FUN IN ACAPULOCO. Paramount Pictures, 1963. Elvis Presley, Ursula Andress, Elsa Cárdenas, Paul Lukas, Larry Domasin, Alejandro Rey. Producer: Hal Wallis. Director: Richard Thorpe.

   I realize that movies such as this one don’t turn up on this blog very often, but other than the fact that Elvis is in it, it marks a significant milestone for me. It’s the first movie I’ve seen in a theater in almost two and a half years. It was the matinee film shown at the New Beverly Theater in Hollywood last Sunday. The New Beverly is owned by Quentin Tarantino and specializes in retro films from 60s through the 80s, many of them prints coming from Tarantino’s own collection, such as this one. The poster below is the one on the sidewalk in front of the theater as you entered.

   The movie was a big hit in its day, but to call it fluff from today’s perspective would be exaggerating by a factor of ten. The plot has something to do with Elvis’s character, the object of affection of two women in competition for his sole attention, and not much more than that —  Elsa Cárdenas as a lady bullfighter, and Ursula Andress as the assistant social director at the resort hotel in Acapulco where Elvis has a combined job as a lifeguard and (of course) a singer.

   I didn’t recognize any of the songs, but the teen-aged girls who came in hordes to see this movie in 1963 surely did. Besides Elvis, the other star attraction, the one aimed for the guys whose girls came to see him and were forced to come along, was of course Ursula Andress, this being the very next film she made following her bombshell appearance as Honey Ryder in the James Bond movie Dr. No. They made for an interesting couple on film. One can only wonder how they may have gotten along in real life.

   I probably would never have sat down to watch this on TV, but it served its primary purpose very well. A movie in brilliant technicolor on a big screen with lots of people in it singing and dancing and just plain having a good time – and all that was only a bonus. It just felt great to be back in a movie theater again!