“Can you check my motor? It whistles.”
A musically talented racer (Elvis Presley) hoping to win enough money in Vegas to buy a motor for his car vies with an Italian count (Cesare Danova) for the affections of a beautiful pool manager (Ann-Margret).
- Ann-Margret Films
- Car Racing
- Elvis Presley Films
- Love Triangle
Elvis Presley met his real-life and cinematic match when he paired up with feisty Ann-Margret for this most enjoyable cult musical, directed with flair by George Sidney and featuring vivid sets and costumes, rousing song-and-dance numbers, nice use of Vegas locales, and a super-fun romantic rivalry (with plenty of genuine sparks flying). It’s hard to pick a favorite musical number, given that nearly all of them satisfy both musically and choreographically (and there’s a nice mix of on-stage and “narrative driving” songs). The title number, naturally, will stick in your head long after it’s done (just reading this review has likely placed it there…), but my personal picks would probably be “The Lady Loves Me” and “Appreciation”. The storyline — consisting of a love triangle, rivalry for musical dominance, and a car race — is appropriately fluffy yet relevant enough to ground the songs in a realistic context. As noted in the New York Times’ review, Viva Las Vegas “remains friendly, wholesome and pretty as all get-out”, and is certainly worth a film fanatic’s time.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Elvis Presley as Lucky
- Ann-Margret as Rusty
- Fun chemistry and rivalry between Presley and Ann-Margret
- Many enjoyable musical numbers
- Solid direction by George Sidney
- Nice use of Las Vegas locales
- Colorful cinematography and sets
Yes, as a cult favorite.