Live a Little, Love a Little (1968) Poster

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Nolan is here with the truth...
Shane Paterson6 July 2002
And the truth is that this is a good film. It's a very atypical film, as were all of Elvis' last few scripted movies in one way or another. Actually, it's a somewhat weird film, and probably the most unusual that Elvis did in terms of being 'out there' a way. It wasn't even released in the UK -- if so, it's a pity, because people who'd finally grown tired of the '60s musicals might have found redeeming value in this one.

Here we have Elvis playing an adult for one of the few times in his career, complete with more coarse language than he'd been given before, a lot more innuendo, and even a bed-sharing with his female co-star. It's an interesting piece and one that was largely missed by many as Elvis' '60s film formula began to lose its successful appeal around the time of "Easy Come, Easy Go," "Clambake," and "Speedway." Elvis himself was probably more interested by this point in projects more dear to him -- the legendary 1968 television special , announced a couple of months before shooting began on this movie, was shot three months after this film. He'd also recently returned to the studio with new vigor to produce some excellent non-soundtrack songs . Still, he does a great job in his role as a news and fashion photographer and manages to squeeze in a great knock-down, drag-out fight with a couple of men (played by bodyguards Red and Sonny West, two-thirds of the 'insiders' who contributed to a 1977 tell-all book that broke the dying king's heart...nice to see them belted around, actually). He even decks Dick Sargent, the 'second Darrin' from "Bewitched." It was probably a toss up whether Elvis enjoyed the fight scene or his wild driving more.

The movie's pacing leaves something to be desired, especially during the second half, and it could definitely have been much better -- kind of a recurring refrain for almost all of Elvis' post-1967 movies. It's not the most exciting story, but Elvis is great -- he looks supercool, he runs through a fair few emotions quite convincingly, and he's generally one groovy cat. Michele Carey is supremely sexy but her character is tremendously annoying. I don't know what kind of mental problems she's supposed to have -- she's portrayed as functionally, if not actually, a multiple-personality type -- but I suppose that some of her ephemeral nature and far-outness reflects the pop culture of the times. As Elvis said, "Nuts. Absolutely nuts." She even feeds Elvis a pill that keeps him asleep for days. Speaking of drug references, whoever designed the "Edge Of Reality" dream sequence must have been on some interesting substances at the time. Far out, man. Anyway, Ms Carey's bodacious Bernice (or whatever she wants to call herself) gets on my nerves, as it does on Elvis' Greg Nolan, and as I suspect it would on just about anybody. The problem is that it's to an extent that's detrimental to the film. Maybe they could have toned her back a bit -- she is good at the role, though, and also provides some comic relief (albeit sometimes exasperating). The chemistry between her and Elvis is spot-on, too.

It's fun to see familiar Los Angeles landmarks, even though I first came to that city almost 20 years after this film was shot. Elvis spent a lot of time in L A and there's just something fundamentally weird, for me, about seeing him driving around the city that a couple of decades or so later I'd be tooling around. Maybe coming to the US from another country helps emphasize that weirdness. By the way, Elvis' father is seen sitting at a table at the LA Music Center. Speaking of family, Albert, the Great Dane, is played by Elvis' dog, Brutus (Elvis had two Great Danes at the time -- the other was Snoopy). I must say that I find this amateur dog's acting very impressive.

Among the human supporting cast are Don Porter, as a Hugh Hefner type, and Rudy Vallee. Both are perfect in their roles and it's cool to see Elvis with Rudy Vallee, the singing idol of an earlier generation. Also of note is the girl who played the mermaid model, Susan Henning, who also showed up on the 1968 TV Special as an 'intimate' of Elvis' "Guitar Man" and who had a torrid real-life romance with him. I think that one or two of the other models in this film showed up on Elvis' TV special, too.

