Wednesday, October 12, 2016

He Belongs to Womankind

Mike likes girls but only in bulk. Or "Smorgasboard" to put it in the term of one of the film's songs, none of which have lingered much in the mainstream consciousness despite all being Elvis Presley songs, the star of 1966's Spinout. An unambitious, mildly amusing story in bright colours packages fairly enjoyable performances by Presley.

He's a lead singer in a rock band, he's a star race car driver, he's played by Elvis Presley: it's no wonder all women, rich and poor, young and old (well, twenty-five), are irresistibly drawn to him. Including his drummer, Les (Deborah Walley), who's miffed that everyone thinks of her as a "fella". She constantly reminds everyone she's a girl.

Being a "fella" hasn't stopped everyone from assuming she'll take all the cooking duties for the band in their cute little soundstage camp sites with gumdrop tents. No strident feminist figure is Les--neither is the successful author, Diana St. Clair (Diana McBain), the worldly twenty five year old who's started stalking Mike because she considers him the perfect man.

I'm not entirely clear on why he's perfect, despite the qualities I've already enumerated, but it's Elvis so we take it as read. Rounding out the top three women pursuing him is Cynthia Foxhugh (Shelley Fabares), the spoiled rich girl whose father's chagrined when he can't pay off Mike to break a previous engagement, for any amount of money, to play for his daughter's birthday. This is where Mike's principles come in, I guess. It had been a long time since the people writing this movie had been struggling, I think. Or maybe it's just the impersonal nature of the work.

Elvis seems half asleep throughout the film, nowhere near as good as he is in King Creole. The songs are mostly forgettable despite Presley's matchless performance though I kind of like "I'll Be Back".

Dig those bold colours. Elvis and his band wore variations of that same tuxedo coat, double breasted vest, and solid silk ascot for most of the film. It looked nice but a little variation might have been better.

Twitter Sonnet #921

A grid that's slowly turning green begins
To rise in batter baked in steel or lead,
To cage a hand that grasps and scratch amends
A crumbling rock that roasts in bones long dead.
The distance has enlarged the coffee cup
Beyond the bounds of mint and woven crate
Imported where the rallied reps can sup
Without the gaze in spirals hurling bait.
An Ewok rug adorns the loo only
At dusk, replaced by empty air before
The matins service stikes the old lonely
Dominican who waits under the floor.
A two to one was twelve to one who stopped.
A breeze repels from peaks they've never topped.

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