WHEN ELVIS SINGS A LULLABY
... I just long to be this tough GI
says Harold Long
TWO years, two blessed years of peace and sweetness, are shattered in the cinema this week.
Sergeant Elvis Presley, late of the U.S. 3rd Armoured (Spearhead), Division, West Germany, returns to the screen ... demobilised and making up for lost time.
G.I. Blues (Plaza, "U") is designed, with ruthless efficiency, to make those lost years pay delayed dividends.
Inevitably, Elvis plays a tank gunner doing national service in Germany. Comprehensive shots of the 3rd Armoured Division's manoeuvres, taken while Elvis was a real soldier, provide background for the film.
Just as inevitably, military manoeuvres quickly give way to those involving frauleins, beer-drinking and songs.
The beer flows in gallons, the frauleins enthusiastically cry "Jawohl!" to love - and gunner Presley (he's been demoted), with guitar at the ready, never seems to stop singing.
Left nostril and lips curled and a-quiver, hips working overtime, he goes through the book.
Beer-cellar songs, funicular songs, Offenbach's Barcarolle hotted up, a Punch-and-Judy ditty (quite pleasant) ... and a terrible episode when Elvis, as a baby-sitter, erupts into a lullaby.
The baby, to judge by its startled expression, may soon be consulting a psychiatrist.
What I longed for was to change places with that Elvis-socking GI.
For action (between songs) we have a variation of Shakespeare's favourite plot:
Gunner Presley, to win a regimental wager, must contrive to stay one entire night in a glamorous - but reputedly frigid - cabaret star's appartment.
Elvis handles the plot without offence: like most crooners he has a healthy sense of humour about himself.
He gets spirited support from Juliet Prowse, during a conducted tour of German love and the Rhineland.
But I find few screen offerings more depressing that the spectacle of GI huskies on a girl-hunt.
So I gladly hand this sample over to ex-sergt.Presley's public.
THEY ALAS! WILL LOVE IT.
Review from a newspaper printed in the UK, 1960