HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Shiva Baby
Flowers of Shanghai
War and Peace
Agony
Merrily We Go to Hell
Ellie & Abbie (& Ellie's Dead Aunt)
Amusement Park, The
Lemebel
Hands of Orlac, The
Cats
Death has Blue Eyes
Caveat
Kala Azar
Duplicate
Flashback
Gunda
After Love
Earwig and the Witch
Zebra Girl
Skull: The Mask
Vanquish
Bank Job
Drunk Bus
Homewrecker
State Funeral
Army of the Dead
Initiation
Redoubt
Dinner in America
Death Will Come and Shall Have Your Eyes
PG: Psycho Goreman
Maeve
Sound of Metal
Things of Life, The
Auschwitz Escape, The
Jungle Fever
Great White
Spy Who Came in from the Cold, The
Raya and the Last Dragon
Letter from Paris
   
 
Newest Articles
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
   
 
  It Happened at the World's Fair See the sights with the Elvis
Year: 1963
Director: Norman Taurog
Stars: Elvis Presley, Joan O'Brien, Gary Lockwood, Vicky Tiu, H.M. Wynant, Edith Atwater, Guy Raymond, Dorothy Green, Kam Tong, Yvonne Craig
Genre: Musical, ComedyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 3 votes)
Review: Crop-duster pilot Mike Edwards (Elvis Presley) is a rock-and-roll crooning Casanova who can’t resist buzzing a couple of cute blondes on the highway while his buddy Danny (Gary Lockwood) is in the front seat, presumably praying they don’t crash. While Mike is all about the ladies, Danny has a gambling habit and blows their pay on his latest poker game. After rescuing his penniless pal from angry gamblers, Mike discovers the local sheriff has impounded their plane until they pay off Danny’s debts. So Mike and Danny hitch a ride with Mr. Ling (Kam Tong) and his cute little niece Sue-Lin (Vicky Tiu) who are on their way to the World’s Fair in Seattle. With Ling busy on the road, Mike agrees to escort Sue-Lin around the many splendid attractions at the fair. Eating too many sugary desserts lands Sue-Lin with a tummy ache at the hospital where Mike promptly falls for nurse Diane Warren (Joan O'Brien). His attempts to woo Diane are complicated when Ling mysteriously disappears leaving Sue-Lin in Mike’s care.

Politics combined with rock-and-roll to ensure the making of It Happened at the World’s Fair. Well, sort of... It was Albert Rossellini, governor of Washington at the time, who suggested to MGM that the World’s Fair in Seattle might make a picturesque backdrop for their latest Elvis escapade. In retrospect it is easy to discern the feelgood factor for Americans watching the greatest rock star in the world strolling through an exhibition celebrating a bright and shiny future for a nation that, in the early Sixties, was on top of the world. Veteran cinematographer Joseph Ruttenberg, whose many illustrious credits included Ziegfeld Girl (1941), Invitation to the Dance (1954), Brigadoon (1954) and Gigi (1958) before bowing out with another Elvis vehicle Speedway (1968), soaks up the gorgeous fairground colours and sleek futuristic scenery provided by the Seattle Center Monorail and the Space Needle for a film that, while undeniably light on plot, carries an air of uplifting optimism.

Screenwriters Si Rose and Seaman Jacobs never really settle on one definitive plot but rather awkwardly interweaves several ephemeral threads. Yet somehow the film assembles a subtext that proves unexpectedly affecting. While Joan O’Brien essays one of Elvis’ more unremarkable love interests, the film hints it is the optimism she represents that galvanises Mike to get his hitherto wayward life together. Little Sue-Lin embodies Mike’s possible future as an upstanding family. Meanwhile Danny seems content to remain a ne’er do well and conspires to rid Mike of both “corrupting” female influences. Five years later Gary Lockwood, who also appeared with Elvis in Wild in the Country (1961), played astronaut Frank Poole in 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) leading one to wonder whether Stanley Kubrick was an Elvis fan?

Adorable scene-stealing tyke Vicky Tiu undoubtedly earned the envy of millions of kids around the world. She even gets to sing a duet with Elvis. Norman Taurog, whose directing career stretched back to classics like The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1938), Boys Town (1938) and Presenting Lily Mars (1943) was noted for coaxing strong performances from child actors whom he often rewarded with chocolate after a good take. Tiu certainly earned her sugar fix and unlike her sisters Ginny Tiu and Elizabeth Tiu and brother Alexander Tiu who starred opposite Elvis in Girls! Girls! Girls! (1962), inhabits a genuine character rather than conform to a cutesy Asian-American caricature. Elsewhere, fans of the Sixties Batman show should keep an eye out for curvaceous Yvonne Craig, a few years before she went on to fuel generations of adolescent fantasies as sparkly purple Batgirl, whose romantic clinche with Elvis is interrupted by her gun-toting papa! Craig, who was supposedly dating Elvis offscreen, had a more substantial role in his next film, Kissin’ Cousins (1964). By far the most notable thing about It Happened at the World’s Fair is the scene where a young Kurt Russell kicks Elvis in the leg, all part of his scheme to score sympathy with Diana. Russell of course went on to play Elvis in John Carpenter’s 1979 biopic.

It Happened at the World’s Fair gives fans their money’s worth of Elvis songs. While there is nothing comparible “Jailhouse Rock” or “Love Me Tender”, the music ranks among his strongest soundtrack efforts. The film also throws in the usual scenes where Elvis thrashes a dozen thugs single-handed, included in his contract so he could show off his karate moves and play the action star he always wanted to be rather than the soppy romantic lead Colonel Parker ensured he stayed. Gary Lockwood proves about as handy as he was against HAL. Though commonly derided, It Happened at the World’s Fair stands as an ode to more innocent and optimistic times and for sheer feelgood entertainment ranks among the top tier Elvis titles.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 2623 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 star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
Andrew Pragasam
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
   

 

Last Updated: