Viva Las Vegas (1964) Poster

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Viva el Rey! (and Viva Ann Margret, too!)...
Shane Paterson2 July 2002
I love this film! Actually, every time that I see it I like it more. I'm biased, of course, being an Elvis fan (hey, isn't everyone?...if you're not, you should give it a try), but it's still an entertaining way to spend a while. The film's not based on the strongest storyline ever created and it relies on the chemistry between foxy mamacita Ann Margret and the King himself, and that's more than enough. The two had some intense off-screen things going on, too, and perhaps that helps the movie. Both Elvis and Ann Margret look great and they trade lines perfectly. Elvis is more engaged in this film than he had been in any since 1961 and the result's one that he could have been proud of. The shame is that the glossy musical formula than began with 1960's "GI Blues" became an endless rerun throughout Elvis' '60s Hollywood career, but "Viva Las Vegas" is perhaps the highlight of these musicals. Perhaps it's no coincidence that this film has less singing than the ones before and after, the songs all fitting well within the plot. The songs are also among the strongest of Elvis' '60s soundtrack offerings -- pretty much all of them are great tunes. This was most definitely not the case even in earlier films and would progressively become less the norm in subsequent years. The cinematography is also first-rate, as are lighting and transitions -- all of the things that add up to 'production value.' Lush colors and effective use of scenery -- natural and manmade -- included. This is obvious right from the opening credits and is stunningly apparent in the musical numbers. It really looks like a lot of thought went into how the songs were staged, lit, and filmed and that alone is a departure from Elvis' norm. Even most of the other of the better '60s films just stick Elvis up there, singing, while they roll film. Not a lot of imagination very evident in that approach. Check out the great presentation work on songs like "C'mon Everybody" and "What'd I Say," as well as the classic "Viva Las Vegas" talent-contest scene and the perfectly-executed "I Need Somebody To Lean On" scene in which onscreen Elvis is double-tracked with a melancholy inner-voice Elvis. Great stuff.

The film's -- to me -- probably the most entertaining and enjoyable of any of Elvis' '60s musicals. In that category I include most of the films that Elvis shot during the '60s except for the two dramas of 1960 ("Flaming Star" being a particularly excellent film), the two song-sparse movies of 1961 ("Kid Galahad" and the great "Follow That Dream"), and some of the late '60s movies that included only one or a few token songs and had stronger storylines ("Live A Little, Love A Little," "Stay Away, Joe," "Charro!," "The Trouble With Girls," and "Change Of Habit"). Actually, "Viva Las Vegas" is even more enjoyable than most of these ones, too.

Among the supporting actors are Cesare Danova, a beatnik-y Nicky Blair, and William Demarest (Uncle Charlie from "My Three Sons"!), all of whom do a great job. Sharp eyes might also catch Terri Garr, especially in the "C'mon Everybody" scene, though she's in at least one or two others in the film. Red West, Elvis' bodyguard (he also wrote a song -- "If You Think I Don't Need You" -- used in this film) is an extra in the scene that included a bunch of Texas rowdies. Lance Le Gault (a blues singer and Elvis' double in '60s films, inadvertently seen in "Kissin' Cousins" and on full display as a tambourine-player in Elvis' sensational leather-clad 1968 'comeback' shows...he was also Colonel Decker on TV's "The A Team") plays a waiter who, ironically enough, is mistaken for Elvis by Ann Margret's character.

But yeah, when it comes down to it this is a film that succeeds primarily on the strengths of its male and female leads. Some great work by supporting actors doesn't hurt, but Elvis seems inspired to do a good job of acting -- not the walk-through that was becoming increasingly tempting in the face of uninspiring and mediocre storylines and production staff and accountants who didn't care about quality as long as the film was completed on time and on budget to result in the predictable crazy profits that Elvis movies generated in the first half of the '60s. The scene with Elvis waiting on the Count and Rusty exploits Elvis' comedic talents and was a nice touch. I'm surprised, really, that the pairing of Elvis and Ann Margret was never attempted again. They could've done "Grease" in '68!

The film also accomplishes its travelogue role and both it and the title song have become inextricably linked with that desert city. For those of us who have only visited Vegas in more recent years, and to those who remember it as it was in the summer of 1963, this film is a handy time capsule to the Vegas of yore. It was a kick for me to see Elvis and Ann Margret at the Sahara's camel statues because I had my picture taken there, atop one of the camels, back in the '80s (without realizing that it had such a direct Elvis connection). Cool!

