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 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 is about an Air Force officer who returns to the Great Smoky Mountains assigned to convince his kinfolk to allow the Army to build a missile site on their land. His mission is complicated when he meets his look-alike cousin and two beautiful country cousins who compete to win his affections. Presley played two roles in the film: the Air Force officer, with dark hair, and his look-alike cousin, with blond hair.
Kissin' Cousins 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. The film reached #11 on the Variety National Box Office Chart, earned $3 million at the box office, and finished at #26 on the year end list of the top-grossing movies of 1964. The title single from the soundtrack reached #12 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was certified Gold by the RIAA. The screenplay was nominated for a Writers Guild of America Award in the category of Best Written American Musical.
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.
Elvis plays the dual role of look-alike cousins Josh Morgan, a dark-haired U.S. Air Force second lieutenant, and Jodie Tatum, a blond hillbilly. The film is set in the hills of Tennessee, in the Great Smoky Mountains, but is mostly shot on Hollywood sets and in the San Bernardino Mountains of southern California. Josh, along with Captain Robert Jason Salbo (Jack Albertson), has to persuade the Tatums, his distant relatives on his mother's side, to sell their land to the U.S. government so that it can be used as an ICBM missile base.
When he encounters the Tatums, Josh meets his double as well as two beautiful country cousins, Azalea and Selena (Yvonne Craig and Pamela Austin, respectively), who compete to win Josh's affections. Josh eventually chooses Azalea and pairs off Selena with his friend Master Sergeant William Bailey (Tommy Farrell). Jodie, on the other hand, falls for PFC Midge Riley (Cynthia Pepper), a beautiful but fiery WAC. There are also a group of thirteen man-crazy mountain women called the Kittyhawks who create havoc. Josh persuades Pappy Tatum (Arthur O'Connell) to sell one side of his mountain to the government as long as government employees don't come to Tatum's side, which means revenuers can not interfere with Pappy's moonshining. The movie closes with a celebration song-and-dance featuring Josh, Jodie, Azalea and Selena.
- 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
- Yvonne Craig as Azalea Tatum
- Donald Woods as General Alvin Donford
- Tommy Farrell as Sgt. William George Bailey
Awards and nominations
Screenwriters Gene Nelson and Gerald Drayson Adams were nominated by the Writers Guild of America in the category of best written musical for their screenplay.
- "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.
- Victor 2008.