Look out, girls – Elvis is in town. Image:

Look out, girls! Elvis is in town. Image: The Memphis Flash

One of our newest guilty pleasures is the 1966 Elvis Presley comedy, Spinout.

Now, as is usually the case with guilty pleasures, there are several reasons why you should not watch this film, namely:

  • A non-progressive view of women
  • A flimsy plot
  • Presley’s, uh, “minimalist” acting style

In Spinout, Presley plays a race-car-driving musician who is perpetually on tour thoughout the United States. But, when he and his band arrive in Santa Barbara, he discovers three women are determined to marry him and – eww! – domesticate him. Presley’s character likes women, but not enough to marry any of ’em.

Nevertheless, the hapless women who’ve decided they cannot live without him are:

  1. A writer (Diane McBain) who views him as the Perfect American Male
  2. A rich society girl (Shelley Fabares) who shares his interest in fast cars
  3. A drummer (Deborah Walley) who’s secretly in love with him

So the question becomes, Whom shall he marry? And, will he win the Big Car Race at the end of the film!

Other questions in the film include:

  • How come Elvis’ hair never moves, even when he’s racing his convertible?
  • How come he never carries his own luggage?
  • What, exactly, do these movie women see in this character?

Now that we’ve given you every reason to dislike this film, here are the reasons why we can’t get enough of it.

Elvis spies on Diane McBain, who's spying on him; Image:

Elvis confronts nosey Diane McBain. Image: Graceland.com

Reason #1: The Script

Yes, we said there isn’t much of a plot in this film, but there are plenty o’ laugh-out-loud lines. For example, in one scene, Presley is getting ready to race Fabares’ father (Carl Betz):

Presley: “I’m going to beat the pants off you.”
Betz: “I’ll be waiting for you at the finish line. We’ll see who’s got pants.”

Reason #2: The Actors

There are some terrific performances in this film. Fabares, who starred with Presley in three films, is winsome as the rich girl who unapologetically uses her father’s money and influence. Betz is delightful as her powerful, boss-of-the-world father, who does whatever it takes to come out on top. However, the best performance, in our opinion, is the charming Walley, who is the heart of Spinout.

Reason #3: The Colours

There is nothing subtle about this movie, which is evident in the 3-ring-circus color scheme. No neutral shades here! The sets are delightfully and obviously fake, which is helpful in promoting the wonderfully distracting wardrobe. Even the props are amusement-park ready: Betz’s roadster, which looks like a mini Batmobile, is painted a glittery metallic gold.

Reason #4: The Food

Take our advice: Do not watch this film if you’re hungry. Some of the characters are gourmet cooks and are forever creating fabulous dishes, such as freshly-grilled steak, tangy bearnaise sauce, cream-kissed chocolate mousse and melt-in-your-mouth cantaloupe glacé – to name just a few. These people have a way of talking about food that will cause you great dissatisfaction with regular movie snacks.

See? Doesn't this look like fun? Image: Doctor Macro

It’s always a party when Elvis is around. Image: Dr. Macro

Reason #5: Oh, right! The Music

Presley may not be a renowned actor, but as a singer he always puts on a good show. He sings plenty o’ catchy 1960s tunes in Spinout, and it’s easy to see why he became (and remains) a legend. Click HERE for a snappy example.

There were three Elvis movies released in 1966, including Spinout. In total, Presley made 31 (!) films, some more highly regarded than others. If you’ve never seen an Elvis Presley movie, we recommend Spinout.

Spinout: starring Elvis Presley, Shelley Fabares, Deborah Walley. Directed by Norman Taurog. Written by Theodore J. Flicker and George Kirgo. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1966, Metrocolor, 93 mins.

Happily blogging about old movies and using the royal "We".

28 Comment on “Guilty Pleasure: Elvis in Spinout

Start Singin', Mac!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: