DVD review:

"Elvis as Kid Galahad packs a punch!"

Reviewed by Nigel Patterson (October 21, 2003)

The latest Elvis film to be released on DVD is the pugilistic offering, and highly enjoyable, Kid Galahad.

The Film: After the relative failures of the dramatic vehicles, Flaming Star and Wild In The Country, and Elvis' expressed desire for more dramatic challenges, his management took the 'middle road' with Kid Galahad.

With six "boppy" musical selections, a strong plot and reasonable dramatic angst, they strived for the best of both the 'musical' and 'dramatic' worlds. And they succeeded very well, with the film moving along at a nice pace and enough music to keep fans happy.

Unfortunately, this would be the last time for several years that Elvis was presented with a reasonable script and dramatic challenge. The fight scenes in Kid Galahad have never impressed me but given the time they were filmed they probably looked effective on the big screen. On the small screen they suffer somewhat, but there again so do the 'over the top' fight scenes in Sylvester Stallone's "Rocky" movies! Under the steady direction of Phil Karlson, Kid Galahad is a thoroughly enjoyable one and a half hours of entertainment. There are no real flat spots and the dramatic tension is well executed.

The Cast: Kid Galahad features one of the strongest casts for any of Elvis' films made in the 1960s. It is a cut above others with Oscar winner, Gig Young, "tough guy" screen legend, Charles Bronson (sadly it is well documented that Bronson and Elvis simply didn't "click" during filming), Lola Albright and Elvis' lovely co-star from Blue Hawaii, Joan Blackman. Young and Bronson are both very effective as the essentially good hearted but somewhat shady boxing camp owner and boxing trainer respectively. Not surprisingly, in the company of such a distinguished cast, Elvis acquits his role most admirably as the young man with granite jaw and fists of steel, the oddly named Walter Gulick.

Trivia: Kid Galahad had been filmed twice previously, in 1937 starring Edward G. Robinson, Bette Davis and Humphrey Bogart, and in 1941 with a circus theme and the title, The Wagons Roll At Night.

The 1941 film again starred the legendary Humphrey Bogart.

The Picture: It's hard to fault a very strong picture transfer to DVD. The colors are vibrant with minimal imperfections.

The Soundtrack: Six very pleasant ("happy") songs punctuate the film, including Home Is Where The Heart Is, This Is Living, King Of The Whole Wide World and I Got Lucky.

The Audio: Similarly, the audio is spot on with no discernable rumble or distortion.

Technical Specifications: PAL Region 2 (England/Europe); 1.85:1 with widescreen 16:9; Dolby digital sound Features: Soundtrack in English, German, French, Italian and Spanish. Subtitles in French, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Greek, Hebrew and for the hard of hearing: English and German. There is also the original theatrical trailer, interactive screen menus and chapter selection.

Verdict: A very solid audio track and strong visual transfer make Kid Galahad a treat to watch on DVD.

EIN 2003

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