Loving You (1957)

Genres - Drama, Romance  |   Sub-Genres - Rock Musical  |   Run Time - 101 min.  |   Countries - USA  |   MPAA Rating - G
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Loving You is one of Elvis Presley's liveliest and most interesting early films, and has a fair degree of honesty and verisimilitude as such juke-box movies go. Presley proves he can act, at least in a role that bears some resemblance to his real-life persona, and does some good songs, including the title number, "Hot Dog," "Mean Woman Blues," and "Teddy Bear," and everything surrounding him holds up. Lizabeth Scott, in her last Hollywood feature, plays a less malignant successor to the hardboiled roles in which she'd specialized in the 1940s, in films such as The Pitfall and Dead Reckoning, portraying a cool, tough publicist with the instincts of a shark, and Wendell Corey does well as her sad-eyed paramour, while Dolores Hart makes a thoroughly beguiling ingénue. Even the band as depicted here resembles any number of real-life country groups that existed at the time, right down to Paul Smith's performance as Skeeter, who fills the same comic relief role here that Pat Brady did for the Sons of the Pioneers. The fact that the Jordanaires, Elvis' real-life backing group, are cast as Deke's back-up singers only completes the picture, one of the best in Elvis Presley's output. The irony is that Presley himself almost never looked at Loving You after its original release, because of the final concert sequence: His mother, Gladys, who died in 1958, less than a year after the movie's release, played the heavy-set woman in the audience, and he could never bear to watch it.