Viva Las Vegas: Wikis


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Viva Las Vegas
Directed by George Sidney
Milton Feldman (Ass't)
Otto Lang (2nd unit)
Produced by Jack Cummings & George Sidney
Written by Sally Benson
Starring Elvis Presley
Music by George E. Stoll
Cinematography Joseph F. Biroc, ASC
Editing by John McSweeney Jr.
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date(s) May 20, 1964 (USA),
March-August 1964 (Europe)[1]
Running time 85 min.[2]
Language English
Preceded by Kissin' Cousins
Followed by Roustabout

Viva Las Vegas (1964) is an American romantic musical film co-starring Elvis Presley and Ann-Margret. The movie is regarded by fans as one of Presley's best and is noted for the on-screen chemistry between Presley and Ann-Margret, plus 10 musical numbers.[2] The film was a huge box office hit, earning over $5 million and becoming the no.11 film on the list of the Top 20 Box Office hits of 1964.



Some critics in 1964 did dislike the film, as in the New York Times: "Viva Las Vegas, the new Elvis Presley vehicle, is about as pleasant and unimportant as a banana split".[3] However, others concluded why the 1964 public liked the film: "Beyond several flashy musical numbers, a glamorous locale and one electrifying auto race sequence, the production is a pretty trite and heavyhanded affair...".[2] Notwithstanding, "Viva Las Vegas" has become one of Presley's most iconic films. Already well-known for several top hits, he performed the entire title song, in a single uncut take.[citation needed]

Production issues

In Britain the movie and its soundtrack were titled "Love In Las Vegas" as there was another film called 'Viva Las Vegas' showing in British cinemas at the time this one was released.

The chemistry between the two stars[2] was apparently real during the filming. Presley and Ann-Margret allegedly began an affair which received considerable attention from gossip columnists and led to a showdown with a worried Priscilla Beaulieu. In her 1985 book, Elvis and Me, Priscilla Presley described the difficulties she experienced when the press announced that Ann-Margret and Elvis were engaged to be married.[4] However, there may have been other reasons for the great publicity campaign about the romance between Elvis and Ann-Margret during the filming of Viva Las Vegas and the following weeks. It primarily helped to increase the popularity of the young Hollywood beauty.

In her memoir, Ann-Margret refers to Presley as her "soulmate" but very little is revealed about their long-rumored romance.[5] In his critical study on the "dream machine" that publicists, tabloid newspapers, journalists, and TV interviewers use to create semi-fictional icons, often playing with inauthenticity, Joshua Gamson cites a press agent "saying that his client, Ann-Margret, could initially have been "sold ... as anything"; "She was a new product. We felt there was a need in The Industry for a female Elvis Presley."[6]

In addition, the filming produced unusually heated exchanges between Presley's manager Colonel Tom Parker, for once not credited as a "Technical Advisor" in the opening credits for this film, and the movie's director, the highly experienced George Sidney. It concerned the time and effort allotted by the cinematographer, ostensibly on Sidney's orders, to the musical scenes involving Ann-Margret, which included views from many different angles, re-takes and the use of several cameras for each shot.

Presley's screen charisma was nevertheless there for anyone to see. The scene in which he delivers the title song remains the only one in his career to depict him performing an entire song, in one uncut take, and as shot by the lens of a single camera.

Plot summary

Lucky Jackson (Elvis Presley) goes to Las Vegas, Nevada to participate in the city's first annual Grand Prix. However, his race car, an Elva Mk VI, is in need of a new engine in order to compete. Jackson raises the money but mislays it when distracted by a local swimming instructor, Rusty Martin (Ann-Margret). Soon, Jackson's main competition arrives in the form of Count Elmo Mancini (Cesare Danova), who attempts to steal both the race and Rusty.



