Speedway

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SPEEDWAY——Elvis does not “do it” with Nancy Sinatra in this 1968 “musical-action film”, so the rating suffers accordingly.  Forget any Memphis Mafia: Frank would have had the King whacked (“Jilly, call Moe Greene”).  Fans were punished instead, by the direction of Norman Taurog,  speedwaying $1,500,000 worth of rush-it-thru shots of race cars and plot-designated hijinks.  It sputtered to stall at #40; one site saying it landed but $2,000,000 (another gives a haul at $8,540,000).

They must have thought they had a sure-fire thing, triple-coasting from the success laps of Grand Prix, off the star’s recent race-car goof of Spinout and on residual vibes from Presley’s earlier hit of Viva Las Vegas. Nancy was a hottie, but she was no Ann-Margret, in either the moves or acting department, and the show fails to take advantage of her fan’d sex appeal, flaunted on her album covers and TV gigs. Sparks are plugged.speedway In a poignant sum-up, Roger Ebert opined that the 94 minutes were “pleasant, kind, polite, sweet and noble, and (while future viewers…) will not discover from it what American society was like in the summer of 1968, at least they will discover what it was not like.”  The King was racing in a circle with his film vehicles, and his other ’68 collisions, Stay Away, Joe and Live A Little, Love A Little performed even worse than this one. Nancy bailed on any acting after this, and stuck to her recording.

With Bill Bixby, Gale Gordon, William Schallert, Victoria Meyerink, Carl Ballantine, Poncie Ponce, Harry Hickox, Beverly Powers, Richard Petty and Cale Yarborough.

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