Nadel, Ladislav Smocek & Vladimir Sis (Geez!)
USA - 1967
In a world where
nothing is more important than the almighty dollar, Scott Heyward has
everything: Money, fast cars, good looks, flashy duds and even flashier
women. A guy couldn’t ask
for much more.
Well, most guys
couldn’t. But Scott
Heyward isn’t most guys.
Scott is looking for
love. True love.
He doesn’t want women to love him for the money, the yachts, or
his mansion in Memphis. Scott
wants a woman to love Scott for Scott.
On the other side of
the spectrum is Tom Wilson. Tom
is a ski instructor at a posh beach resort.
He’s flat broke, a bit goofy (OK, a lot goofy), and has no
luck with the ladies. Tom
would kill for a chance to have everything handed to him on a silver
Do you see where this
is going yet?
Faster than you can
say ”Trading Places“, Scott and Tom assume each other’s
identities. Scott is
determined to find true love, and Tom is determined to find a good lay.
Or any lay, for that matter.
after assuming his new position at the hotel, Scott meets Dianne Carter.
Dianne is the girl of Scott’s dreams: Beautiful, intelligent, and
middle class. But in a sad
twist of irony, Dianne looking to land a rich husband.
She’s tired of struggling to get by, and wants a taste of the
decides to win Dianne’s heart by winning the big boat race (a ploy most
guys can identify with). Unfortunately,
Scott has no boat and no money. And
worse yet, the competition proves to be rather stiff.
The rich, handsome and arrogant James Jameson (Bill Bixby!) has his
sights set on not only winning the big race, but speeding away with Dianne
Elvis’ work in film
has always been the subject of ridicule.
With that in mind, I expected the very worst from Clambake,
my first Presley movie. Being
a fan of his music, I’m happy to report that Elvis doesn’t make a
complete ass of himself in the film.
Elvis’ acting, for the most part, is competent; and what he lacks
as a thespian is concealed by that undeniable Presley charisma (or
swagger, if you will). The
guy has that rare intangible quality that demands attention whenever
he’s on-screen. It’s sad that he isn’t given very much to work with.
Try as he may, Elvis
brings nothing new to the character of “unbelievably good guy”.
Describing Scott Heyward as “cliché” would be an
understatement: He loves children, hates fame and wealth, helps friends in
need and is always available to offer some good advice.
Scott can also carry a tune and water-ski!
The man’s a saint! The
only thing preventing Elvis from gaining Gandhi-like status is a mean
right-hook. Elvis may be a
nice guy, but he’s no sissy!
characters aren’t the only thing that suffers from a distinct lack of
originality. The “Prince
and the Pauper” storyline has been recycled countless times. Clambake offers nothing new. Granted, few films can boast a cast featuring the King of
Rock and Roll and the Incredible Hulk, but there’s got to be a little more.
There are a few attempts at wackiness, but the majority of them
fall flat. Action and
The songs are OK, but considering the source, I was left
The title song. Horrendous.
The lyrics consist of: “Clambake!
We’re gonna have a clam-bake!”
Repeat 231 times.
Money?” – This is a duet between Scott and Tom.
As you might have guessed, Elvis sings all the parts concerning the
pointlessness of material wealth while Tom provides the counterpoint. It’s not bad, and it moves the plot along.
Love.” – But I won’t do that. Actually,
this is yet another song where Elvis condemns material wealth, claiming
all you need is love. Not a
– This, without a doubt, is the low point of the film.
While passing through a playground, Scott and Tom happen across a
little girl who has a fear of slides.
After Elvis sings her a little ditty about confidence, however, the
little girl becomes Queen of the Playground.
“Confidence” features children singing and dancing, which
somehow evolves into a battle of cowboys, Indians and the ice cream man.
The whole number is just bad, bad, bad, bad, bad.
The highlight has Elvis spelling “confidence” with help from
get the point.
“You Don’t Know
Me.” – Another ballad. Frustrated
that the girl of his dreams is blinded by another man’s money, Elvis
croons about how she doesn’t truly know him.
Hey! (We’re Gonna
Build Us a Boat.)” – Think “Greased Lightning” with half the
catchiness and a boat instead of a hot rod.
“The Girl I Never
Loved.” Yet another ballad.
Will Elvis ever find true love?
All in all, Clambake
wasn’t too hard to handle. I
may have had my guard up going in, but I honestly didn’t find the
experience completely awful. I
will, however, remain cautious. Elvis’
films haven’t gained such a bad reputation for no reason.
I’m sure the worst is yet to come.
2003, J. Bannerman