiting so long for a bus and then... I'd always been put off buying or even watching 'Clambake' due to the poor reviews it's always had from pretty much EVERYBODY Elvis himself and members of the support cast. But I was pleasantly surprised by it! Again, I don't think it's as bad as other films he did like "Tickle Me", "Frankie and Johnny", "Harum Scarum", "Blue Hawaii", "Girls! Girls! Girls!", "The Trouble with Girls" or the three westerns...maybe it's merely timing. One thing I can agree on is that Elvis looks his worst than in any movie he made for the first half of the movie, which was filmed when Elvis was not in good health, spirits and subsequently had a nasty fall at Graceland that suspended filming for 6 weeks in which he was told to recover (and get himself straight) - thus the second half of the film you see a much fresher, healthier, better looking Elvis although the obvious use of diet pills is...well that's another debate away from the movie that Elvis fans will have long and hard. I think this is a decent movie. I once heard dancing extra Terri Garr brand 'Clambake' as "a movie about nothing.",,,but...it is about something? It builds up toward a power boat race at the end, to which Elvis (Scott Haywood) is rebuilding a damaged boat from the year before, and win over Shelley Fabaras (Dianne Carter) - in her third Presley movie. It has the interesting sub plot of Haywood meeting a cash strapped Tom Wilson at a garage at the start of the film. Elvis/Haywood is playing the son of an oil billionaire and is concerned that women are only interested in him for his money rather than his personality. The skint Wilson wants the women but they're not interested in him because he has no money or that rich lifestyle...so en route to Miami, the two men decide to travel together, swap identities and vehicles and "see how the other half lives" which puts an interesting spin on things, for as Wilson is lapping up the playboy lifestyle that he has inherited, Elvis is struggling to land Dianne...because she's only interested in finding a rich man, therefore has her eyes on millionaire power boat champion, Bill Bixby. The soundtrack to 'Clambake' is pretty good, aside from the cringe worthy, dire "Who Needs Money?" that Haywood and Wilson duet on after swapping identities and lifestyles. "Clambake" is not a bad song, if a little daft. "Confidence" is just a kids song in the mould of Willy Wonka's "The Candy Man" and accompanies a nice scene where Elvis and his new friend Wilson are entertaining kids at a playground, but the three stand out tracks are all ballads - "A House That Has Everything" is a smooth, sexy song, "You Don't Know Me" a great cover of the Ray Charles classic, "The Girl I Never Loved" the song of the film. Throughout the film, Dianne appears to be wanting Haywood...but the gold digger craves the flashy Bixby. However, come the race, she's almost been converted and instead of cheering on her lover to another victory, instead ends up roaring Elvis to an expected last gasp win! After that, the two lead men return their identities and back to their normal lifestyles with Wilson now carrying the title of "1967 Miami Power Boat Champion" thanks to Haywood (Elvis)' exploits. The next morning, Dianne commits her future with Haywood and passes out at the news of the icing on the cake...he's filthy rich anyway!
That's right....the filmmakers are so lazy, they don't even bother
about hiding the California mountains in the final shots. It's bad
enough that we must sit through dozens of rear-projected shots; it's
quite obvious Elvis never set foot in Florida for this flick. By this
time, Presley's movies were becoming interchangeable - same plots, same
songs, same go-go dance numbers, etc. Well, I enjoyed "Clambake" when I
was ten years old, but I'm afraid it's quite difficult to sit through
as an adult.
Instead, catch 1962's "Follow That Dream," which is actually filmed in Florida. The plot is a bit hokey, but Elvis still looks sexy, and has some fun with the role.
my summary doesn't really tell it all: over the years, I've gotten to
like it (well, most of the soundtrack and a lot of the scenes).