All in all, if you haven't yet seen this film you might just enjoy it. It's not going to change your life (then again...who knows?) and it's not "Citizen Kane" (it's a lot more fun, though), but it's a classic of its kind. Scratch that -- it's just a classic. Unfortunately, a couple of months after wrapping "Viva Las Vegas" Elvis began production of "Kissin' Cousins," a film from producer Sam Katzman ("King of the Quickies") that was as cheap and nasty as they come and that showed the way to even greater profit (but at what cost?).
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8/10
Elvis and Ann-Margret (Out)do Vegas!
lonniebeale21 August 2006
Although my own personal favorite Elvis film is "Tickle Me" (1965), "Viva Las Vegas" is the last remotely classy film he made and his best musical in years. The Las Vegas locale enabled M-G-M to put in some rock songs--and Ann-Margret (a cross between Marilyn and Madonna) whose image is similar to Elvis's, was a definite plus. The film was even more successful than "Blue Hawaii" (1961)--Presley's biggest hit to date. They took their time shooting it, the songs are well showcased and Elvis and the sexy Ann-Margret form the most attractive twosome in years. It's even quite possible that the challenging Miss Margret briefly lifts him from the doldrums he's been in; most certainly when they double (as in the very catchy "C'mon Everybody" sequence) the fireworks explode loud and bright. Both performers are sinuous and sensual and assured, and between them they manage to lift a routine movie far above what it would otherwise be. But it also has the bonus of director George Sidney ("Bye Bye Birdie")--and it's the last Elvis film that will be so blessed.
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Elvis meets his perfect match.
movibuf196220 March 2003
I used to not be a big fan of Elvis movies. For all of his talent with a song, his films (with a few exceptions) were basically all the same formula: a crooning playboy situated in (exotic location of your choice), with any number of young, excited women waiting in the wings. But in "VLV" he has a more independent-than-usual female co-star (the stunningly beautiful Ann-Margret), who not only matches him in sex appeal, but who forces him to fight for her affection. It's a wonderful match of wits, from the first number, "The Lady Loves Me." They are both marvelous as they each musically bait the other, right up until he takes a header into a swimming pool. (In subsequent scenes they water ski, have a western-style showdown, tour Vegas in a helicopter, and dance in a gymnasium.) Later, when they both compete in the same talent show, A-M gives Elvis a run for his money with her hotter-than-hot striptease "Appreciation." It's perfect that the final shot in the movie is a split-screen of the title song sung (by him) and danced (by her). If no one knew that they were having a romance in real life; they'd figure it out from the chemistry generated in this film. This one and "G.I. Blues" (which features another independent co-star) are my favorites.
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8/10
The King and his Queen
floydianer27 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
'Viva Las Vegas' is not a good film. It is however a great musical, and a very entertaining film. This entertainment value should be the only reason to see this. Granted, there is no other reason to watch any Elvis movie, with the possible exception of 'King Creole'. Alongside the magnificent and early-fire film 'Jailhouse Rock' you won't find a more entertaining film starring the King.

Clearly, that has nothing to do with the screenplay, by Sally Benson, which best line would have to be Ann-Margret's entrance 'My car whistles' and Elvis' reply 'Can't blame it'. If that is the 'wittiest' line of your movie, you've got a problem. There's no originality, no wit, no character development (or even creation, to start with), no story.

THE SONGS: One of the most consistent soundtracks for ELvis films, mostly hits, next to none misses. Highlight is the title song which hasn't lost one ounce of its excitement in the last 40 years. The duet 'The Lady Loves Me' with Ann-Margret isn't far behind. Elvis didn't duet often, and this is his best one. Actually the lyrics of the song seem far more clever and funny than the whole screenplay. Ann-Margret's a good singer, underrated certainly, and her solo numbers 'Appreciation' suffers from bad composing, not from bad singing. Elvis is on high form on the rocker 'C'mom everybody'.

THE DANCING: The University of Nevada bit is the centerpiece here as far as dancing goes and it's a joy to watch. Good choreography and Elvis is seen with the excitement and pleasure he had in the fifties, and seemingly lost. Ann-Margret arguably out-dances and up-stages him here, which shouldn't be seen as disrespectful to him but merely as a compliment to her.

THE ACTING: Without fleshed out characters written, you can't have them acted. Elvis was not a bad actor, and even if he did appear unnatural and stiff in other films, he seems quite energetic and talented here. Ann-Margret's a better actress, natural and talented.

THE DIRECTION: Sidney knows how to film musicals, he was one of the best of the genre, so no complaints here at all. I like the race at the end which may even be called 'exciting' at times.