All of Elvis' last few movies, after "Speedway" (filmed during the summer of 1967) featured fewer songs than most of those that had come before. This film has only four songs: the happy "Wonderful World" (somewhat ironic for the time, just after the Tet Offensive and just before Martin Luther King's assassination), the dramatic (and overlooked) "Edge Of Reality," the funky "A Little Less Conversation," and the lounge-singerish "Almost In Love." The impetus for me revisiting this film was that a remixed version of "A Little Less Conversation" has just -- yesterday -- topped the US pop charts, 25 years after Elvis' death. As I write, Elvis has been #1 in the UK for a phenomenal three consecutive weeks (maybe four, by the time this is posted), has spent three weeks on top of the Irish charts, and spent at least a week or two (so far) at #1 in each of Japan, Hong Kong, Denmark, Norway, The Netherlands, Australia, Canada, and Mexico. He's currently Top-5, Top-10, Top-20, and Top-40 in a bunch of other countries around the world. With the success of this single, Elvis broke the tie that had him and the Beatles matched for British #1 hits -- now he has 18 to his credit to their 17. Pretty amazing, and particularly ironic that a fairly obscure '60s movie song was the one that did the trick.
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A little less conversation, a little more singing would have been nice
blanche-228 June 2005
Live a Little, Love a Little was a departure from the normal Elvis Presley travelogues, and this off-the-beaten-track trend continued for the rest of his film career (four films). It's sexy with a more adult theme than usual. Even more unusual, it only has a few songs, including "A Little Less Conversation." I say, if you're going to sing four, sing a few more. It's a movie, it's Elvis, it's not a drama.

Elvis plays a photographer who meets a strange young woman of uncertain name on the beach. His life then takes a series of bizarre turns. Michele Carey is the woman, and she's not only beautiful but very funny as well.

The film is mildly entertaining. Elvis' real life pooch Brutus has a supporting role. He was a superb actor!
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Singing Idols Of Two Generations
bkoganbing13 May 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Without the musical numbers of which no Elvis Presley film could be without, Live A Little, Love A Little plays more like one of those big screen Ross Hunter comedies that might have starred Rock Hudson. In fact the characters that Elvis and leading lady Michele Carey play bear no small resemblance to the ones played by Hudson and Paula Prentiss in one of my favorite of Hudson's comedies, Man's Favorite Sport.

A chance encounter at the beach with a very kookie girl played by Carey leaves Elvis's life in total chaos. He finds himself working two full time jobs as a photographer at the same time just to keep up with his new mode of upscale living. Of course in the end she tones it down a bit when she finds true love with the King.

Of course since this is a Presley vehicle, Live A Little, Love A Little has to have a score. It has four numbers the best of which is the song sung right at the beginning called Wonderful World. It's a philosophical type number, the kind Bing Crosby used to have a specialty of in his films. Sad to say that the King's time as film star was drawing to a close. Had this been done in the Fifties, these songs might have yielded a Presley hit or two.

As usual Colonel Tom Parker made sure that Elvis was given good support by some veteran familiar players. Next to Walt Disney, Elvis Presley and his manager were the great employers of veteran movie faces who were finding it harder and harder to get work. Such folks as Dick Sargent, Joan Shawlee, Sterling Holloway are in the cast.

Two more who play Elvis's rival employers who work in the same building are Don Porter and Rudy Vallee. Porter plays a Hugh Hefner type hedonist publisher of skin magazines and displays a certain avuncular charm.

And Live A Little, Love A Little gives fans a treat to see singing idols of two generation sharing the screen. It would have been great to see Rudy Vallee and the King do a number together, but I suspect that the lack was by mutual consent. Vallee plays another variation on his conservative ad agency president from How To Succeed in Busines Without Really Trying.

Though Elvis's vehicles were not up to what he was putting out earlier in his career, Live A Little, Love A Little is a nice bit of entertainment and the King's fans will love it.
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A little less conversation, a little more action baby...
Rusty-6126 October 2000
I've been an Elvis fan for 10 years now, and I've seen most of his 60's movies. For some reason I didn't rent this one till recently- I think it's because I had it confused with "The Trouble With Girls", which I have no desire to see. Anyway, we rented this because we saw it had "A Little Less Conversation" in it and liked it so much we ended up buying it.