Viva Las Vegas
EP by Elvis Presley
Released May 1964
Recorded July 1963
Genre Soundtrack
Length 10:31
Label RCA Records
Producer George Stoll

Recording sessions took place on July 9, 10, and 11, 1963, at Radio Recorders in Hollywood, California. By now film and soundtrack obligations were starting to back up on each other, and six weeks after the aborted "lost album" sessions of May 1963, the stable of Presley songwriters were required to come up with another dozen songs for yet another new picture.[7] Song quality took a back seat to the need for volume, and Presley's filming schedule made it difficult for song publishers to live up to obligations.[8] Memphis Mafia pal Red West had written a "Ray Charles-styled" number, but so little good material had surfaced that an extra session was scheduled on August 30 for an actual Ray Charles song, later released as a single to promote the film with its title song.[9]

Twelve songs were recorded for the film, but only six were issued on records. The idea of a full-length soundtrack long-playing album was not considered, which has garnered much criticism from various accounts, including Elvis: The Illustrated Record.[citation needed] "Night Rider," "Do the Vega," and a medley "Yellow Rose of Texas/The Eyes of Texas" would be released on Elvis Sings Flaming Star in 1969, and the Neapolitan song "Santa Lucia" would be placed on Elvis for Everyone.[10] "The Lady Loves Me" would be issued on Elvis: A Legendary Performer Volume 4 in 1983, and the duet betwen Presley and Ann-Margret "You're the Boss" on Elvis Sings Leiber & Stoller in 1991.[11] The other duets between the pair in the film, along with Ann-Margret's solo numbers, would wait until later retrospectives to appear on record.

Two songs were released as a single, catalogue 47-8360 on April 28, a cover of the Ray Charles rhythm and blues classic from 1959, "What'd I Say," with the film title song "Viva Las Vegas" by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman on the b-side. The strength of both sides caused it to split the difference on the chart, with "What'd I Say" peaking at #21 and "Viva Las Vegas" making it to #29. The four-song soundtrack appeared as an extended play single in May of 1964 to coincide with the film's premiere. The soundtrack EP reached only #92 on the Billboard Hot 100, the lowest-charting release of Presley's career to this point.[12] RCA had not released an Elvis EP single in two years; given that it was a dying format, and given the disastrous chart performance of Viva Las Vegas, the company would only issue two more for the remainder of Presley's career.[13]



Track listing

Side one

Track Recorded Song Title Writers Time
1. 7/9/63 If You Think I Don't Need You Red West and Joe Cooper 2:03
2. 7/10/63 I Need Somebody to Lean On Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman 2:50

Side two

Track Recorded Song Title Writers Time
1. 7/9/63 C'mon Everybody Joy Byers 2:16
2. 7/11/63 Today Tomorrow and Forever Bill Giant, Bernie Baum, Florence Kaye 3:22

DVD Releases

Warner Home Video, August 1, 2000.

This was the first DVD release. It contains the movie in two formats on a flipper disc. One side contains the movie in the Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 (4:3), the other side is in Widescreen (Letterbox). The soundtrack is presented in mono.[14]

Viva Las Vegas Deluxe Edition, Warner Home Video, August 7, 2007.
  • Commentary by Steve Pond, rock journalist and author of Elvis in Hollywood
  • Restored and Digitally Remastered in a 16x9 master, enhanced for widescreen televisions. Color/16x9 Anamorphic transfer 2.4:1
  • New featurette Kingdom: Elvis in Vegas
  • Remastered soundtrack in Dolby Digital 5.1 from original production elements and original mono theatrical soundtrack.[15]

This film is the first of only 2 Elvis movies (the other being "Jailhouse Rock") to be officially released onto every home video format ever distributed in the U.S. (Beta, VHS, CED Disc, Laserdisc, DVD, HD DVD and Blu-Ray DVD)

Cultural references


  1. ^ IMDb webpage.
  2. ^ a b c d "Viva Las Vegas", By VARIETY STAFF, 1 January 1964, webpage: Variety-Vegas-144.
  3. ^ New York Times, May 21, 1964, p.42
  4. ^ See Priscilla Presley, Elvis and Me, p.175 f.
  5. ^ Ann-Margret with Todd Gold, Ann-Margret: My Story (1994).
  6. ^ See Joshua Gamson, Claims to Fame: Celebrity in Contemporary America (University of California Press, 1994), p.46. See also C. Lee Harrington and Denise D. Bielby, Popular Culture: Production and Consumption (2000), p.273.
  7. ^ Jorgensen, Ernst. Elvis Presley A Life in Music: The Complete Recording Sessions. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1998; p. 183.
  8. ^ Jorgensen, op. cit., p. 184.
  9. ^ Ibid.
  10. ^ Jorgensen, op. cit., p. 182.
  11. ^ Jorgensen, op. cit., p. 183.
  12. ^ Jorgensen, op. cit., p. 416.
  13. ^ Jorgensen, op. cit., p. 172, 199.
  14. ^
  15. ^ - Details Warner and Paramount DVD releases

See also

External links


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