THE CO-STAR: Without any doubt this is the reason for the film's success, both in entertainment and financially. Ann-Margret in her fourth movie is, quite simply put, great. She can sing, dance, act, and I guess there's no explanation needed on how she looks. In her prime, and she's in it here, she was Hollywood's most attractive actress - face and body-wise, but with enough talent to move way beyond starlet-status. Her costumes are great (take special notice of her black-tights-red-sweater wear in the Nevada university number). There's a typical amount of bad 60s makeup (in the otherwise great 'What'd I say' routine) and hairdo, but that's not too much of a problem.

THE CHEMISTRY: Another point that sets Viva Las Vegas apart from, for example, Speedway with Nancy Sinatra, is the on-screen chemistry between Elvis and Ann-M. Love affair or not, these are simply two attractive people liking each other and making the romance in the film really believable. They both seem like they had one hell of a good time.

THE STORY: What story? Race car driver wants to win both the race and the girl. He succeeds in both. Wow.

TO SUM IT UP: Of all Elvis movies of the 1960s this is the best. The soundtrack is unbeatable, the King himself never again seemed to have so much fun, and in Ann-Margret there's not only his most attractive but also best co-star.
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7/10
Star chemistry makes this a cut above the usual Elvis fare
blanche-229 June 2005
Viva Las Vegas is a highly entertaining and lively film, sparked by the chemistry of its two gorgeous stars, Elvis Presley and Ann-Margret. When Ann-Margret appeared on Larry King last year, King kept bringing up Elvis, but she wasn't about to talk about him. They were certainly a hot couple, and if they were crazy about each other, which reportedly they were, who can blame them? There is absolutely nothing special about the story, but the movie has some delightful musical numbers, including the title song - which has become part of the popular culture as it personifies everything Vegas.

Colonel Parker wasn't happy about Viva Las Vegas because he felt that Ann-Margret was getting too many closeups in an Elvis Presley film. But without her sexy presence, the film would have lacked a lot of its energy. Elvis was unhappy making this kind of movie, and I imagine he was more willing to go to work with Ann-Margret on the set. It's fun to see them so young and beautiful, and having fun.
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Elvis at his best!!
jeddyhi1 September 2004
Okay, I've seen enough Elvis movies to last the rest of my life. I've seen the westerns, the post army movies, the musicals, the documentaries. But this movie stands alone because of the performances of Elvis Presley and the beautiful Ann Margaret. If you ever wanted to see Elvis at his peak ( still young at 29, in shape, confident in his every move ) this is the movie for you. The dance numbers are some of the best I've seen from the era. Elvis was truly at the top of his game filming this movie. I only wish some of the later movies were as good. Sure, this movie has its cheesy parts, but what Elvis movie doesn't. My four year old son likes to watch the ending race sequence over and over again. I wonder who wins the Las Vegas Grand Prix?? I can't say enough about the vivacious Ann Margaret. Elvis himself was smitten for her in real life and I can't blame him. She matches Elvis song for song and dance for dance. At the time of filming, she was referred to as the "female Elvis". Deservingly so, I might add. If only Elvis and Ann had made some more movies together.
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8/10
I enjoyed it very much.
bobyyy22319 February 2005
I have always been an Elvis fan, but I've never really seen a movie with Ann-Margaret featured in it. I always thought she was just a (very) pretty face, but I feel bad that I only now know what a dynamic entertainer she was in her day...and what a knockout!!! The scene."The lady loves me" is such a keeper!!! Forty-one years later, it's still a blast. Most people would call it corny as hell, but I thought it was a great performance by both Elvis and A-M. I just really don't think there are any female performers today with the combination of looks, personality and overall talent of Ann-Margaret in her hey-day!...a terrific movie....
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The lady loves me... but she doesn't know it yet.
pooch-85 August 1999
Arguably the best of the standard Elvis Presley travelogue confections that comprised the majority of the films in his screen career, Viva Las Vegas succeeds largely due to the chemistry shared between E and sexy inferno Ann-Margret. Sporting the impossibly comic-book perfect names Lucky Jackson and Rusty Martin, the two stars forge a romance against the backdrop of the Vegas Grand Prix, which Elvis, naturally intends on winning. Typical Elvis movie values like achievement through hard work (E must slave away as a lowly hotel employee in order to raise enough cash to fix his racer) and plucky perseverance don't detract from the colorful widescreen photography and a number of fun songs, like "The Lady Loves Me," "C'mon Everybody," "I Need Somebody to Lean On," and the memorable title tune.
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7/10
One of Elvis' best films for sheer entertainment
funkyfry18 December 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Other than some of Elvis' more serious, earlier films, such as "King Creole" and "Jailhouse Rock", this is really one of his better efforts. The reasons are many but I will explore some of them here.

