Movie Review: Fun in Acapulco (1963)
“Come With Elvis to Fabulous Acapulco!”
Fun in Acapulco (1963)
Director: Richard Thorpe
Cast: Elvis Presley, Ursula Andress, Elsa Cárdenas
Synopsis: A young man finds romance with a princess who has fallen on hard times when he works as a singer in a hotel in Acapulco.
It’s 1963 and the hip-swinging, floppy-haired Elvis (G.I. Blues, Easy Come, Easy Go) from seven years earlier has been replaced by a sleeker, clean-cut version with meticulously styled hair and a taste for fitted shirts and slacks. It’s as if he’s been badly cloned and the product subsequently dipped in Formica, which is quite ironic in a way because for much of this film we’re not watching the real Elvis but a slightly taller and lankier double. The real Elvis got no nearer to Acapulco during the making of this flick than I did during the watching of it, and it’s quite jarring the way the film keeps flipping back and forth between location shots and studio sets in the course of a scene.
The story is the usual nonsense. Elvis loses his job on a rich man’s boat because of his employer’s jealous teen daughter, and is sort of adopted by an annoying street urchin (Larry Damosin) who is everyone’s cousin and quickly wins Elvis a singing job at a hotel. It’s a swanky hotel, built into the side of a cliff and overlooking the steep rocks from which local divers leap for the patron’s pleasure. One of the guests is an unlikely female toreador, while the hotel’s social secretary is the succulent Ursula Andress (Dr. No), the daughter of the hotel’s chef who was once royalty. That’s right: she’s a princess in rags. Elvis used to be a trapeze artist but he once dropped his brother (it’s the kind of thing you only do once) and now has a fear of heights. Lord only knows how it will all end up…
Elvis had evidently given up all aspirations of being a serious actor by the time this folly was produced. He was in some decent pictures in the late fifties and early sixties, but was too lightweight an actor to live up to them. It seems he had found his level, and could hardly complain. Fun in Acapulco is filled with catchy tunes that are instantly forgettable – until the last twenty minutes or so, when director Richard Thorpe starts piling on the psychological angst with a teaspoon. Although the film itself is as forgettable as its songs, it’s pleasant enough if you’re in an undemanding frame of mind and looking for an escape from the realities of your life.
(Reviewed 21st October 2011)