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Wild in the Country

Dramatically, there simply isn't substance, novelty or spring to this wobbly and artificial tale of a maltreated country boy (Elvis Presley) who, supposedly, has the talent to become a great writer, but lacks the means, the emotional stability and the encouragement until he comes in contact with a beautiful psychiatric consultant (Hope Lange) who develops traumas of her own in the process.

Dramatically, there simply isn’t substance, novelty or spring to this wobbly and artificial tale of a maltreated country boy (Elvis Presley) who, supposedly, has the talent to become a great writer, but lacks the means, the emotional stability and the encouragement until he comes in contact with a beautiful psychiatric consultant (Hope Lange) who develops traumas of her own in the process.

The complications occur when the two spend an innocent night in a motel, innocent on the strength of their May (he)-December (she) respect for each other. The gap in romantic seasons is quickly bridged when their one-night relationship is misinterpreted by some of the incredibly foul and mischievous people who live in the town. Clifford Odets penned the screenplay, from the novel The Lost Country by J.R. Salamanca. The writing has its occasional rewards.

Presley, subdued, uses what dramatic resources he has to best advantage in this film. Lange, for the most part, plays intelligently and sensitively. Tuesday Weld contributes a flashy and arresting portrait of a sexy siren enamored of Mr P.

Story, set in the Shenandoah Valley, was filmed in the Napa Valley. Sans wiggle, Presley croons four or five songs. Guitars rather mysteriously keep turning up on the premises, but E.P. leaves the plunking to Weld.

Wild in the Country

  • Production: 20th Century-Fox. Director Philip Dunne; Producer Jerry Wald; Screenplay Clifford Odets; Camera William C. Mellor; Editor Dorothy Spencer; Music Kenyon Hopkins; Art Director Jack Martin Smith, Preston Ames
  • Crew: (Color) Widescreen. Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1961. Running time: 112 MIN.
  • With: Elvis Presley Hope Lange Tuesday Weld Millie Perkins John Ireland Gary Lockwood