[box cover]

Kid Galahad

Though Elvis Presley made 31 films as an actor, only three had reasonably good directors: Michael Curtiz directed 1958's King Creole, Don Siegel had the reins on 1960's Flaming Star, and Phil Karlson was the man behind 1962's Kid Galahad. Galahad was a remake of an old (ironically enough) Michael Curtiz film with Edward G. Robinson, Bette Davis, and Humphrey Bogart, with Robinson a boxing promoter whose new best fighter falls in love with his sister. Here the protagonist is the boxer, Walter Gulick (Presley), who comes home to Cream Valley, New York, after leaving the service. He hopes to get a job as a mechanic and is told to head up to Willy Grogan's place. Willy (Gig Young) trains boxers and lives with his trainer/corner man Lew Nyack (Charles Bronson), and his fiancée Dolly Fletcher (Lola Allbright), to whom their delayed marriage is a sticking point. Walter can't find work as anything except a punching bag, and so he goes into a ring for five bucks a round. At first he just takes punch after punch until he accidentally lands one that sends his opponent's manager running for the smelling salts. Willy's been up to his neck in money problems, and has been consorting with the mob to make ends meet, so he knows that Walter (nicknamed Kid Galahad for his gallantry) is his golden goose. Two things make their situation sticky, the first being the mob's desire to fix a fight, the second being Galahad's attraction to Willy's sister (Joan Blackman), whom Willy can't stand. The biggest problem with the translation of Kid Galahad into a Presley vehicle is that the writers never figure out how to make him the protagonist, and even though Elvis has the starring role, the real protagonist is Gig Young as Willy Grogan. Willy has the moral crisis, and by relegating him to a secondary role, we get a character in the foreground that never wavers or is ever defeated. He's something of a tabula rasa, though it's interesting to note that Presley was always a winner in his films, and it's a stark contrast to contemporary cinematic heroes like Jason Bourne and James Bond, who may have been created around the same era but are now cast in darker shades and have more emotional and moral weight placed on them. There's something appealing to both approaches, though. It's also fun to see Bronson playing against Presley. MGM presents Kid Galahad in anamorphic widescreen (1.78:1) and in 2.0 mono. Theatrical trailer; slimline case in "The Elvis Presley MGM Movie Legends Collection."
—DSH



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