A remake of the 1937 movie of the same name, Kid Galahad is an above average entry in Presley’s filmography that doesn’t stray from the formula that made him a box office success. Let Elvis do his thing: sing a half a dozen song, engage in something sporty (race car driving, surfing), maybe have a fist fight or two with a rival, and of course, win over the pretty girl.
After being discharged from the army, Walter Gullick (Presley) returns to his hometown, Cream Valley, in upstate New York. (As for the Southern accent, Gullick explains that while he was born in New York, he was actually raised in Kentucky. Okay.) Unable to find a job as a mechanic, he agrees to spar with an up-and-coming boxer at Willy Grogan’s (Gig Young) training camp. Gullick’s skills impress trainer Lew Nyack (Charles Bronson), and Lew’s girlfriend Dolly (Lola Albright) gives Walter the nickname “Galahad” because of his polite manner, and gentlemanly ways. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for Lew. He doesn’t really have anything going for him. Saddled with heavy gambling debts, Lew is under pressure from an assistant district attorney (an uncredited Edward Asner, in only his second film role), to testify against gangster Otto Danzig (David Lewis). Things get further complicated when Willy’s sister Rose (Joan Blackman), falls for the charismatic Galahad.
Unlike a lot of Presley’s films from this period, Presley’s character is neither a rebel or an angry young man. Instead, he’s a likeable fellow. Instead, the conflict in the movie is driven by Lew, and the gangsters he owes a debt. Like Presley in real life at the time, he seems modest and moral. When Walter and Rose become a couple, he rejects the idea of sex before marriage. Of course, this is an Elvis movie, so he has to sing. There are seven musical numbers—none of them were hits, nor particularly distinguishable–For fans of his music (no matter how mediocre it’s always a treat to see him perform a song; he had a special charisma.
The movie itself, directed by Phil Karlstien (Walking Tall) is rather weak when compared to the original (but since that film stars Edward G. Robinson, Humphrey Bogart, and Bette Davis, we’ll cut Elvis some slack). Nonetheless, the actors give it their all. Gig Young, who had played romantic leads for years, shows some brief flashes of a darker, more melancholy part of his personality that would become clear later in his career. Most notably for his deeply disturbing, Oscar winning turn in They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? (1969). Lola Albright (Champion) brings an effective sense of weariness to the role, portraying a woman who, aware of her boyfriend’s shortcomings, wants something different. The biggest find here is Charles Bronson. Having had many notable supporting roles, but not yet a star, his charisma overtakes every scene he appears in. It’s no wonder that stardom in Europe, and then the U.S. would soon come calling.
Elvis’ scenes as a boxer aren’t particularly believable, but his affable personality, and the able supporting cast make for a pleasant watch. Fans should be very pleased with the opportunity to finally add this title to their Blu-ray collections.
Presented in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio, this 1080p transfer is a definite improvement over previous DVD incarnations. Sharpness is quite good throughout, though some longer shots appear quite soft. Colors are bold throughout. Unfortunately, the image does have occasional specks of dirt, and dust apparent throughout the presentation.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mono sound mix is typical for the early sixties. The clean, and concise dialogue has been well mixed with the score by Jeff Alexander, songs by several writers, and ambient sounds that include boxing matches, the noise of the gym, and the clatter of the musical numbers. There are no age-related artifacts to report.
English SDH subtitles are included.
The following extras are available:
- Isolated Music and Effects Track: presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mono.
- Theatrical Trailer (SD, 2:49)
- Six-Page Booklet: contains some color stills, original poster art on the back cover, and film historian Julie Kirgo’s fine essay about the film.
There are only 3,000 copies of this Blu-ray available. Those interested in purchasing it should go to either www.twilighttimemovies.com or www.screenarchives.com to see if product is still in stock. Information about the movie can also be found via Facebook at www.facebook.com/twilighttimemovies.
Movie title: Kid Galahad (1962)
Director(s): Phil Karlson
Actor(s): Elvis Presley , Gig Young , Lola Albright , Joan Blackman , Charles Bronson , David Lewis
Genre: Musical, Sport, Drama