First, musically speaking it's pretty solid. It's probably Elvis' best film from a musical standpoint in the 1960s. Highlights include Elvis performing Ray Charles' "What'd I Say", "Come on Everybody" and "If You Think I Don't Need You" by his friend Red West. Ann-Margret receives an unusual amount of songs for an Elvis co-star, totally 2 solo songs and 1 duet (the memorable, and relatively highly integrated, "The Lady Loves Me"..... one of the few moments when an Elvis film feels like a real musical). And of course one can't forget the rousing title song which Elvis performs several times in the film as well.

The supporting cast is the usual group of stalwart character actors. Cesare Danova is suitably suave and smooth as Elvis' rival for Ann-Margret, an Italian racer. Veteran actor William Demarest appears as Ann-Margret's father, a friendly and energetic senior citizen who wants to help Elvis work on cars and hang out with the boys. Nicky Blair is amusing as Elvis' main sidekick.

As to the film's story, of course it's all very inconsequential but well done. Ann-Margret makes a big impression with her first appearance, especially on the big screen. The audience is drawn in by the device of Mancini and Lucky's search for her in the nightclubs of Vegas. The plot is just enough for the purpose it needs to serve in this lightweight entertainment; basically it's the old race car film plot of the girlfriend who doesn't approve of racing, but for some reason decides just in time for the big race that she needs to stand by her man and cheer very loudly from the sidelines (in this case, from a helicopter).

An all-around solid piece of entertainment and an admirable product of the fading days of Hollywood's glamor days.
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7/10
Viva Las Vegas
Jim Colyer1 November 2006
Ann-Margret revives Elvis from his stupor. He feeds off her energy in a frolic through classic Vegas. Ann-Margret Olsson was born in Sweden. Her mother brought her to the United States when she was 5. Sparks fly as she and Elvis get together at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas for Come On, Everybody. Elvis is on the stage. Ann is dancing below. She wears a pink top and black tights. She shakes her boobs and hips. Elvis pulls her up on stage. This is sexy. Too bad they only made one movie together. There is a wedding at the end, so they would have been a married couple in the sequel. ZZ Top revived the title track with a growl.
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8/10
Her rival is a baby blue racing car
moonspinner5510 November 2001
Elvis Presley as a Las Vegas auto enthusiast who has to choose between racing his roadster or chasing Ann-Margret, playing a curvy hotel pool manager who usually has the day off. Not a total success for the stars--the script is heavy with talk, and there's an uncomfortable scene early on where Elvis lies to A-M about her car problems just to keep her around. I don't know WHY Presley is forced to sing "The Yellow Rose Of Texas" in a musical set in Nevada, but nevertheless, it's a friendly-enough frolic, and it certainly looks good. The dancing is hot, and Elvis and Ann-Margret seem so right together. Sure it's campy, and the whole business with him buying her a tree because she longs for suburbia defies explanation, but it's an idealistic, happily-ever-after fantasy. *** from ****
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Good Music, Great Cinematography, Great Chemistry
micj17 September 1998
Watch the section where Ann-Margaret sings "Her Rival" Song in a letterbox format. The camera starts from above and does remarkable movement (before the age of computer controlled cameras) and Ann-Margaret does all the choreography (including catching the toast and making sandwiches) to the beat all in one shot! Possibly the best single-camera sequence of all time!

The movie only really slows down during the obligatory tourist travelog while in the helicopter scene.
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7/10
Great lively entertainment
Joe-29029 October 2002
Typical Presley vehicle with an extra drive. The formula for the stereo typical Elvis movie is here but its more fun and exciting than ever. Better looking women and locations and the odd few pleasant songs. This movie shows us the real Las Vegas when Vegas was Vegas and not as commercially driven as it is today. It has a routine story line and is a fine musical and fortunately it is only a little over 80mins. Just plain old fun to keep your spirits high!
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8/10
The Anthem Of Sin City
bkoganbing6 December 2008
For Viva Las Vegas Elvis Presley got for the only time in his career a leading lady who could match him as a musical performer. There are as many numbers in Viva Las Vegas for Ann-Margret as there are for the King.

To direct this musical Colonel Tom Parker secured one of the best in George Sidney. This man has to his credit such things as Showboat, Kiss Me Kate, Pal Joey and his services are in the Colonel's policy of making sure that his client Elvis got the best support around in front or behind the camera.

