Presley is a drifter just out of the army who takes on a job as a sparring partner working for a gambling louse (Gig Young) who's in hock over his head. Naturally, Elvis becomes a boxing sensation when he knocks out his partner and Young spots a chance to settle some outstanding debts by highlighting him as the new champ. Charles Bronson (did this man ever look young?) is on hand as the trainer who's loyal to Elvis.
*** This is the corrected, higher quality version which was previously released. The previous release had some severe video problems for many viewers. This release has fixed it ****
Elvis Presley ... Walter Gulick
Gig Young ... Willy Grogan
Lola Albright ... Dolly Fletcher
Joan Blackman ... Rose Grogan
Charles Bronson ... Lew Nyack
David Lewis ... Otto Danzig
Robert Emhardt ... Maynard
Liam Redmond ... Father Higgins
Judson Pratt ... Howie Zimmerman
Ned Glass ... Max Lieberman
George Mitchell ... Harry Sperling
Roy Roberts ... Jerry Bathgate
As a big fan of Elvis Presley, Gig Young, and Charles Bronson, as well as the sport of boxing, I enjoyed this movie for those reasons alone. Elvis gives a decent performance, but is stereotyped by the script as a goofy, goo-natured, lug-head, who has a natural gift of a cast-iron chin and one-punch knockout power. Half the movie Elvis looks in a daze with his mouth open catching flies!
Charles Bronson has a surprise role as a trainer. Not once does his show off his impressive muscular build and even gets both his hands broken by gangsters. A truly different role for him. He too is stereotyped as the ex-boxer walking on his heels.
Gig Young gives his usual out-standing performance, but there is nothing to like at all about his character; he's a liar, a user, aback-stabber, and an over-all jerk.
The fight scenes are poorly done and considering they were advised by former World Light-welterweight boxing great Mushy Callahan, a big disappointment.
However, if you like Elvis, this will be an enjoyable film.
A very different Elvis movie. Only a very few, but quite good songs can be found in this one. Elvis as a recently discharged G.I. is looking for work, but ends up as a fighter after taking a job as a sparring partner for an up and coming fighter. This movie has a lot of heart and features a number of great actors including Charles Bronson and Oscar winner Gig Young. It also features Joan Blackman, Elvis' co-star in BLUE HAWAII. She is totally gorgeous and very sexy in this movie. A very earthy movie for its times, especially for Elvis. I have seen it plenty of times over the years but always remember sitting in my local theater in 1962 with some of my buddies watching it on a summer afternoon. At that time, it was only the second Elvis movie I had ever seen. A very good movie. Watch it whether you are an Elvis fan or not. Elvis shows some real acting chops in this one.
Comparisons to the 1937 version of "Kid Galahad" are pointless, the only similarity between the two films is the nickname of the title character. It probably suits Elvis Presley a bit better than Wayne Morris, the knight in shining armor who at the film's opening touts his reputation in song as 'King of the Whole Wide World'. The movie's trailer calls it a 'honey of a picture', and for his fans back in the day, maybe so.
Events in the story conspire to turn Presley's character Walter Gulick from an ex-GI mechanic into a successful local boxer, thereby earning him a paycheck and the heart of Rose Grogan (Joan Blackman), kid sis of Willy (Gig Young). Together they own the Grogan Gaelic Gardens, an upstate New York resort that can't turn a profit because Willy Grogan is a gambling lush in hock to local hoods.
You'd be hard pressed to call this a boxing movie though, Elvis takes turns as a punching bag in virtually every ring scene until he finds the magnetic wonder punch to knock his opponent out. The dramatic set up for Cream Valley's Labor Day extravaganza includes Grogan's encounter with the bad boys who hope to make a killing with bets on the fight. Kid Galahad comes through, but you knew that, this is the King's movie.
There are some interesting casting surprises here, highlighted by Charles Bronson's turn as Galahad's trainer, and a very early film appearance by the uncredited Ed Asner. Gig Young is generally competent as Grogan, while female leads Lola Albright and Joan Blackman don't have a lot to do except play off their respective boyfriends. Albright's Dolly Fletcher gets to fire off an effective one liner defending Elvis' character when she starts to lose patience for Grogan's marriage delays.
Every now and then you'll catch an art deco tease with vivid reds, yellow and blues interspersed with Presley's songs. All are fairly mellow tunes; the "I Got Lucky" number brought a chuckle as I imagined it being performed in a corn field instead of by the side of a lake. You know, the slow twist accompaniment seemed a bit, well, corny.
Hey, it's not a bad little flick and a better way to remember Elvis by than the bloated self destructive image he came to bear in the years before his death. A bit of escapist entertainment that in it's way echoes Dolly Fletcher's sentiment early in the film - "Thanks Galahad".
* Professional boxing coach "Mushy" Callahan trained Elvis for the fight scenes.
* Elvis thought that Michael Curtiz would have been the ideal director for this film.
* 37th most grossing film of the year 1962.
* In it's opening weekend film reached place 9.
* Elvis Presley gave his guitar which used in the film and also in Follow That Dream (1962) to property master Frank Agnone.
* Joan Blackman became second and last female actor who played leading female role in an Elvis Presley two times.
* Michael Curtiz, Presley's favorite director, had previously directed the original Kid Galahad (1937).