[box cover]

Clambake

There's something soothing about the Elvis Presley film formula. Presley tends to star as a loner who wants to go his own way, and he ends up at a nice resort-location meeting a girl and entering into some sort of sporting event to prove his virility. Often there's a father figure involved. Now, this may sound horrible in summary, and it was perfectly parodied by "Saturday Night Live" when Wayne Gretzky hosted the show, but an interesting parallel arises to that of the early films of Tom Cruise. This very same plot synopsis could be used for describing Top Gun, Cocktail, and Days of Thunder. Those movies — for better or worse — had slightly more verve and way less singing by the main character, though. Clambake (1967) is a slight variant on Twain's The Prince and the Pauper with Presley's Scott Heyward an oil tycoon's son who switches places with Tom Wilson (Will Hutchins), a Florida-resort water-ski instructor. Tom lives it up in the hopes of dating a higher class of women, while Heyward wants to meet a woman who loves him for him. While at the resort, Scott begins to fancy Dianne Carter (Shelley Fabares), who is there in hopes of attracting a rich man — she meets James J. Jaminson III (Bill Bixby), a young, rich, arrogant boat racer/playboy millionaire. At first Dianne is attracted to JJ, but she begins falling for Heyward. Scott also makes friends with Sam Burton (Gary Merrill), who has a boat that needs fixing up, and if repaired properly could be a formidable challenger to JJ's three-year run as the champ of the local boat race. For those who delight in the guilty pleasures of bad Elvis musical numbers, there are only two in Clambake that make the cut of grade-Z schmaltz: the titular song (which is winning if only because the song is entitled "Clambake"), and "Hey Hey Hey." To which lyrics are as follows:

All right girls, I'll show you what to do
This boat will sparkle like a diamond when we get through.
By the numbers, there ain't much time
We're gonna start an assembly line!

(Chorus:)
Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey!
Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey!

You get the sandpaper, you get the pails,
You get the hammer baby, you get the nails,
You get the paint, you get the brush.
Cause were gonna give it the special touch!

(Repeat Chorus)

We got a magic potion that will help us win,
I don't know how to spell it, but dip right in.
Blako-oxy-tonic phosphate, it's the latest scoop,
But that's all right girls, you can call it goop!

(Repeat Chorus)

Work the sandpaper, hammer that nail!
Tote that paintbrush and lift that pail!
Get a rhythm going, nice and easy,
Come on and use a little elbow greasy.

(Repeat Chorus)

Okay, girls, we're all through,
I'm gonna tell you what were gonna do:
We'll fall right down and have some fun,
And I'm gonna kiss you all one by one!

It's a by-the-numbers effort, but it's hard to argue with such winning lyrics. MGM presents Clambake in non-anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1) with a transfer that was likely recycled from a Laserdisc release. For a disc released in 2007, it's a shame to see this much wear and tear, although the disc seems repackaged for "The Elvis Presley MGM Legends Collection," and meant to be a release for bargain hunters. The soundtrack is 2.0 mono, and the only extra is a theatrical trailer. Slimline case in the "Legends Collection" set.
—DSH



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