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FUN IN ACAPULCO, 1963
Starring: Elvis Presley, Ursula Andress, Larry Domasin and Elsa Cárdenas
Mike works on a boat in Acapulco. When the bratty daughter of the boat owner gets him fired, Mike must find new work. Little boy Rauol helps him get a job as a lifeguard and singer at a local hotel. Clashes abound when Mike runs into the rival lifeguard, who is the champion diver of Mexico. He is angry at Mike for taking some of his hours, and stealing his woman.
Some people might look at this film as just an excuse to advertise Elvis’ singing talent and they would be right. But not only was Elvis an amazing singing his acting was pretty good as well. Never before was there some one as charismatic or talented as Elvis Presley and, yes, this film is largely an excuse to show off those talents. But what of it.
Elvis plays Mike, a man who ends up losing his job on a boat in Acapulco, he meets a young boy on the streets, Raoul who hears him singing in a club. Fortunately for Mike Raoul seems to have cousins, amigos and general contacts everywhere. Quickly Raoul sets himself up as Mike’s manager. Taking 50% of whatever Mike earns, but Mike has problems, not only with money.
Mike meets Dolores Gomez (Elsa Cardenas) a female bullfighter and something of a celebrity in Mexico. She, like every other woman in the film, falls instantly in love with Mike. (At one point a receptionist falls for him after he’s just given her a telegram to send on home.) However Mike meets Marguerita Dauphin (Ursula Andress), the daughter to the chef who is also an exiled Grand Duke from the other side of the iron curtain, Mike falls for the Marguerita but still continues to meet up with Dolores.
Mike’s other problem is lifeguard Moreno (Alejandro Rey) who takes an instant dislike to Mike since he wants Marguerita for himself and Mike is also taking some of his life guarding hours.
Mike’s final problem is that he is a former acrobat who is now afraid of heights, after a terrible accident where he failed to catch his brother during an act and so consequently his brother died.
I must admit all of this seems to give the film more plot then I think there actually is. All of the problems are sorted out as soon as Mike finally conquers his fear and takes a death defying dive off of a cliff. I don’t think I’m giving anything away here. It’s not like if you haven’t seen ‘Fun in Acapulco’ you’re thinking that its all going to end up badly, this is Elvis, you know he’s going to be ok in the end. Once he takes the dive the crowd cheers and his former enemy congratulates him and becomes his best friend, the girls seem to no longer mind that they are both allowed some make-out time with Mike and he is now an up and coming famous singer in Mexico.
You might say to yourself ‘what is the point of seeming such a film then?’ What the film loses in plot it has made up for in songs. There are 13 pretty damn good songs, ‘Marguerita’, ‘Fun in Acapulco’ and ‘No Room to Rhumba in a Sports Car’ are particularly good. No Room to Rhumba… I think must have been considered particularly sinful in its day as it is referring to Mike trying to “Rhumba” with Dolores in a sports car. And failing to as the car nearly rolls down the road after they try to move the hand break in order to get more comfortable.
Most of the actors are pretty good, even the boy playing Raoul is pretty good. Whenever I watch one of these old films with a child in the main cast I find myself wondering what has become of that kid. Does he tell his grandchildren how he was in a film once with Elvis? Or does he just keep quiet about it. Larry Domasin seems to have been something of a child star in the 1960’s and has even recently (December 2010) had an interview for an Elvis pod cast as an Elvis insider.
I’m not going to recommend this film to everyone, but if you are a fan of Elvis, musicals, Mexico, hammy films or women in 1960’s bathing suits then this is the film for you. And let’s face it most people must fall into at least one of those categories.
FUN IN ACAPULCO