Viva Las Vegas (1964) starring Elvis Presley, Ann-Margret, Cesare Danova, William Demarest, Nicky Blair directed by George Sidney Movie Review

Viva Las Vegas (1964)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Elvis Presley and Ann-Margret in Viva Las Vegas (1964)

Car Trouble + Woman Trouble = Movie Trouble

I've come to accept that when watching an Elvis Presley movie not to have high expectations which is a good thing when it comes to "Viva Las Vegas" because it is as average an Elvis Presley movie as you can get. What does all this mean, well "Viva Las Vegas" exists purely to showcase Elvis Presley, not so much as an actor but his singing talents. It has a storyline but one which really only works as a backdrop for all the various musical scenes and without the music over the credits there were around 10 musical interludes in a movie which lasts just 85 minutes. But then it is what you expect and as such will definitely find some fans who only want to see Elvis dance and sing.

Having turned up in Las Vegas with a race car but no engine Lucky Jackson (Elvis Presley - Fun in Acapulco) soon sets about winning the money he needs to get the engine and race in the Las Vegas Grand Prix. But whilst wooing the shapely Rusty Martin (Ann-Margret - Bye Bye Birdie) he manages to lose all the money and is forced to work as a hotel waiter to pay his way. His problems are not helped by rival racer Count Elmo Mancini (Cesare Danova - Animal House) who not only has an eye on winning the grand prix but also winning over Rusty.

Ann-Margret and Elvis Presley in Viva Las Vegas (1964)

The storyline to "Viva Las Vegas" is as you would expect quite weak and although is about Lucky Jackson trying to get the money so he can race in the Las Vegas Grand Prix it quickly subsides into a predictable movie about a girl. As such it's all very routine as we get to watch Elvis as Lucky Jackson try to woo the object of his affection Rusty Martin with song and a pretty dire selection of chat up lines which border on the humorously corny. Even a supposed rivalry with an Italian racing driver doesn't add anything of any real importance. To be frank the storyline is so weak and predictable that you lose interest in whether he will get the girl, enter the race and even win because it's all very predictable.

The most exciting part of the movie is the actual race, not because of Elvis or any of the characters but because it comes across like a scene out of "The Wacky Races" with the sound effects of screeching brakes to go with it.

As for all the musical scenes, well the good thing is that even when Elvis is giving some mindless little ditty to sing he makes it sound good and so does Ann-Margret who gets a couple of songs to her self, although her dancing sequences which are very exuberant look quite poor. The problem with all these musical scenes is not that they are unpleasant but for some strange reason when either Elvis or Ann-Margaret sings they end up singing to the camera rather than to each other, making it feel too staged.

Performance wise well Elvis looks good, sounds good and for the most seems to be enjoying himself despite having a 2 dimensional character and dodgy dialogue to deliver. I've said it before and no doubt will say it again but Elvis was capable of so much more than this. Alongside Elvis is the bubbly Ann-Margaret who ends up playing the generic female beauty the sort of which ended up in many of Elvis's movies, although she does have a couple of nice solo moments where she gets to sing and dance. Otherwise there is little else to say as Cesare Danova plays a stereotypical Italian in racing driver Count Elmo Mancini whilst Nicky Blair goes for under used comedy as semi sidekick Shorty.

What this all boils down to is "Viva Las Vegas" is another extremely generic Elvis movie, which doesn't really have much of a storyline but plenty of music to keep you entertained. As such it is quite boring and very predictable but as always Elvis delivers when he starts to sing even when it's the most meaningless of little ditties.