Love Me Tender Cover “Love me bender, love me creep, all my tarts are filled. Oh my snarling, I love Jews, and I’ve just taken a pill”. Anyway, I am sure that it goes something like that. If not, then I am sure that these chap’s and chap-ettes in this Wartime drama, will know better - people like, Director: Robert D. Webb; and Actors; Elvis Presley, Richard Egan, and Debra Paget – especially for 89 minutes in 1956.

Love Me Tender

It is the latter half of the 19th Century, and the rowdy rebel, Vance Reno (Richard Egan), is one unlucky git. For a start, after four years of fighting and stealing amidst the American Civil War, he finds out that his side has lost, thus prompting him and his kin to go back home for some tender love and care. Next, once Vance is at home, he discovers that his younger brother, Clint (Elvis Presley), has married his sweetheart, Cathy (Debra Paget), because they though he was dead. And finally, whilst Vance is heart-broken and planning to leave home, the Federal Authorities show up, and take him away for questioning, concerning a past misdemeanor he had committed.

Poor sap!

Therefore, you would have though, that when a bunch of Vance’s fellow rebels show up at his home, and take Clint with them to save him from the authorities, that this would be a good thing for him, right? No – I am afraid not – because just prior to his rescue, he was offered a deal to abate his crimes – which is why he then sends Clint on to arrange for a future resolution.

However, before this can come to pass, by chance of fate, Cathy and Lance paths cross whilst arranging for the culmination of said resolution. Worst still, when this news reaches Clint – that, plus that Lance is still in lover with Cathy – well – you can safely say that Clint makes a bit of a song and dance about all of this.

So that is why what next transpires, is a rather bold affair indeed – as gambits go to pot – taunts turns to shots – and at the end of the day, a ghost sings with no one to hear him plotz. 

OK, I have to confess, I thought that ‘Love Me Tender’ was going to be crap. It is in black and white – it was made in the fifties – it stars a lot of people I do not know (plus Elvis Presley) – and it is about a romance just after the American Civil War.

Boy, I can feel myself wanting to yawn already.

However, it is not a bad little film actually. It has that nice and dulcet tone to it, which kind of plods along in a rather simple fashion – as if this movie had legs, and was going on a stroll in the park or something. Moreover, the acting, even though mannered in places, is pretty nifty too – because it fits the style of the film perfectly, simple, bold, and melancholy. And in addition to all of this, lets not forget why I
watched this film in the first place – Elvis is in it.

Elvis in Love Me Tender

Well, you have to face facts; ‘Love Me Tender’ would not even be a recognised film today, if it were not for Elvis Presley. He is a legend, right? He is the man who made Rock and Roll a household name, and – through default – curbed the paths for all the musicians whom followed in his footsteps, to amalgamate a music career and a acting career together. Granted, Eddie Cochran and some of the forties / fifties crooners did precede Elvis. Nevertheless, he was the man that every one wanted to imitate – and this film is a prime example why that is so.  

Also, lets not forget some of my inane trivia too, such as: (1) As a kid, Elvis worked as a usher in a cinema, and wanted to one day be an actor. (2) Elvis’s idols were Marlon Brando, Tony Curtis, and James Dean – and it shows in this film that he wanted to imitate them. (3) It is cited in Elvis folk law, that he asked his manager, Colonel Tom Parker, that he wanted to attend ‘The Actors Studio’ in New York. (4) Now it is suggested that Elvis did not want to sing in any of his movies, and wanted his acting to stand on its own merit – oops. (5) There were plans in motion, during numerous occasions in his acting career, for Elvis to work with, Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis, Tony Curtis, and even Bruce Lee – alas, nothing ever truly manifested itself. (6) It was stated in the press, just prior to making ‘Love Me Tender’, that Elvis was going to make ‘The Rainmaker’ with Burt Lancaster and Katharine Hepburn – unfortunately, this did not transpire. (7) Elvis sung ‘Love Me Tender’ for the first time on the Ed Sullivan Show. (8) At the time, many of the critics gave this movie a moderate reception – most notably the Los Angeles Times, who wrote, "Elvis can act. S'help me the boy's real good, even when he isn't singing". And (9) Later in his life, Elvis regretted making this film, because he was disappointed that the additions of the songs, had set up the future of his Hollywood career.

The Cast of Love Me Tender

Poor Elvis, huh? Because it is a shame, that he did not like this film as much as I did. Fair enough, I can understand what he meant about his ‘songs’ hindering his acting path – as they did feel ‘inserted’ into this film. Moreover, it is a shame that this film was most probably one of the best ones he made – though, I will most probably have to look into that fact, soon, huh?

So-so film – simple tale – and dulcet in statue.