I think of all the Elvis(es), this one gave BIg El the most shudders! It would not have, in 1962-3, but after Sergeant Pepper, Dylan, Stones, it had to hurt. It's been written he did it only to pay off the "Circle G" ranch he had recently purchased.
having said that, the plot is kinda groovy...except for an awful song together, Elvis and Will Hutchins make a good comedy team, the oil baron's son and gas jockey guy, switching places; and Shelly Fabares, looking beautiful, as usual.
soundtrack has no hits but still some very listenable, melodic ballads, yes a special Elvis version of YOU DON'T KNOW ME, plus a minor gem, THE GIRL I NEVER LOVED, which he should have revisited. A HOUSE THAT HAS EVERYTHING has endured, even a very slight dancer, the contemporary HEY HEY HEY, sung in a lab. with shapely lab. assistants.
so...no real surprises...well, maybe a surprise in that after all these years, it's pretty good fun. in some ways, looks better today. (Hey, "When I'm 64", wasn't all that great, either!).
When I first saw this movie, I was laughing all the way through. For all the wrong reasons. The songs are way below average (you don't even need to hear the whole thing to know that a song called "Goo" will stink.) Elvis is usually a decent actor, and always a great singer, but he is definitely off his game here. What got me the most about this one was that, for a musical comedy, it is BRUTALLY long. No Elvis movie should pass the 85 minute mark, unless it is very entertaining, which is very possible for Elvis to do. Sadly, that is not the case here, although, it is a lot of fun to watch with friends, if just for the sheer camp value. I don't get why so any people seem to love this film, but to each his own.
I've enjoyed reading all the previous comments. However, having grown
up in the 60's, I have my doubts that the campy nature of this
"light-hearted" (1967) Elvis flick was an intentional, nostalgic, and
"politically motivated" view of life before the Vietnam War,
(1956-1973) the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy (1963) and
Dr. Martin Luther King, (1968) Senator Bobby Kennedy, (1968) or any
other tragedy of the era. I suppose you could read that into it, but,
personally, I just don't see it.
It's only obvious that the basic plot of this slapstick "almost a musical" (Not surprisingly, the songs, for the most part, ARE one of the more memorable components in this film, in my opinion.) is a modernization of Mark Twain's classic tale "The Prince and the Pauper". In this case, it happens to be "The King" who turns from "Prince" to "Pauper", and then, back to "Prince" again - and a noble one at that. Although already showing telltale signs of reluctantly submitting control to his "career advisers" (especially, of course, "The Colonel") Elvis still exudes charm and virility in this movie. Granted, screenwriter Arthur Browne, Jr. exploited these qualities (The way-hokey "kids on the playground" scene, for example.) to a degree almost too embarrassing for Elvis fans to watch. Nonetheless, they ARE there, and as evidence of his timeless appeal, they are no less than "striking".
And if Shelley Fabares at this point in her career, (obviously in her "prime" - the girl looks absolutely breathtaking, even in a plain, old, vintage 60's, "pre-thong" bikini!) does not meet today's criteria as a "major hottie", then HDTV won't help you. Sure the movie was just plain "lame". I doubt that anyone recognized this any sooner than Elvis, himself. As I write this on the anniversary of his birthday, (1/8/2007) I had just spent the afternoon watching old black and white footage of his TV appearances, (Ed Sullivan, Milton Berle, Dorsey Brothers, etc.) from 1956, courtesy of the Country Music Hall of Fame (Nashville, TN) prior to watching "Clambake" on TV. It was clear from several facial expressions and gestures to his band members during these that, even as a young man first starting out, Elvis considered his (female) fans' reactions (screaming, crying, hysteria, etc.) as "amusing", and took ample opportunities to "play" with this effect like it were a "cat and mouse" game. (One slight gyration and the roof flys off the place! And then, "The King" just smiles...) Given the "silliness to the point of being downright stupid" that he was offered in this mid-career outing, I think he held together pretty well, and may have even expanded his acting abilities in the process. Sometimes, it's HOW (or even IF) you get through the absurdities and/or "less than satisfying" situations that life offers that defines your work as an artist and/or performer. He "did awright".
