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  Double Trouble Elvis On TourBuy this film here.
Year: 1967
Director: Norman Taurog
Stars: Elvis Presley, Annette Day, John Williams, Yvonne Romain, The Wiere Brothers, Chips Rafferty, Norman Rossington, Monte Landis, Michael Murphy, Leon Askin, John Alderson, Stanley Adams, Maurice Marsac, Walter Burke, Helene Winston
Genre: Musical, Comedy, Thriller, Romance
Rating:  5 (from 2 votes)
Review: Singer Guy Lambert (Elvis Presley) is performing in a London nightclub and once he finishes his act, he steps down off the stage and is asked by an attractive woman who calls herself Claire (Yvonne Romain) whether he has a girlfriend. He admits that he does, but something gives her the impression that he's not entirely serious about her, so when she turns up, Jill (Annette Day) less than impresses him with her constant shying away from him. Tonight, however, she asks if she can go back to his place, and he thinks his luck might be in, but after an evening of tea and biccies he is left frustrated - probably a good thing, too, as Guy doesn't know Jill is only seventeen...

Well there's an uncomfortable way to start an Elvis movie, leaving some to wonder if it was inspired by the fact that when he met Priscilla Presley she was only fourteen, but actually there's little evidence that Jill's age was anything more than a contrived dilemma of the kind that often cropped up in the megastar's later, lightweight silver screen efforts. With a title like that, you might expect a plotline about twins to crop up, but although there's a pair of sisters in this, they only appear for one short scene and have nothing to do with the rest of this. What we do get is a convoluted chase around Europe involving diamonds, an heiress and a murder scheme.

Jill is that heiress, and Guy is summoned to meet her guardian at his country estate, uncle Gerald Waverly (John Williams), who breaks the bad news to him that Jill is still at school. Hold on, though, in a few days it'll be her eighteenth birthday, and the implications of Elvis rubbing his hands in anticipation of this event are too unsavoury to contemplate, so the script has him try to give Jill the brush-off instead. Smitten, she won't be put off and takes the same ferry he does when his band head for Belgium, with hilarious consequences. Well, that was the idea anyway, but what strange knots light entertainment can tie itself up in for the sake of a gag or the excuse for a musical interlude.

Naturally, although this is set in Europe Elvis never set foot outside of California to shoot it, as he stayed away from the place after his army stint for various reasons (i.e. Colonel Tom Parker wouldn't let him), so all those Swinging London sequences at the beginning are resolutely setbound. And even when he does venture outside, it's on the studio lot (doubles were filmed in Belgium for long shots), so Double Trouble has an artificial tone for the most part. The songs are undistinguished, although "City By Night" has a nice jazzy flavour, but when Presley croons "Old MacDonald" to Day on the back of a chicken truck, there is more than one fan who cringes in embarrassment.

For part of the story we're wondering if someone has it in for Guy, as someone keeps launching attacks that resemble accidents when he is around, but the actual target is Jill. Day, in her only film, has been much criticised over the years, but in spite of her lack of experience she is a bright and appealing presence, something different from the usual Elvis leading lady who might not be an acting heavyweight, but is perfectly fine for a bit of fluff like Double Trouble. It is an odd film in the manner that family entertainment can be, with the King showing off his martial arts skills against future star character actor Michael Murphy at one point, or subjected to being straight man to the comic stylings of forgotten act The Wiere Brothers, who play bumbling detectives. There's a "we're having fun, right?" air of desperation to much of this, but that simply adds to the interest, what with Elvis performing in front of a Beatles-esque backing band and all. Music by Jeff Alexander.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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