Paramount // 1963 // 90 Minutes // Rated PG
Reviewed by Judge Barrie Maxwell (Retired) // February 21st, 2003
No fun in the screening room.
I like Elvis. I like a lot of his music. I like some of his movies (see my three reviews of Love Me Tender, Flaming Star, and Wild in the Country). But my goodness, he made a lot of crap (see my two reviews of Clambake and Frankie and Johnny)! Today's entry evens up the score for now. Fun in Acapulco is one of those empty musical travelogues that Elvis was prone to make in the 1960s. Knowing what he could do with a decent script, unsaddled with a bushel of mainly insipid songs, it's dispiriting to see him in these boring spectacles. But I guess money talks, and as these films continued to pull in the suckers, it became easy to succumb to the formula and take the cash.
This time out, our hero plays Mike Windgren, who works on a yacht anchored off Acapulco. The owner's daughter manages to get Mike fired and he is forced to seek work elsewhere. Falling in with a young street kid, Mike manages to find two fill-in jobs -- one as a lifeguard, and another as a singer at various clubs in Acapulco. Of course, Mike has woman trouble, getting involved with a famous lady bullfighter, Dolores Gomez, and hotel social director, Marguerita Dauphin. Then there's the matter of champion diver, Moreno, who gets annoyed with Mike and reveals a guilty secret from Mike's past, and, well, you get the idea.
I should fill in the blanks for you. All of these later Elvis films pad the casts with a few name actors in support. This time we get Ursula Andress playing Marguerita and former Best Actor Academy Award winner Paul Lukas (for 1943's Watch on the Rhine) playing a chef. All these later Elvis films also throw in a big bunch of songs (seven or eight anyway, I couldn't be bothered to count them, and Paramount didn't deem it worthwhile to identify them by scene selection). Normally only one or two are any good (this time, it's "Bossa Nova Baby"), the rest easily consignable to the scrap heap of time. Admittedly, the stagings look pretty professional, unlike in later efforts such as Clambake, and Elvis himself is in good voice while looking trim and well lacquered. The unobtrusive direction was by Richard Thorpe, then on the backside of a lengthy, workmanlike Hollywood career. He previously worked with Elvis on Jailhouse Rock.
Paramount provides its usual fine anamorphic transfer (1.85:1). The image is in very good shape -- crisp, colourful, and bright with minimal debris. Edge effects are not an issue. A restored mono track is provided, as is a newly created 5.1 Dolby Surround effort. The latter actually is rather effective with some good use of the surrounds. I guess if for some strange reason, you think most of the songs here are worth listening to, you'll be pleasantly surprised by the enhanced mix. English subtitles and a French mono track are also included. There are no supplements, not even a reference to the other two Elvis titles that Paramount has also released on DVD at the same time -- Girls, Girls, Girls and Paradise, Hawaiian Style. I guess Paramount was tired after putting all its efforts into the trivia question it poses on the back cover of the case: Question -- Yes, Dr.! Fun in Acapulco costar Ursula Andress became a star in what James Bond film? Answer -- Dr. No.
Verdict -- an excellent opportunity for you to save your money for more worthy fare.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (French)
Running Time: 90 Minutes
Release Year: 1963
MPAA Rating: Rated PG