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Kid Galahad
IMDB Rating: 6.1/10 from 1,686 votes
Release: 29 August 1962 (USA) /

Kid Galahad

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Music, Musical, Sport
Director: Phil Karlson,
Stars: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Synopsis: When he completes his military service Walter Gulick returns to his birthplace, Cream Valley, New York. He was orphaned as an infant and grew up elsewhere but always wanted to return to where he was from. He hopes to be a mechanic but soon after his arrival finds himself working as a sparring partner at a boxing camp. Having lost all of his money in a crap game, Walter is happy to take any kind of work but a devastating right hook sends him down a different path. Willy Grogan thinks he has a winner in Walter who, after helping a lady out, is dubbed Kid Galahad. Willy is a likable man but gambles too much and may have been a witness to a mobster's conversation that would best be forgotten. As Walter gains more success, and falls in love with Willy's sister Rose, Willy Grogan finds himself coming under pressure from mobsters to make Walter takes a dive at his next big fight. Written by garykmcd

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Critic Reviews

I've never seen this movie until now. I've been an Elvis fan since I first found out about the dude a year before his 1977 death, I have hundreds of hours of concert and studio recordings and concert videos, I've even seen the robe that he wore in "Kid Galahad," and yet somehow I never managed to see this 1962 movie (shot in late '61). Was it worth the wait? Well, yes...of course. Is it a classic movie, apart from its inherent cult-classic value as an Elvis film? Well, no, but it's one of his better 1960s movie and I enjoyed it.

The movie came hard on the heels of another atypical film from Elvis, "Follow That Dream," that was in turn preceded by the 1961 box-office giant, "Blue Hawaii." "Blue Hawaii" continued the family-film travelogue kind of movie (set by 1960's "GI Blues") that would set the style for most of Elvis' '60s movie output and that would eventually lead to a downward spiral in Elvis' professional life and job fulfillment that lasted almost 'til decade's end. Elvis as race-car driver. Elvis as boat racer. Elvis as whatever. As Elvis said, after his 1969 return to the stage, it was like they made the same movie a bunch of times and just changed the backdrops. Between "GI Blues" and "Blue Hawaii" came two 'serious' films ("Wild In The Country" and "Flaming Star," both shot in 1960) that couldn't hope to match the commercial success of those glossy musicals but that showed Elvis' potential as a dramatic actor. Both "Kid Galahad" and "Follow That Dream" were also somewhat a departure from the "GI Blues"/"Blue Hawaii" formula, though less so than the two 1960 films that Elvis did for Fox, and each were pretty sparse on songs and much more generous on storyline and characterizations.

"Kid Galahad" was an interesting role for Elvis. The producers threw in a few interesting songs to cater to the fans who'd flock to the film and they're all pleasant and of a high standard -- my favorite's always been the song that opens the movie ("King Of The Whole Wide World") though the excessive overdubbing over the film version waters down much of its magnificence. As was true of Elvis' other better films, this one profits from having a very strong supporting cast, including the likes of Gig Young, Charles Bronson, Lola Albright, and many others. There's even Ed Asner, in his second film role -- Mr Asner played another law-enforcement representative, a policeman, in 1969's "Change Of Habit" (Elvis' last scripted movie). Joan Blackman, Elvis' co-star in "Blue Hawaii," has a less solid role than does Lola Albright but she does it just fine and is certainly a beautiful young woman. Lola Albright is great in her role and Gig Young is lazily perfect for his -- though he seems almost as if he's happily drunk throughout...which, apparently, he was. Chucky Bronson is good in this film even though he's supposedly embarrassed by it. You'd think that a man who inflicted all of those terrible '80s violence movies on the world would find it hard to be embarrassed by anything, but there apparently was friction on the set between him and the easy-going Elvis. Regardless, the on-screen interaction between them is fine. Elvis actually looks like he put on some weight about this time -- also evident in "Follow That Dream" -- but his shirtless scenes reveal that he's pretty solid and he'd lost whatever extra weight he was carrying by the time he started shooting his next film a few months later.

This film was shot on location in Idyllwild, California, which is kind of a kick for me because when I lived in Palm Springs I'd often ride my motorcycle up there and I've since been there with my wife and with my parents. It's a great little town, tucked away in the shadow of Mount San Jacinto, and -- even though I first visited it in 1987 -- I vaguely recognize some of the landmarks. San Jacinto itself certainly looks the same now as in 1961.

The boxing scenes looked pretty convincing to me and are actually quite riveting. People who are expecting to see "Rocky" might be disappointed but, like Mr Balboa, Elvis' Galahad shows convincingly that he can take a brutal series of blows and keep on keeping on. This film came about 18 months after Elvis earned his black belt (from a real hard-case...the grading lasted several hours and involved fighting up to five black-belt opponents) and Elvis had what it took to both take punishment and to learn the physical skills necessary for his role. His well-publicized scuffles back in 1956 showed that he had a lot of heart and an effective self-defense capability, and legendary boxer and coach Mushy Callahan (brought in to train Elvis) was filled with praise for his charge. Charles Bronson didn't agree, but I guess you can't please everybody.

As a whole, the movie's shot every nicely and it's well acted throughout, including by Elvis. I think that he was somewhat better in "Follow That Dream," but that's perhaps only because his character took full advantage of Elvis' considerable comic skills. In "Kid Galahad" another of Elvis' acting strengths -- anger, at which he's particularly convincing -- comes to the fore during a confrontation with Gig Young. For a moment there's a bit of a flashback -- was for me, anyway -- to the way in which he perfected that kind of scene in films like 1957's "Jailhouse Rock," 1958's "King Creole," and "Flaming Star." This a lighter movie than any of those but it has its moments.

I'm glad that I finally saw this film. It's less frenetic and more involved than Elvis' typical '60s movie fare and is worth a look. The "I'm a grease monkey that don't slide too easily" line is pretty classic, too.

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