Ann-Margret came along just a tad too late, she's certainly done all right for herself, but her talent like Mitzi Gaynor's should have arrived when the studios were doing musicals.

Elvis is a race car driver arriving in Las Vegas to compete in the Las Vegas Grand Prix. He's cash poor and has to get a new motor in his vehicle. That's not a problem for his chief rival in the race, wealthy European driver Cesare Danova. They've also got a spirited competition going for the hotel swimming instructor Ann-Margret.

If Viva Las Vegas is known for nothing else, the title song has certainly made it memorable. It's one of Presley's biggest hits, sung by him and sung and danced to by Ann-Margret. It's become the anthem of Sin City just as Tony Bennett's ode about where he left his heart has become San Francisco's theme.

Viva Las Vegas was one of Elvis Presley's best films, still enjoyable for the singing, the dancing and the King.
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Elvis' only bonafide Hollywood movie musical gives a hint of what might have been
Brian Camp23 August 2008
Why didn't Elvis work more often with strong female musical co-stars like Ann-Margret? Given how powerful the result was in VIVA LAS VEGAS, it's a shame they didn't try to tailor more full-blown Hollywood movie musicals for him. He worked with Nancy Sinatra in SPEEDWAY, but aside from one song written for her by Lee Hazlewood, she wasn't given much to do musically in the film and doesn't even share a duet with Elvis. What would an Elvis teamup with Julie Andrews have been like? Or Shirley MacLaine? Or, dare I say it, Doris Day? And why not younger 1960s musical stars like Petula Clark or Diana Ross? Or even Annette Funicello. The possibilities are tantalizing. Instead they kept putting him with attractive but non-musical co-stars in lightweight romantic comedies with occasional songs, with titles like GIRL HAPPY, DOUBLE TROUBLE, CLAMBAKE, TICKLE ME, and EASY COME, EASY GO, that just don't compare with VIVA LAS VEGAS. At least in ROUSTABOUT, he had a formidable female co-star in Barbara Stanwyck. She didn't sing or dance, but she sure acted up a storm. And her chemistry with Elvis was far more evident than any he might have had with the starlets who populated all his fluffy, throwaway comedies with music.
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7/10
born to rock
HelloTexas1119 January 2008
Elvis was before me, or at least I felt like he was. I was part of that group of kids who discovered rock music when the Beatles landed. So even though Elvis was still on the scene and having hits, I tended to think of him in the same way I thought of Frank Sinatra or Bing Crosby. Previous generation's music, old hat, passé. And aside from the occasional single that caught my ear and made me think, "hmm, not bad," that's pretty much how my perception stayed, until he died. Then I thought I'd give him a second chance. So I took a crash course in Elvis. Went out and bought a bunch of his albums, from the earliest to 'Moody Blue.' Even watched a bunch of his movies, which I wouldn't have been caught dead doing before. Not surprisingly, perhaps, I found a lot to like. My own quirky tastes led me to enjoy his sixties music, especially the singles from the films, more than his earlier and supposedly 'purer' songs. And one of the things I found that I liked most about Elvis was his attitude; he didn't take himself seriously at all. A lot of high-minded music and film critics thought he was goofy, but guess what? So did he. And he was a movie star, for over a decade. Maybe an Elvis expert can tell me some day why he kept churning out essentially B-movies year after year when he should have issuing classic rock albums and standing at the pinnacle of popular music. Did he think he could do both, or was doing both? Or maybe it gets back to that 'attitude' thing again, that he just didn't give a damn. So then, 'Viva Las Vegas.' Probably the quintessential sixties Elvis flick. As with all of his vehicles, the plot doesn't bear close scrutiny, but in this case, he's a race car driver who's trying to raise money to fix his race car, so he winds up in Las Vegas and fools around with Ann-Margret. Makes sense to me. Thanks to some reliable old movie hands, like director George Sidney, and a VERY energetic Ann-Margret, 'Viva Las Vegas' is a cut above Elvis' other films from the period. The energy level is high and the musical numbers are very entertainingly staged. In fact, if I were to pick a single sequence in any of the movies to illustrate Elvis' appeal, it would be the set-piece given 'C'mon Everybody.' It is so great and so goofy, it sums up everything there is to love about Elvis in a little over two minutes. He is the epitome of cool, his dance moves elegantly effortless and supremely silly at the same time. It really is as though he doesn't even have to try, once the music's on, Elvis is on and you can't take your eyes off him, no matter how hard Ann-Margret tries to provide distraction. As he struts, slinks and stomps across the stage, singing those immortal lyrics-

Ain't nothing wrong with longhair music

Like Brahms, Beethoven, and Bach

But I was raised with a guitar in my hand

And I was born to rock!