Scott Heywood (Elvis Presley) is a millionaire's son that wants to break the apron strings and succeed on his own. He decides to change identity with (Will Hutchins) a poor water ski instructor. A young woman played by Shelley Fabares signs up for ski lessons thinking she can find a rich man to marry. Heywood has to keep his disguise and hide is true feelings about her. Some very forgettable tunes in this piece of fluff. This is the point in Elvis' career where he realizes how dumb his movies are getting. Bill Bixby and Gary Merrill play their characters well. Fabares and Elvis seem to click no matter how bad the movie is.
Elvis Presley plays a wealthy racing enthusiast who switches places
with poor water skiing instructor. He wants to make it "on his own" and
see if he can attract women without money. As the film opens, Elvis
trades places with pal Will Hutchins, who plays the lowly ski
instructor; and, they sing the duet "Who Needs Money". Watch it - the
unprofessional singer, Mr. Hutchins, sings the song as well as Elvis!
Hutchins, Shelley Fabares, and Bill Bixby are okay; Elvis is the
liability in his own movie. Hutchins, Fabares, and Bixby might have
made a better film without "The King".
Yet, it's not the worst film in history. The other players are entertaining, and the movie rolls along until, arguably, the scene with Elvis and the children singing "Confidence" in the playground; it's the most embarrassing song in the film. I do like "You Don't Know Me" and the title "Clambake" sounds good in the mix they released on record, but the movie is half-baked.
** Clambake (10/18/67) Arthur H. Nadel ~ Elvis Presley, Shelley Fabares, Will Hutchins
The absolute nadir of Presley's movie career. Hell, this one is so bad that it even qualifies as the lowest point in the careers of Shelley Fabares, Will Hutchins, and Bill Bixby, none of whom have particularly distinguished credits. Anyone with fond memories of Elvis in his prime can only wince at the sight of this cultural icon lethargically wandering across the set of this painfully stupid film. Thankfully, there are only seven songs in all, but even though the soundtrack album was padded with "bonus songs" like "Guitar Man" and "Big Boss Man," RCA still had to include an autographed photo from Presley's wedding to move the thing.
The Elvis Presley films are almost all mediocre and dull, apart just a few
exceptions ("Flaming star", "Wild in the country" and the films he made
before joining the Army). Well, 5-6 decent or good movies out of
"Clambake" was made in 1967, it is similar to most of Elvis films. We have the handsome guy who sings very well, he's a sportsman or an adventurer, he fights with everyone, and at the end he conquers the love of a girl. That's all. "Clambake" has a silly story, stupid dialogues and stupid humour like the other Presley movies.
It's a pity, a big pity. Elvis was a wonderful gifted singer -even the most mediocre song could sound great with him. His acting was not bad at all -see "King Creole", for example. The problem is that Elvis had always been exploited by his manager, by film producers and promoters. He could have done very good films if directors had used better his talent. Look at Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Liza Minnelli or Barbra Streisand: singers as well who did instead good films (Streisand still does).
In the Sixties (his Hollywood years) Elvis career was strongly declining. After the arrival of the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan -the major names- and many other artists, Elvis was seen as old and as outdated. He partially resurrected his career between '69 and '73 (from the fantastic hit "Souspicious Minds" to the famous "Aloha from Hawaii" concert, which was the last really important moment of his artistic life).
As an Elvis fan I think his career had been a long series of missed opportunities. Bad films and endless tours, which contributed surely to his psychological and physical decline, and which prevented him from being an evolved artist.
Elvis does well in those movies that have a beach and water and palm
tree atmosphere (even if the mountains in Miami were a little weird).
In this little venture to the world of speedboat racing and romance, he
gets to sing 8 more songs, including the Eddy Arnold classic "You Don't
Know Me." Scott Hayward/'Tom Wilson' (Elvis) is a spoiled rich kid who
wants to be loved for himself and not his daddy's money, so he pretends
to be poor. he runs into a girl (Shelley Fabares) who wants a sugar
daddy, and it appears she'll hook up with the racing champion (Bill
Bixby). You know how it will end, so all you can do is sit back and
watch the crazy antics of Will Hutchins ("Sugarfoot") as he pretends to
be the real Scott Hayward.
Enjoy the singing.
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