“Make sure this pigeon don’t get away.”
A debt-ridden promoter (Gig Young) convinces an Army veteran (Elvis Presley) to work with a trainer (Charles Bronson) and box a few rounds so he can save up for his dream of working as a mechanic. When Presley falls in love with Young’s sister (Joan Blackman), Young expresses his dismay, angering his long-suffering girlfriend (Lola Albright) — but soon the demands of gangsters requesting payment dominate Young’s concerns. Will Presley be set up for a beating?
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Elvis Presley Films
- Gig Young Films
- Phil Karlson Films
Elvis Presley’s tenth feature film (he made a total of 31 between 1956-1969) was this musical remake of Michael Curtiz’s 1937 film starring Edward G. Robinson, Humphrey Bogart, and Bette Davis. While he does sing a few (fairly unmemorable) tunes, Elvis’s musical gifts are a sidebar to his k.o. talents here, and perhaps his fans were excited to see him shirtless in a ring.
But overall, there’s not much to keep one engaged, given that Elvis’s Walter Gulick is a straight-arrow, small-town veteran and would-be mechanic who simply wants to marry his girl (Blackman is pretty, but also pretty bland).
Young’s despicable promoter and his put-upon female companion (Albright) are the most complex characters in the screenplay:
… but there’s not much enjoyment in watching them work out their neuroses and challenges; and Bronson’s role is too small to count for much.
Will Elvis emerge triumphant by the end? Well, this isn’t Love Me Tender (1956)…
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Some nice location shooting in Idyllwild, California (with cinematography by Burnett Guffey)
No; this one is only must-see for Presley fans.