-you just KNOW you're watching the King of Rock 'n Roll. Elvis Presley's films exist outside the world of the sixties as most remember them; there are no real hippies and no attempts at psychedelia. In the party scenes where Elvis inevitably gets up and sings, the men look like insurance salesmen and the women all seem to be refugees from Hefner's Playboy Mansion. They didn't come across as 'hip' even at the time. But 'Viva Las Vegas' infuses the insular Elvis formula with jolts of star-powered electricity and its own kind of rock and roll energy, propelling it above the rest and reminding us why that peculiarly American rock icon, Elvis Presley, still occupies a unique place in our culture, heart, and soul.
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8/10
Lucky and Rusty get hot in Vegas
didi-519 December 2004
This movie is probably the best of the many musicals churned out starring the great Elvis Presley. Colourful, energetic, and with a wonderful OTT co-star, Ann-Margret, alongside fabulous songs such as the title track, 'C'mon Everybody', 'What'd I Say' and others.

This is rock 'n' roll at its very best. Lucky is a racing driver, not that believable as role for Elvis, but given he wasn't much of an actor it hardly matters. Rusty is a lifeguard and fellow competitor, who becomes his girl, natch, and together they sizzle the screen up a treat in their musical numbers and repartee.

More musicals like this and Elvis could have been remembered as a great screen performer away from the (too few) filmed live shows.
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6/10
...gonna set my soul on fire!
Shelly_Servo300016 August 2002
Yeah! Viva Las Vegas, baby!

Elvis and Ann-Margaret, probably the best looking couple to share the screen, whoop it up big time in Sin City. The plot is silly, but the songs are wonderful, especially the title theme. How many times have you been driving down the road when suddenly you sing "Viva Las Vegas!" and then hum that perfect guitar riff that follows?

Oh, and did I mention that Elvis and Ann-Margaret are both hot? Fun for the whole family!
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10/10
Rusty Gets Lucky in Las Vegas
joseph95200110 August 2006
The first time I saw this movie was in the Army before it hit the movie theaters for the general public, and as all ye guys know, if a movie goes over in the Army - well, it's gotta become a big smash it, and with Elvis Presley wooing Ann Margaret, well - Ann Margaret was all the service guys had to see. The Hell with the rest of the show! The guys whistled, cheered, and that night probably dreamed that they were Lucky with Rusty! Anyone who doesn't like this movie is an old Grumpy! All right gang, so it's predictable and we've seen it many a-time in the movies. Guy sees girl, girl hates guy, guy still chases girl, and like Irving Berling wrote: "A Man Chases A Girl Until She Catches Him!" In the old Fred Astaire-Ginger Rodgers movies, Ginger always hated Fred until they had their first dance together and then the love affair started, and if you'll notice, the same thing happens here in Viva Las Vegas. Rusty doesn't like Lucky until they sing their first song together and then the love affair starts. This was the formula in those days. Funny thing: There was this story that went that in the Astaire-Rogers movies, Fred gave Ginger class and Ginger gave Fred sex! Well, not exactly, but you know what I mean. Astaire was not really the most sexiest looking of men, so he had to have the sexy lookin' gals around him to make the teaming work, but in Elvis and Ann-Margarets pairing, who was giving who sex? Song are great, dances numbers great, cast is very good, and it IS probably the best musical film that Presley ever made! He and Ann-Margaret was very wise never to appear again in a film. This was as far as I'm concerned a one time deal. Same thing as Sylvester Stallone and Dolly Partin in Rhinestone. It was a one time deal and the paring for one film was great and should not be repeated, but - sometimes I wonder what Barbra Striesand's "A Star Is Born" would have turned out like if she could have got her first choice for the film - Elvis Presley. What a dynamite of a movie that would have been, but - it was never to be!
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Youthful Elvis Presley and Ann-Margret are superb in this fluff of a movie with a thin story line.
TxMike2 November 2004
Warning: Spoilers
I was nearing the end of my first year in college when 'Viva Las Vegas' hit theaters in the springtime of 1964. It is interesting that it was released in Sweden, Ann-Margret Olsson's birthplace, months before it was released in the USA. The story line is very thin, it exists only to tie together a series of musical numbers by the two stars. And that is the only reason to see this movie, to appreciate Elvis when he was still young (28) and slender, but already in his 15th movie, and Ann-Margret at 22, just out of college and in her 4th movie. Ann-Margret in her prime was arguably the most beautiful and sexy, in a girl-next-door way, star of the 20th century. That she has stood by her invalid husband for so many years shows also what a genuine person she is. She will remain one of my all-time favorites.