Elvis plays Greg Nolan, a photographer who..ok, there's not much of a plot to describe here. The storyline consists of a girl he meets who keeps changing her name (Bernice/Betty/Suzie/Alice) and personality, spending most of the movie alternately screwing with Elvis' mind and coming on to him. Meanwhile, Elvis gets two jobs for girlie-type magazines in the same building- one of them is called "Classic Cat Magazine" (or maybe it's Classy Cat) being a photographer and pretends at both that he only works for that magazine, while he literally runs back and forth between the two jobs, changing clothes and trying not to have one boss find out about the other. Red West makes his usual cameo as a guy in a fight scene whose ass Elvis ends up kicking (always fun to watch).

This is a pretty fun Elvis movie, and since it was filmed in '68, right around the time Elvis did the comeback special, the King was in great shape, looking pretty sharp with his sideburns and tan. He also looks like he's having fun, and doesn't feel too stupid. "Spinout" is entertaining, but half the time Elvis looks pretty unhappy. One of my Elvis trivia-type books said this movie has the distinction of being the only one he ever has sex in (offscreen, of course) but I think the only way you could tell this is by him waking up in a girl's bed. His co-star, who looks like a cross between Sharon Tate and how Liz Taylor looked in the 60's, was kind of annoying (though not as bad as some of the actresses he's worked with, and at least she has a great wardrobe. It was mainly the fact that she had this kind of whispery voice like Taylor. The clothes and hair are all really cool. There are only 4 songs in the movie, but two of them are especially good. I loved "The Edge of Reality"-Elvis has this trippy dream because Bernice/Betty/Suzie/Alice has been messing with his mind so much. The song is great, and Elvis wears this tailored set of pajamas that look more like a blue sharkskin suit. I think whoever designed and choreographed the dream sequence might have paid a little visit to Dr. Nick's, if you know what I mean, but it's pretty cool. The highlight of the movie for me was definitely "A Little Less Conversation", which Elvis sings to a hot babe at a swinging cocktail party as he's getting her to leave with him. Watch for the male red-haired go-go dancer that they pass who dances so furiously and wildly that his gyrations actually make him upstage Elvis for a few seconds, which is no small feat. As he and the chick are leaving, they pass other go-go dancers, saunter out the door of the cool 60's pad, and hop in Elvis' Cadillac that the valets just happened to have pulled up in front at that second, while Elvis smoothly never misses a beat and manages to make the whole thing look like he does it every night. Now that's how you leave a party!

One of Elvis' better flicks from the 60's, and definitely my favorite movie of his to watch from the late 60's.
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Elvis' strangest film starts out great,but second half weak
django-11 August 2001
This must be Elvis' strangest film. It starts off in high gear, throws in a lot of mysterious twists, features a beautiful and funny co-star (Michele Carey--where are you? We need you back!), and has an intriguing soundtrack which doesn't sound remotely like anything else Elvis ever recorded--it even has a freak-out sequence, with the King singing a psychedelic song! I'm guessing that the creators of this film wanted to make a "swinging sixties" version of a screwball comedy, and they almost succeeded. For the first half, I thought I'd discovered a lost classic...or at least a lost camp classic! However, about mid-way through, the breakneck pace slows down, the weirdness goes away, and the rest of the film stumbles along like a mediocre sitcom. Still, no one could accuse this oddity of being a "formula" film, at least the first half. And this Elvis fan would much rather watch this or the equally quirky THE TROUBLE WITH GIRLS than watch GI BLUES or BLUE HAWAII. TCM showed this letterboxed, the way it should be seen, so you might want to wait a year or two until a DVD comes out...or at least until TCM has another Elvis festival and shows the letterboxed version at 3 a.m...rather than watch it panned and scanned. I think that anyone with the least interest in Elvis would enjoy watching this film, if only for the freakout sequence with the song "Edge of Reality."
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The first of the last batch for Elvis
Joe-2904 November 2002
During the making of the 1968 comeback Tv special, Presley was making a lot of changes and so was his manager. Here we get to see a new type of Elvis movie that although suited for kids has more of an adult theme than ever before. With a light hearted sexual theme and some better but fewer songs this Presley picture is better than most from his later career. After this, each of the last four films he ever did had a new slant to them that differed greatly from his early to mid 1960s movies. Nicely made with few little quiet jokes and generally good fun with a cameo from Elvis's father, Vernon. Lively entertainment thats better than Star Wars.
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The Edge of Reality
Callum Gee18 September 2007
I recently viewed this underrated gem for the first time in many years and almost forgot what an entertaining ride it is - especially in that 'speed buggy' at the start of the opening sequence.

