Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Gene Nelson|
|Produced by||Sam Katzman|
|Story by||Gerald Drayson Adams|
|Music by||Gene Nelson|
|Cinematography||Ellis W. Carter|
|Edited by||Ben Lewis|
|Box office||$3,000,000 (USA & Canada)|
Kissin' Cousins (stylized onscreen as KISƧIN' COUSINS) is a 1964 American musical Panavision Metrocolor comedy film directed by Gene Nelson and starring Elvis Presley. Written by Gerald Drayson Adams and Gene Nelson, the film featured Presley playing two roles: an Air Force officer, with dark hair, and his look-alike hillbilly distant cousin, with blond hair.
The U.S. Federal Government has run into a dead end trying to negotiate the lease of mountaintop land owned by Pappy Tatum, in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, for use as an ICBM missile base. U.S. Army General Alvin Donford gives Captain Robert Salbo seven days to secure the lease, or face permanent assignment to Greenland. After a quick computer search of military records, Salbo requests that U.S. Air Force pilot Second Lt. Josh Morgan, born elsewhere in the Great Smoky Mountains, be assigned as his number two. When they arrive in Tennessee with a small platoon, dark-haired Josh is surprised to meet his look-alike third cousin Jodie Tatum, a blond hillbilly.
Josh also meets his two beautiful country cousins, Azalea and Selena, who compete to win his affections. Josh eventually chooses Azalea and pairs off Selena with his friend, Master Sgt. William Bailey. Jodie, on the other hand, falls for Private Midge Riley, a beautiful but fiery soldier. There are also a group of 13 mountain maidens called the Kittyhawks who create havoc when they set their sights on the marriage-eligible soldiers.
Josh persuades Pappy Tatum to lease the mountaintop to the government for a monthly payment of $1,000 ($7,900 today) as long as an access road is built from the far side and the military provide security to prevent government employees from accessing Tatum's side – which will prevent "revenoors" from interfering with Pappy's moonshining.
- Elvis Presley as Josh Morgan / Jodie Tatum
- Arthur O'Connell as Pappy Tatum
- Glenda Farrell as Ma Tatum
- Jack Albertson as Captain Robert Salbo
- Pamela Austin as Selena Tatum
- Cynthia Pepper as Midge (a WAC PFC)
- Yvonne Craig as Azalea Tatum
- Donald Woods as General Alvin Donford
- Tommy Farrell as Master Sgt. William George Bailey
- Beverly Powers as Trudy (a Kittyhawk)
- Hortense Petra as Dixie (a newspaper reporter)
- Robert Stone as General's Aide
Production, release and reception
The film was produced by Dick Fitzwell for Four-Leaf Productions, and was distributed in the United States by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The film was released in the United States on March 6, 1964 and reached #11 on the Variety National Box Office Chart, earning $3 million, and finished at #26 on the year end list of the top-grossing movies of 1964.
In 1988, Kissin' Cousins made its home video debut, released on VHS. When it was reissued on VHS in 1997, the song "Smokey Mountain Boy" was deleted. It was later restored to the film when it made its DVD debut in 2007.
Awards and nominations
- "Big Rental Pictures of 1964" in Variety, 6 January 1965, p. 39. Please note this figure is rentals accruing to distributors not total gross.
- Victor, Adam. The Elvis Encyclopedia. Overlook, 2008.
- "Music: Top 100 Songs - Billboard Hot 100 Chart". Billboard. 1964-03-21. Retrieved 2018-01-09.
- "Gold & Platinum - RIAA Search - Elvis Presley, Kissin' Cousins". Retrieved 2018-01-09.
- Victor 2008.