SPOILERS follow in the rest of my comments. Elvis plays 'Lucky', a race car driver, hoping to get into the Las Vegas grand prix, but he needs to buy a new motor first. He meets 'Rusty' (Ann-Margret) who comes to the shop, 'I'd like you to check my motor, it whistles', while wearing the cutest, tiny white shorts imaginable in 1964. It is romance at first sight, but she plays hard to get. Turns out she is the pool manager for a local motel, teaches kids to swim and dive, and also teaches dance at the local U of N branch. At the end of their first musical number together, she pushes him off the high dive into the water, and loses his bankroll. Unable to even pay his room, not to mention the new motor, he is forced to be a waiter at the motel, where he keeps around Rusty. On a date, Rusty and Lucky ride motorcycles, sightsee in a helicopter piloted by Lucky, go water skiing, but she has doubts about falling for a race driver, likely to crack up and get killed. In the end, her dad buys the motor for Lucky, he wins the very cheesy car race (9 hours all over the countryside, and no pit stops? No police guarding intersections? No barriers in downtown LV??), then we see Rusty and Lucky getting married. Story, "2", Elvis and Ann-Margret, "14", both on a 10-point scale!!
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10/10
Elvis and Ann-Margret---greatest chemistry ever
sharonavg6 November 2005
I loved Viva Las Vegas because the chemistry between Elvis and Ann-Margret was incredible and they are both good actors, unlike most of the other actors in Elvis' movies. The singing and dancing were fantastic because Elvis knows how to "move" and Ann-Margret is one of the best dancers around. Also, they both have the same feel for music.

The movie plot deals with Elvis' character, Lucky, wanting to win a car race and the Ann-Margret character, Rusty, being afraid he will die if he races. All she wants is a home with a little tree in front and yet she understands that the race is Lucky's dream so she finally supports him in it. It's a "happily ever-after" movie....a simple plot but they both carry it off so great since they're both really good actors and you get the feeling throughout the movie that they really did like each other in real life (which I've heard they did). Altogether, it's a cute movie and well-worth watching.

The songs in it are really great too.
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8/10
Elvis and Ann-Margret sizzle together like two steaks on a barbecue grill.
Harry Lags4 November 2016
Perhaps his best musical comedy, in Viva Las Vegas Elvis was finally teamed with a co- star whose talent matched the intensity of his own style.Viva Las Vegas" has it all. A kinetic, frenetic look at Las Vegas at its hippest. Ann-Margret, the only leading lady who ever could match Elvis' charisma and smoldering sensuality on screen. A score that spawned a song that everybody knows, every band covers and nobody can get out of their heads once they hear it.

Elvis plays a mechanic who is actually a race car driver, if he can only get the money to buy a new engine for his car. Margret plays a swimming instructor (lots of bathing suit scenes). They meet, sing, dance and fall in love.Elvis and Ann-Margret sizzle together like two steaks on a barbecue grill.

Elvis always dominated his films. He was always the only reason to watch them. Margret's sexuality balances Elvis well. It makes me wonder just how good some of his other movies might have been if the studios could have paired him with better costars.

