Wednesday, September 09, 2009

"Viva Las Vegas"

I just finished watching "Viva Las Vegas" (1964) for the first time ever. I know--I'm slightly behind the times.

There's not much point in a full review. After all, you've either already seen it or can make a darn good guess about what you'll get if you sit down to watch it: dumb plot that is just an excuse for Elvis and Ann-Margaret to sing, dance, and flirt.

What I enjoyed most was how it captured Old Vegas: for example, the car race downtown, zooming east on Fremont Street, then turning south on Casino Center, as you can see in the shots above. (Notice that when the race finally ends, a finish line has mysteriously appeared on the street at the intersection of Fremont and Casino Center where there was none before!) It would be rather difficult to do that today....

There are also nice shots of the race going over Hoover Dam, though the desert, and to a forested area that I have to assume is probably in the vicinity of Mt. Charleston. And, of course, strewn throughout the film are many shots of downtown, the Strip, and casino interiors. (Elvis has to visit every show in town in one night to locate his dream girl, whose name and working location he failed to get upon meeting her.) There's also a small part with actor William Demarest, whom I knew growing up only as Uncle Charlie on "My Three Sons."

I don't know how you could not like this stuff. Then again, I'm kind of a sucker for cheese.


Sauza said...

I may have to rent it for myself just to see more of the "Old Downtown" scenes. I really liked the pre-Fremont Experience of walking on Freemont Street, the motor and pedestrian traffic, the hawkers and shills on the sidewalks, and of course the Girls of Glitter Gultch. I may have to pop in my copy of "Casino" too, so as to see the old Flamingo. I hate what they did to the front of that place!

Anonymous said...

"a finish line has mysteriously appeared"
The finish line is NOT Freemont, you can see that the Horseshoe is across the street( Freemont) in the second photo.
Great Blog
Uncle Buck on AVP

Rakewell said...

Fremont runs east-west between the Nugget and Binion's Horseshoe, so that finish line is at the same spot as the white line visible in the second photo (intersection of Fremont and Casino Center), but the word "FINISH" has appeared.

Cranky said...

I agree with Sauza, seeing clips from the movie reminds me of what a travesty, IMO, the introduction fo the Freemont Street Experience was.

Also struck by how Ann Margret would be seen as too fat for a showgirl in this day and age. Only walking skeletons need apply nowadays.

Anonymous said...

Look how high the water is behind the damn! No white ring around the edges, lol.