It’s no secret that the Hollywood Comet loves musicals.
In 2010, I revealed I had seen 400 movie musicals over the course of eight years. Now that number is over 600. To celebrate and share this musical love, here is my weekly feature about musicals.
This week’s musical:
Kid Galahad – Musical #725
Elvis Presley, Joan Blackman, Gig Young, Lola Albright, Charles Bronson, David Lewis, Robert Emhardt, Ned Glass, Edward Asner (uncredited)
Recently discharged from the U.S. Army, Walter Gulick (Presley) returns to his birthplace with the hopes of becoming a mechanic. However, no one is hiring. Out of a job and in need of money, it’s discovered that Walter can pack quite a punch and starts working with boxing promoter Willy Grogan (Young). Though Walter does well as a boxer, he faces problems when Willy’s sister Rose (Blackman) arrives at the training camp and Rose and Walter fall in love.
• Remake of the 1937 film “Kid Galahad,” which starred Wayne Morris, Bette Davis, Edward G. Robinson, Humphrey Bogart and Jane Bryan. When aired on television, the title was changed to “The Battling Bellhop” so it wouldn’t be confused with the original.
• Elvis Presley trained for his boxing scenes with welterweight champion, Mushy Callahan. Callahan said his hands were the ones shown in the scenes punching at Presley in the fighting close ups, and he taught Presley how to move his head back out of the way.
• Feature film debut of Ed Asner
• Elvis Presley and Joan Blackman’s second film together.
• “I Got Lucky” performed by Elvis Presley
• “Home Is Where the Heart Is” performed by Elvis Presley
• “King of the Whole Wide World” performed by Elvis Presley
When it comes to remakes, it’s difficult to not compare the original to a remake.
In 1937, Warner Bros. released “Kid Galahad,” where Wayne Morris plays a sweet, naïve bellhop who happens to have quite a punch. He works with a boxing promoter, played by Edward G. Robinson, who has a sister, played by Jane Bryan. When the affable boxer falls for the sister, he runs into issues.
The original 1937 film is one of my favorite movies. Morris is perfection in the role of the boxer, and it’s all beautifully directed by Michael Curtiz.
While the 1962 update features a similar plot (and thankfully is not line-for-line), it misses the mark. It’s not as snappy and fast-paced as the original, and while it runs at a briefer 93-minutes, it somehow feels longer.
While this movie has six songs, it feels less of a musical remake somehow. Most of the songs are forgettable and seem thrown in as background for the boxing story.
Elvis doesn’t have the sweet naivety or Wayne Morris, and it also feels almost darker when Charles Bronson has his hands broken. Geez.
Elvis and Joan Blackman are reteamed after BLUE HAWAII (my favorite Elvis film), but it doesn’t feel the same. Also someone did Joan Blackman so wrong in this movie, chopping off her long hair to a shorter haircut. It looks like it was cut with a weed whacker.
I don’t know. This 1962 version of “Kid Galahad” isn’t necessarily bad. It just left me cold, though I will say the boxing scenes are impressive.
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