Beach Party Blogathon: Girl Happy (1965) – My First Elvis Presley Movie

My Cat Stanley

The picture to the left is from last weekend when my cat, Stanley and I were watching my very first Elvis Presley movie, Girl Happy (1965) for the Beach Party Blogathon being hosted by Ruth at Silver Screenings and Kristina at Speakeasy.  Or as I joked on Twitter, I was watching, he looked more like he was relaxing on the beach. :-)

I had every intention of writing a more detailed review of the movie for the blogathon later in the week, but unfortunately due to some unforeseen circumstances I wasn’t able to focus on that very well. (I’m bad at reviews so they take me forever!)

Beach Party Blogathon

But since the blogathon ends today, I still wanted to put something together, mostly to shine the spotlight where it belongs, on all the other great posts that have been written so far this week and the two awesome hosts who worked so hard to put on this event. So please do me a favor and head on over to Kristina’s site to check out the list of participants and join in on the party.

Following are just a few of my thoughts about the movie along with some facts about it’s production. I apologize in advance for their random nature. :-)

  • The plot courtesy of IMDb: “A Chicago mobster hires a rock and roll singer and his band to keep an eye on his daughter during Spring Break in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.”
  • The rock and roll singer was of course played by Elvis Presley and the bandmates by Gary Crosby (Bing’s son), Joby Baker and Jimmy Hawkins.GirlHappyBand
  • The daughter was played by Shelley Fabares, who was the only actress to appear with Elvis in three different movies. Jimmy Hawkins and Shelley Fabares had previously worked together when they played a teenage couple on “The Donna Reed Show” (1958-1965).
  • Having only watched a few “beach party” movies and no other Elvis Presley movies, it’s difficult for me to say how Girl Happy compares with the others. From what I’ve read, it sounds like weak or non-existent plots are the norm for beach party movies, and in that respect I would guess that Girl Happy has more of a plot than most, though still quite simple. I’d also guess it’s about middle of the pack in terms of quality.
  • I just LOVE being by water so beautiful beach and water scenes in movies are always a welcome sight for me. Girl Happy opened with a shot of a beautiful sandy beach and contained a few other beach and water sport scenes which were perfect for getting me in the summer mood.GirlHappyHotel3
  • I also love staying in hotels, which I talked more about in a previous post, so the scenes in the movie set at a Fort Lauderdale motel called the Seadrift, complete with an inviting looking swimming pool, were a treat for me. Even though it’s clearly just a set, I was able to suspend disbelief enough to enjoy the feeling that I was also a happy guest at the hotel.
  • I want to give a special shoutout to the movie’s set designers Henry Grace and Hugh Hunt, art directors George Davis and Addison Hehr, and Director of Photography, Philip Lathrop. The beautiful sets and the vibrant color scheme all contributed to my overall enjoyment of the movie.
  • I read in one review that Elvis was already starting to show signs of his future weight issues. Huh?! I thought he looked like he was in tremendously great shape in this movie! Which as others pointed out, made it somewhat strange that he wore pants and long sleeve shirts throughout the movie despite having appeared shirtless or in short sleeve shirts and shorts in other movies.
  • The movie was produced by Joe Pasternak, who also produced another movie set in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Where the Boys Are (1960).
  • Girl Happy was primarily shot at the MGM studios in Hollywood with the beach scenes being filmed in Southern California. Only second unit filming was done in Fort Lauderdale. A few of the stock shots used in the movie were actually taken from Where the Boys AreGirl Happy (1965) Soundtrack
  • My favorite song from the movie was “Cross My Heart and Hope to Die”. To me it best captured the natural charm and charisma that has made me a fan of both Elvis and his music. Actress Mary Ann Mobley appears in the scene in which Elvis sings this song.
  • I read some not so flattering opinions about the song “Do the Clam,” but I’m not gonna lie, I actually like it and thought the scene it appeared in was quite fun. You can watch it here.
  • On a side note, listening to the soundtrack got me thinking about what I would consider my favorite Elvis Presley song overall. I decided on “Suspicious Minds” although I like several others almost as much.

Now that I have finally seen one Elvis Presley movie, I’m interested in watching a few more to see how Girl Happy compares.

What is your favorite Elvis Presley movie? What is your favorite Elvis Presley song, either from Girl Happy or overall?

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6 comments

  1. Your first Elvis movie?! Congratulations. I’ve probably seen them all at one time or another and “Girl Happy” falls into the category of “which one is that again?”. Easy to have on in the background and enjoy the singing and all the pretty people. Sounds like you enjoyed it for what it is, and that’s the best way.

    Recommendations/above average: Love Me Tender, Loving You, Jailhouse Rock, King Creole, Flaming Star, Blue Hawaii, Kid Galahad

    Recommendations/just fun: It Happened at the World’s Fair, Fun in Acapulco, Roustabout

    Recommendations/don’t tell anyone I like them: Frankie and Johnny, Spinout, Tickle Me

    • Ginny says:

      Thanks so much for your recommendations Patricia! Yep, my first Elvis movie, which had more to do with my former aversion to color movies from the 60s than anything because I am a big fan of his music. Now that I do enjoy them more, I’m looking forward to the fun of watching more Elvis and beach party movies this summer! :-)

  2. Kristina says:

    I have to second Patricia’s movie suggestions, she got them in great order. I am a massive Elvis fan and kind of envy you getting to see one of these for the first time. Glad you enjoyed it, it is nice light fun and when you like vacay and sun you can’t help but be entertained with this. Thanks so much for joining us for the blogathon, always fun to have you!

    • Ginny says:

      You’re welcome and thank you Kristina for all your work in hosting the blogathon! It was great motivation to watch my first Elvis movie, and I’m so glad I did. I can’t wait to dig into more of them!

  3. Your first Elvis movie?! Awesome! I haven’t seen a lot of Elvis movies, so I can’t recommend, but I enjoyed your recommendation very much. I’ll have to check this one out. It sounds like it has stylish sets and great music!

    Thanks for bringing Elvis to the Beach Party Blogathon!

  4. Michaela says:

    I’m trying to catch up on my Elvis flicks, too. I just saw Girl Happy not too long ago and it was pretty enjoyable. My favorite, though, has to be Viva Las Vegas. Elvis and Ann-Margret are absolutely magnetic, and the songs are wonderful. It’s a lot of fun. I enjoy Spinout, as well.
    Nice contribution to the blogathon!