This is one of Elvis's most iconic films. The title song is a classic and still used today whenever a movie or TV show takes place in Vegas. Viva Las Vegas is a great musical showcase for two of the most electrifying performers of their day as well as an entertaining look back at a far more innocent time.
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8/10
Viva Las Vegas (1964) ***
JoeKarlosi16 August 2007
Easily Elvis Presley's best 1960s musical, but this is immensely helped by his sexy co-star Ann-Margret, who struts her stuff and offers Presely consistent competition in the charisma department. Elvis is a race car driver who wants to raise enough cash to purchase a special motor he needs to compete and win in the first Las Vegas Grand Prix. He works as a waiter at a resort where he falls head over heels for leggy swimming instructor Margret (which means she also gets to wear a few bathing suits) and they hook up, although the girl would rather Elvis stop his reckless racing hobby. The actual racing climax at the end of the film is quite exciting. The songs this time are mostly quite respectable, among them: "The Lady Loves Me " (a flirty duet between the two stars), "C'mon Everybody" (a rousing dance number where Elvis and Ann try to out-step each other), "What'd I Say" (the classic Ray Charles tune) and the title hit "Viva Las Vegas", which is magnificently performed by The King in one steady take. Presley and Margret dated in real life, and they had an undeniably sizzling chemistry between them. After watching this film one can't help wondering if they shouldn't have made more movies together. *** out of ****
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Fun, light musical without a falling chandelier or a massive barricade (but there is a helicopter!)
Poseidon-323 August 2006
Warning: Spoilers
In what was, unfortunately, a rather rare occasion for Presley, a near-perfect blend of setting, director, cast and songs was whipped into the confection that is "Viva Las Vegas". Too often, he (or better, his chief handler Col. Tom Parker) settled for sub-par projects that were hastily done on limited budgets and with less-than-stellar co-stars. Sometimes, the ingredients came up on the plus side and a decent film was the result, as is the case here. Presley plays a guitar-playing race car driver in Vegas to win money for a badly-needed motor. He scrapes together the money, only to lose it in a tete a tete with Margret, the swim instructor at his hotel. Thus, he becomes a waiter, trying to re-earn the money in time for the big race while competitor (for both the race and for Margret) Danova walks a fine line between friend and foe, alternately trying to recruit Presley or dispose of him. Margret, in the meantime, has plans of her own to win the big talent show so that her father Demarest can buy the boat he's always wanted. Presley goes head-to-head with her in the show and head-to-head with Danova on the road in between singing and playing in the Las Vegas sun. Presley does a good job in the film, blessed with several great songs (including the rousing title tune) and with a co-star who was his equal in many ways. Margret, far from being a piece of furniture like so many other so-so Presley girls, holds her own against the King and even steals the spotlight from him more than once. (When Margret dances, it's hard to look at anything else!) Some of her songs are silly, especially the one in which she laments having to share Presley with a car, but she more than makes up for it with some wild and woolly moves on the dance floor. Presley and Margret display a clear affinity for one another, bringing out each others charms nicely. Danova has a fairly thankless role, actually, but tries to inject some interest into it. Demarest is given even less to do and much of that is pretty lame. He has to talk to a potted tree in one cringe-inducing moment. L.A. restaurateur Blair plays Presley's excitable sidekick to no significant advantage. The film opens with an indispensable series of shots of 1964 Las Vegas. A lot has changed out there since this was made over four decades ago and it's great to have a record of the way it used to look. (Jack Carter and Leslie Uggams are shown as a double bill on one of the signs.) Hoover Dam also gets a shout-out. Amidst the engaging musical numbers and the dancing are some truly corny bits of humor, but it's all in fun as the film was never meant to be anything but mindless entertainment. For such a light film, the climactic car race is actually fairly horrific, featuring some downright nasty crashes that likely led to death for the characters depicted! No one seems to mind much, though, as long as Presley crosses the finish line. One thing lacking in this film is the costumes. Don Feld seems to have had trouble properly fitting his stars. Presley's clothes lack the clean lines and expert tailoring that Edith Head always saw to (note the jacket he wears in the talent show which looks like it was pulled off a high schooler in the audience and pants that don't fit attractively around the waist.) Margret's clothes are nearly all either too big or too small (her pink party dress is really loose in the arms and bodice while her later pink skirt is digging into her waist. Also, her swimwear is rarely flattering) and in some cases is just plain ugly (what is she wearing on that date?!) Oddly, she never looks better in the film than when she's gyrating around in a red sweater and a pair of black tights, her hair flailing all over the place. Later, she dances in a club, but her hair is shellacked to the point of immobility. In any case, it's fluff, but it's fun fluff and is a fully agreeable time-killer.
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7/10
Nice look back at Vegas
harrytrue28 August 2005
I saw "Viva Las Vegas" for a different reason than some people.

I have visited Las Vegas in 2002, 2003, and 2004, and I wanted to see the difference.

Some of the hotels, like the "Stardust", and the "Flamingo" are still there. Others are gone. Well, it has been 40 years.

The movie was supposed to be shot inside the "Flamingo". It is different now. Also, downtown Las Vegas, where the "Goldern Nugget" was shown (it's still standing), now has a covering, the "Freemont Street Experience".

It is a good picture. Nice love story. Probably wouldn't have been made (or watched) without Elvis in it.

One thing, at the "Imperial Palace" hotel, they have "Legends in Concert", where they have imitators of celebrities. I think they always have Elvis, but he only sings part of "Viva Las Vegas" (he sings other songs). Since "Viva Las Vegas has singing about possibley going broke, that may be why they don't sing it all.

In a episode of "Thunder in Paradise", Chris Lemmon duels a Frenchman. The Frenchman says "Viva Le France". Lemmon says "Viva Las Vegas". The Fenchman says he hates Elvis.

Probably encouraged travel to Las Vegas. Made me want to return.
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