KISSIN’ COUSINS—-Elvis Presley’s 14th feature is not exactly Shakespearean, but this 1964 lark makes for pleasantly harmless goofiness; with the exception of its immediate follow-up Viva Las Vegas, it’s better than the sixteen wheezers that would trundle out after.
The Beatles Enemy Number One plays (at) twin cousins here—‘Josh’ & ‘Jody Tatum’: one an Air Force city slicker, ‘tother a moonshinin’ hillbillyite. The Pentagon wants a certain Tennessee mountain for a missile base, and if that means City Elvis has to charm them hill critters with tunes, and waller in the haystack with their bustiest wimmenfoke–so be it. He also gets to ‘fite’ hissef, er’ cuzzin, and—watch out fer them danged ‘Kittyhawks’, a whole tribe of almost clothed she-cats who rampage around the hollers lookin’ fer real men.
What you get is fun dumbness, some okay songs, and as with all Presley pix, scorch-hot gal co-stars. This time, wide-eyed invitation is provided by Yvonne Craig, Pamela Austin and Cynthia Pepper, the last having an especially heart-warping girl-next-door wholesomeness that coyly hints at untapped reserves of bubbling lust (at least that’s how I interpreted it as a kid, which no doubt has affected my having normal relationships since Johnson was President). Yet I do not spin alone in the Time Tunnel, as I spied one comment from a fan on the Net, forthright declaring “Ms. Craig was the determining factor in my buying the film on dvd.” Sociologists of the future can sort it all out.
Directed by Gene Nelson, breezing by at 96 minutes, with Arthur O’Connell, Glenda Farrell, Donald Woods and Tommy Farrell. Maureen Reagan, daughter of the Jipper Himself, played the leader of the sex-crazed Kittyhawks: what did Nancy of Bergdorfs think of that scandal? A sixteen-year-old Teri Garr is in there somewhere, dancing barefoot. The movie has a poor rep that I think is too harsh, although it does look cheap–it was cheap, blitzed out in three weeks (!) for only $800,000. It hootered in #32 for the year, taking in a decent $8,290,000. Now back to my Proust…