Elvis’ seventh movie 1961’s Wild in the Country was an easy choice for my ‘W’ Elvis topic for the A to Z Blogging Challenge as it is my second favorite Elvis movie. This is my second favorite Elvis movie, and it’s only second because my favorite movie has a sentimental / nostalgia factor. I can’t stress this enough – if you haven’t seen or don’t remember Wild in the Country, go see it now! You will be pleasantly surprised (contrary to what the trailer shows). This movie never gets talked about or shown. I am flabbergasted why Wild in the Country is never considered in ‘The Best Elvis Movie’ discussion! Wild in the Country is one of the most dramatic roles Elvis ever played with an even more dramatic story line. It is the quintessential late 1950s early 1960s soap opera movie – up there with my favorites Imitation of Life, Mildred Pierce, Splendor in the Grass, A Place in the Sun and East of Eden. James Dean would have been proud – this was totally a James Dean type role. Elvis does not play a singer, but does sing a few songs that were added in to please the fans per the Colonel’s suggestion.
Wild in the Country was based on the book The Lost Country. Elvis plays Glenn Tyler who almost kills his brother (played by Red West) in a fight. His punishment is to live with his uncle and cousin (played by Tuesday Weld) and see a psychiatrist (played by Hope Lange who starred in Peyton Place). Even though Elvis’ character Glenn has a girlfriend (played by Millie Perkins who played Elvis’ mother in the 1990s tv series), he manages to have a fling with his cousin (Tuesday Weld) who is in love with him while at the same time Glenn is falling in love with his psychiatrist (Hope Lange) who used to be in a relationship with the father of Glenn’s nemesis (played by Gary Lockwood who also starred in It Happened at the World’s Fair with Elvis) and who is on the parole board responsible for Glenn’s punishment. Told you it was quite the dramatic soap opera! Glenn’s psychiatrist brings out the writer in him and tries to get him into college, the town finds out about the forbidden affair between Glenn and his older psychiatrist and Glenn finds himself on trial for murdering his nemesis – the son of the man who used to date the woman he loves. I won’t tell you how it ends, but there are more twists and turns. Wild in the Country is really a great movie! Go watch it now!
Wild in the Country was sort of a watershed movie for Elvis’ movie career. It was the second of back to back dramatic movies (with Flaming Star as the first) that did not make money. The next movie was Blue Hawaii, which opened at number two at the box office and finished as the 10th top-grossing movie of 1961. From then on, the Elvis cheesey movie formula was in place.
What is your favorite movie, song, book, topic about Elvis that begins with ‘W’? Please comment below. If you missed any of my Elvis ‘A’ to ‘V’ topics, please click here. If you would like to read more about all of Elvis’ movies, please click here. Remember to check back tomorrow to see what ‘X’ topic I’ve chosen for Elvis.