I very much prefer the movies Elvis was churning out towards the end of his movie career as opposed to the likes of "Harum Scarum", "Clambake" and "Easy Come, Easy Go".

"Live A Little..." gave us a more mature Elvis in his first adult-type comedy film role, and even though the script engages a series of weird scenarios that border on the insane, it's great to see EP make his mark in this type of movie. Elvis looks great physically and his wardrobe too has got to be admired - check out the scene were he is wearing those cool! The film boasts only four songs but they appear to be of a higher standard than most of his mid-60's vehicles. The two stand-out numbers are the No. 1 smash hit "A Little Less Conversation" and the dramatic dream sequence of "Edge of Reality".

The tag line of the movie is "Watch Elvis click with these chicks!" and that he most certainly does especially in the form of leading lady Michelle Carey and Co-Star, Celeste Yarnall ('Miss Little Less Conversation'). Elvis' pet Great Dane, 'Brutus' also gets a co-starring role and almost steals the show - his character is called 'Albert'! A fine male cast helps the proceedings too in the form of Dick Sargent, Don Porter and veteran singing 'heartthrob', Rudy Vallee. So, "Live A Little, Love A Little" is entertainingly weird and wonderful and along with "Charro", "The Trouble With Girls" and "Change of Habit" was the slight departure from his typical sixties musical that Elvis needed at this point in his career.

Finally, if you're only viewing this as just a curiosity piece then be curious enough to check out that amazing fight scene in the Newspaper printing warehouse - this has got to be the best fight scene in an Elvis movie ever staged!
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"Daft but quite entertaining!"
jamesraeburn20037 January 2004
Press photographer Greg Nolan (Presley)finds himself contending with sexy model Bernice who has several boyfriends all of whom know her by different names, while holding down two jobs in the same office block.

Daft (especially the dream sequence) but certainly not the worst from Presley and its quite an entertaining comedy with funny moments. Loved Albert the gigantic hound! Elvis sings "Edge Of Reality", "Almost In Love" and most notably "A Little Less Conversation" which was remixed and reissued in 2002 giving the King a posthumous number one.
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One Of The Best, But Lesser Known Elvis Flicks
lisa-kevin35314 May 2009
I am a huge Elvis fan, but even I admit most of his movies were dreadful, and that's being kind. This one is a pleasant exception. Not only is it quite funny at times, but the songs in the film are well above average for a Presley movie, and Elvis himself looks and acts better than in the seven or so films that preceded it. He has a natural flair for comedy, as anyone will know who has seen his earlier film from 1962 "Follow That Dream," which was another under-appreciated Elvis film. He acts more grown up and the situations he's thrust into have a much more adult theme than in his previous efforts. By the time this film was released, these points were lost to most critics, who dismissed it as just another infantile Elvis musical. That's a shame, because it deserved a wider audience than it received.
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A photographer shuffles between two jobs.
Michael O'Keefe27 November 1999
A talented young photographer (Elvis Presley) lands two jobs in the same building and slinks his way back and forth. One job is for a high tone advertising agency and the other is for a slick girlie magazine. Michelle Carey plays the sex starved landlady. Better than average Elvis flick featuring four good tunes. "Edge of Reality" song and scene are very memorable. So is scene of Presley and Carey in bed. This comedy also stars Don Porter, Dick Sargent and Rudy Vallee. Elvis' movie career on an up swing. Norman Taurog directs.
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