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Love Me Tender and The Desperadoes Are in Town

At the RKO Keith

By Bruce M. Reeves

This doublebill at the RKO Keith might lead one to believe that Hollywood is still bitter about what the North did to the South in the Civil War. In mistitled Love Me Tender, a new star from Tennesse, Elvis Presley, who looks like a cross between Estes Kefauver and Rudolph Valentino, takes up the battle for the rebs and symbolizes his resentment in several awkward gesticulations with his thighs.

The picture concerns the plight of a band rebel cavalry men who steal $12,500 from the Union Army four days after the war has ended. Presley is cast as a crazy-mixed ("mad like a dog") up youth who kicks his wife, sneers at his mother, and shoots his brother. It is a difficult role for inexperienced Presley and everytime he tries to act, he muffs the part. And, as often happens in big-name productions, the stars are overshadowed by a minor characer who plays his part to perfection. In Love Me Tender the spotlight is captured by an unknown named Jethro, who plays the part of the village idiot.

Yet in this droll tale of Southern confusion, there are some great moments of Philosophy and tragedy.--Mumbles Elvis' Big Brother Vance as he stands before his father's grave: "That is always the way. We go off and fight for four years and they (the Yanks) kill him at home." Humor--co-stars Richard Egan and Debra Paget gritting their teeth as Elvis sings "Yam Ganna Fix Dis Old House," a rock-and roll song (presumably about the South's reconstruction period). And, of course, Tenderness--Elvis (writhing from the hips as he dies): "Is Everything going to be all right?"

His Brother Vance: "Sure, Kid."

A Member of the Audience: "See you later, alligator."

The big co-hit, The Desperadoes Are in Town," is taken from a Saturday Evening Post story entitled, "The Outlaws Are In Town." In it, of course, the South loses again.

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