Live a Little, Love a Little

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Live a Little, Love a Little
Live a Little Love a Little Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Norman Taurog
Produced by Douglas Laurence
Screenplay by Michael A. Hoey
Based on Kiss My Firm But Pliant Lips 
by Dan Greenburg
Starring
Music by Billy Strange
Cinematography Fred J. Koenekamp
Edited by John McSweeney, Jr.
Production
  company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date(s)
  • October 23, 1968 (1968-10-23) (USA)
Running time 90 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Live a Little, Love a Little is a 1968 American musical comedy film starring Elvis Presley.[1] It was directed by Norman Taurog, who had directed several previous Presley films. This was to be Taurog's final film. Shortly thereafter, he went blind.[1] The film introduced the song "A Little Less Conversation"; an alternative take of which would form the basis of a remix that returned Presley to international music sales charts in 2002.

Cast[edit]

Plot[edit]

Greg Nolan (Presley) is a newspaper photographer who lives a carefree life—that is, until he encounters an eccentric, lovelorn woman named Bernice (Carey) on the beach. Bernice assumes different names and personalities whenever the mood hits her. (She introduces herself to Greg as "Alice" but she's known to the delivery boy as "Susie" and to the milkman as "Betty.")

After having her Great Dane dog, Albert (which was reportedly Presley's real-life dog Brutus, although Priscilla Presley has stated that it was a trained dog used for the film), chase Greg into the water when he insults her after a kiss, Bernice invites him to stay at her beachfront home. She later manages to make him lose his job and apartment after drugging him, which leaves him in a deep sleep for days.

However, Bernice also manages to find Greg another home. He wants to repay her so he gets two full-time photographer jobs: one for a Playboy-like magazine owned by Mike Lansdown (Porter), the other for a very conservative advertising firm co-owned (with other partners) by Mr. Penlow (Vallee). The two jobs are in the same building, forcing Greg to run from one to the other (up and down the stairwell) without being detected. He also must deal with Bernice and her eccentric ways.

Background[edit]

Based on the 1965 novel Kiss My Firm But Pliant Lips by Dan Greenburg, and with a screenplay co-written by Greenburg, Live a Little, Love a Little was a departure from the standard Presley film of the period.[1] It had a more mature tone than other Presley musicals with strong language, drug references, and an implied sexual encounter.[1]

Unlike many previous films which involved "location scenes" shot against a backdrop, Presley was able to do more scenes on location than usual. Scenes were filmed in and around Hollywood, along the Malibu coast, at Marineland, and at the Los Angeles Music Center.[1]

The film co-starred Michele Carey, Don Porter, Rudy Vallee, and Dick Sargent,[1] and featured Presley's father, Vernon, in an uncredited cameo. Several of Presley's Memphis Mafia friends, such as Red West and Joe Esposito, also appeared.[1]

Released on October 23, 1968, the film failed to impress most critics.[1] Due to a very poor performance on US release, the film was not released at all in many regions, including the UK.[1]

Soundtrack[edit]

The second of Presley's five final movies during the 1960s made with just a handful of musical numbers, the recording session of the four songs written for the film took place at Western Recorders in Hollywood, California on March 7, 1968.[2] The producer in nominal charge of the session, Billy Strange, had worked with both Frank and Nancy Sinatra, and attuned to current trends in popular music brought in a group of musicians outside of Presley's usual stable and written arrangements that went afield from Presley's usual sound.[2] "Almost in Love" was given a late-night cocktail-jazz quality, "Edge of Reality" was a piece of pseudo-acid rock, and "A Little Less Conversation" written by Strange and his new discovery who would write several more songs for Presley, Mac Davis, bordered on funk.

"A Little Less Conversation" was released as a single with "Almost in Love" on the b-side on September 3, 1968, RCA catalog 47-9610.[3] It peaked at #69, while its b-side scraped into the Billboard Hot 100 at #95 independently.[4] Over three decades later, a remix of "A Little Less Conversation" became a global #1 hit record,[5] although the version sourced for the remix was actually a later re-recording Elvis did for the soundtrack of his 1968 NBC "Comeback Special", and not the movie version. "Edge of Reality" appeared on November 5, 1968, as the b-side to RCA single 47-9670 "If I Can Dream," the song Presley used to close out his 1968 Christmas Special. "Wonderful World," which played over the opening credits to the film, appeared on the compilation Elvis Sings Flaming Star.[6] All three tracks released on singles also appear on Command Performances: The Essential 60's Masters II.

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Wonderful World" (Doug Flett and Guy Fletcher)
  2. "Edge of Reality" (Bernie Baum, Bill Giant, Florence Kaye)
  3. "A Little Less Conversation" (Billy Strange and Mac Davis)
  4. "Almost in Love" (Luiz Bonfá and Randy Starr)

Personnel[edit]

Quotes[edit]

Celeste Yarnall, who played Ellen, recalled the making of the film and her impressions of Elvis Presley:

I adored Elvis. When I met him for the first time he immediately put me at ease. We had to film our kissing first and neither of us heard the director say, 'Cut!' For me, it was love at first kiss! We became very good friends. He was warm and kind and full of love. He had this tremendous desire to please people. We watched the funeral of Martin Luther King, Jr. together over lunch in his trailer. He cried. He really cared deeply. He was far more handsome in person with deep blue eyes and a Roman profile. He held jam sessions on the set and would play cars with George Barris or play football with the 'boys' who traveled with him everywhere. He was truly 'The King.'

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Victor, Adam (2008). The Elvis Encyclopedia. Gerald Duckworth & Co Ltd. pp. 305–6. ISBN 978-0-7156-3816-3. 
  2. ^ a b Jorgensen, Ernst. Elvis Presley A Life in Music: The Complete Recording Sessions. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1998; p. 239.
  3. ^ Jorgensen, Ernst. Elvis Presley A Life in Music: The Complete Recording Sessions. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1998; pp. 241-242.
  4. ^ Jorgensen, Ernst. Elvis Presley A Life in Music: The Complete Recording Sessions. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1998; p. 418.
  5. ^ Infoplease.com
  6. ^ Jorgensen, Ernst. Elvis Presley A Life in Music: The Complete Recording Sessions. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1998; p. 243.

External links[edit]