HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Thelma
Stratton
February
Taking of Beverly Hills, The
Marjorie Prime
Hotel Salvation
Mangler, The
Shiraz
Mercy, The
Kickboxer: Retaliation
Molly Maguires, The
Party, The
Dante's Peak
Housemaid, The
Vendetta
Brimstone
Boys in the Trees
Once Were Warriors
Red Planet Mars
Blade Runner 2049
Devil's Express
Belko Experiment, The
Flashback
War of the Arrows
One-Trick Pony
Cloverfield Paradox, The
Beach Rats
In Between
Flesh Feast
Gerald's Game
   
 
Newest Articles
They're All Messed Up: Night of the Living Dead vs Land of the Dead
The House, Black Magic and an Oily Maniac: 3 from 70s Weird Asia
80s Meet Cute: Something Wild vs Into the Night
Interview with The Unseen Director Gary Sinyor
Wrong Forgotten: Is Troll 2 Still a Thing?
Apocalypse 80s UK: Threads and When the Wind Blows
Movie Flop to Triumphant TV Revival: Twin Peaks and The League of Gentlemen
Driving Force: The Golden Age of American Car Chases
Madness in his Method: Jim Carrey and Andy Kaufman
Music, Love and Flowers: Monterey Pop on Blu-ray
   
 
  Frankie and Johnny Oh lordy how they could love!Buy this film here.
Year: 1966
Director: Frederick de Cordova
Stars: Elvis Presley, Donna Douglas, Harry Morgan, Sue Ann Langdon, Nancy Kovack, Audrey Christie, Robert Strauss, Anthony Eisley, Joyce Jameson
Genre: Musical, Comedy
Rating:  5 (from 2 votes)
Review: Johnny (Elvis Presley) is a luckless gambler who sings as part of a musical duo along with his fetchingly feisty girlfriend Frankie (Donna Douglas) on a riverboat sailing down the Mississippi. Hoping to score enough cash to take Frankie to Broadway someday, Johnny spends his last cash on a fraudulent fortune-teller who predicts a beautiful red-head will end his streak of bad luck at the roulette wheel. So Johnny and his songwriting pal Cully (Harry Morgan) latch onto sexy, flame-haired showgirl Nellie Bly (Nancy Kovack), whose presence does somehow change their fortunes, although her heart belongs to riverboat boss Clint Braden (Anthony Eisley, future star of Dracula vs. Frankenstein (1969)!). While Johnny has no real romantic interest in Nellie, his rather unorthodox get-rich-quick scheme enrages Frankie.

It is 1966. The Beatles and the Rolling Stones are rewriting the musical rules and here is the King of Rock and Roll camping it up singing showtunes in sequinned shirts. One suspects more than a few fans were aghast at the sight. Having said that, Frankie and Johnny, which is not to be confused with the Al Pacino and Michelle Pfeiffer love story of the same name, actually offers a decent array of snappy songs, including the charmingly staged title number which, in a borderline post-modern conceit, mirrors the offstage drama, such as it is. While the film offers nothing to compare with, say, Jailhouse Rock, the likes of “What Every Woman Lives For”, “Hard Luck” and “Down by the Riverside” are endearing fluff along with a rousing rendition of “When the Saints Go Marching In”, which finds our boy Elvis leading his comely co-stars in full marching band regalia.

Even so, the combination of pleasant tunes, gorgeous gals, lush colours and handsome production values cannot disguise the fact this sports a very, very flimsy plot that goes nowhere. Produced by Edward Small, the man behind It! The Terror from Outer Space (1958), Jack the Giant Killer (1962) and The Christine Jorgenson Story (1970) (how’s that for a filmography?), Frankie and Johnny seemingly attempts to evoke memories of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Showboat, twice adapted for the screen, with its riverboat milieu. Interestingly, if not altogether successfully, the film is driven by its strong female characters. Not just gutsy Donna Douglas but a ravishing and redoubtable Nancy Kovack, Audrey Christie as Cully’s formidable wife Peg, and a spirited Sue Ann Langdon as jilted showgirl Peg who rather poignantly describes herself as a “girl with a past and no future.” These ladies call the shots and handle most of the gags, including an amusing sequence with the principal trio all costumed like Marie Antoinette, while the menfolk are drawn as feckless, floundering fools.

Which is rather disheartening for an Elvis film. Almost a guest star in his own movie, the King is clearly on autopilot, allowing leading lady Donna Douglas to steal the show. Douglas, who found sitcom immortality as adorable Ellie-May in The Beverly Hillbillies, joins the ranks of Ann-Margret and Carolyn Jones as a worthy foil to Elvis. She also looks terrific showing her shapely legs in some eye-popping costumes. In spite of its failings, including a half-hearted detour into suspense territory during the last ten minutes, Frankie and Johnny remains an amiable affair whose pleasures include the rare sight of future M*A*S*H star Harry Morgan singing and Elvis once again proving himself the only straight man who could pull of such kitsch outfits.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 1330 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which film has the best theme song?
Spectre
The Ups and Downs of a Handyman
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Jason Cook
  Andrew Irvine
Ian Phillips
Paul Shrimpton
   

 

Last Updated: