Home Movies by Decade Movies - 1960s Viva Las Vegas (1964)

Viva Las Vegas (1964)

Elvis Presley plays Lucky Jackson, a racing car driver who needs money to keep his Grand Prix car humming.

He works as a waiter on the Las Vegas strip to earn the money to repair his engine. While Lucky and swimming instructor Rusty (Ann-Margret) are having a really good time together, he loses the money he has saved.

Lucky has also been having problems with rival driver, Elmo (Cesare Danova). In the end, how lucky will he be?

This is one of the last great MGM musicals. For once, the fabulous Elvis Presley found himself in the hands of a good director, Kiss Me Kate‘s George Sidney.

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The choreography is by West Side Story‘s David Winters, there’s wonderful Panavision cinematography by Joseph Biroc (who was camera operator on all the Astaire/Rogers musicals) and the whole glossy package is far and away Presley’s best post-Blue Hawaii (1961) movie.

Ann-Margret is excellent and the glitter of the gambling city (not yet ruined by commercialism) plus some exciting racing scenes perk up the proceedings.

It was unusual for Elvis to share the limelight with anyone, but here 24-year-old Ann-Margret got equal billing and on-screen time, and Presley is at his best with the only woman who could equal his on-screen energy (Ann-Margret was often referred to as “the female Elvis”).

The onscreen chemistry between the pair is insane. Sometimes they look like they are going to spontaneously combust, and she and Elvis were reportedly also an item off-screen during production.

Margret’s workout to C’mon Everybody and the gentle rock ballad The Lady Loves Me stand out, and there’s also a terrific version of Ray Charles‘s What’d I Say.

Originally released in the UK as Love in Las Vegas.

Lucky Jackson
Elvis Presley
Rusty 
Ann-Margret
Elmo
Cesare Danova

Director
George Sidney