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Viva Las Vegas

 

 

Shooting began July 15, 1963 and completed September 16, 1963

Premiered in New York City on April 20, 1964

Opened nationally June17, 1964

Character:  Lucky Jackson

Producers: Jack Cummings and George Sidney

Director: George Sidney

 

Plot:

Lucky Jackson is a race car driver whose car is in desperate need of a new engine. Lucky arrives in Las Vegas for the Vegas Grand Prix. He and another driver become rivals for the affections of Rusty Martin as well as on the track. Rusty and Lucky work at the same hotel, and Lucky spends most of his time trying to raise money for his engine repairs. Rusty is reluctant to become involved with Lucky because of his occupational hazards. She soon changes her mind and ends the film in helping him to complete the repairs on his car. Lucky wins the Grand Prix.

 

Songs:

"Viva Las Vegas"-Sung over the opening credits, in the Flamingo Hotel talent show, and at the end of the film.

"The Yellow Rose of Texas"/"The Eyes of Texas"-Sung at Swingers Casino while trying to quiet down the Songs of the Lone Star State.

"The Lady Loves Me"-Sung  to Ann-Margaret while she's in the women's dressing room near the Flamingo Hotel pool and as she walks to poolside. She then joins Elvis in a duet.

"C'mon Everybody"-Sung in the University of Nevada-Las Vegas gymnasium.

"Today, Tomorrow, and Forever"-Sung while playing the piano in Rusty's apartment.

"What'd I Say"-sung just after Elvis and Ann-Margaret had danced in the climb.

"Santa Lucia"-Sung to Ann-Margaret in Mancini's hotel room.

"If You Think I Don't Love You"-Sung to Ann-Margaret in Mancini's hotel room.

"I Need Somebody to Lean On"-Sung while walking through the Flamingo Hotel lounge after winning the talent contest.

"You're the Boss," "Do The Vega," and "Night Life" were recorded for Viva Las Vegas, but not used. Ann-Margaret soloed on "My Rival" and Appreciation." The Forte Four sang "The Climb."

 

Cast:

Lucky Jackson - Elvis Presley

Rusty Martin - Ann-Margret

Count Elmo Mancini - Cesare Danova

Mr. Martin - William Demarest

Shorty Farnsworth - Nicky Blair

Jack Carter - Himself

Mr. Swanson - Robert B. Williams

Mr. Baker - Roy Engel

Mechanic - Barnaby Hale

Driver - Ford Dunhill

Master of Ceremonies - Eddie Quillan

Manager at Swingers - George Cisar

Delivery Boy - Rick Murray

Head Captain - Ivan Triesault

Francois - Francis Raval

Sons of the Lone Star State - Harry Fleer, Claude Hall, Red West, John Burnside, Lance Legault

Ad-Libs - Mike Ragan, Pete Kellett

Race Official - Larry Kent

Starter - Howard Curtis

Race Announcer - Alan Fordney

Showgirls - Aleane Mambi Hamilton, Beverly Powers, Kay Sutton, Ingeborg Kjeldsen, Teri Garr

Jugglers - Carl Carlson, Ruth Carlson

Guards - Brad Logan, Taggart Casey

The Forte Four - Themselves

 

 

Production Notes:

 

In Great Britain the film was titled Love In Las Vegas.

The title originally considered was Only Girl in Town.

Some of the locations used in Viva Las Vegas included the drag strip in Henderson, NV; the skeet-shooting range at the Tropicana Hotel; the University of Nevada-Las Vegas gymnasium; McCarran Airport; and the swimming pool at the Flamingo Hotel.

While staying in Las Vegas, Elvis stayed at the Sahara Hotel in the Presidential Suite.

Viva Las Vegas was originally released overseas before it was released in the United States. It set box office records in Tokyo, Manila, and other cities of the Far East.

The shoot out scene between Ann-Margaret and Elvis was filmed at the Old Vegas Amusement Park in Henderson, NV. In the scene, Elvis was wearing a special Bianchi holster. His gun was a Rugar Blackhawk .44 Magnum.

Viva Las Vegas (under the European name, Love in Las Vegas) was banned in Gozo, the sister island of Malta. Showing at the Aurora Theater were cancelled after Catholic authorities protested the film. The Gozo College of Parish  Priests issued a circular condemning the film as indecent. During Mass, one priest asked his congregation to protest it and avoid seeing it. Gozo was the only place in the world in which the film was banned. In Malta, it had a full run.

The entire race sequence was filmed with no sound. A total of forty-three special-effects shots were edited to cover the race. Sound effects were then added to provide the composite (exhaust effects, high-speed whines, tire squeals, etc.). The race itself ranged from the southern branch of Lake Mead to Boulder City to downtown Las Vegas.

Interior shots were filmed on the MGM lot in Culver City.

Viva Las Vegas reached #14 on Variety's list of top-grossing films. For the year 1964, it was listed in the #11 spot, having grossed $4,675,000.

Trivia:

As the Folies Bergere danced at the Tropicana, the song "Blue Moon" could be heard.

Lucky Jackson's race car number was 7.

Rusty Martin was enrolled at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.

Rusty was born in Las Vegas, but had lived in Dubuque, IA; Chillicothe, OH; and Helena, AR. Her father moved to Las Vegas originally to help build the Hoover Dam.

Lucky Jackson worked as a waiter at the Flamingo Hotel. Rusty Martin taught swimming there. The Flamingo was the first hotel to appear on the famous Las Vegas Strip. It cost $6 million when built in 1946 by gangster Benjamin (Bugsy) Siegel. He named the hotel, which opened on December 26, 1946, after his girlfriend, Virginia Hill, who was nicknamed "Flamingo."

Baker's Grand Prix Garage is where all the race drivers housed their cars in preparation for the Las Vegas Grand Prix.

Swanson's Machine Shop is the Los Angeles facility that built Lucky Jackson's racing engine.

The Las Vegas Grand Prix, which took place on July 4, 1964, ended in front of the Horseshoe Hotel in Las Vegas.

Bloopers: 

1. When Count Elmo Mancini notices Lucky Jackson entering the garage, His Grace is smoking a cigarette. Lucky answers questions about his car from the other drivers and pays the garage owner for the use of the facility. A moment later, Mancini approaches Lucky, the two discuss racing, and then the Count allows Lucky to inspect the racing car. As the two slide under the car, Lucky says, "Well, you have made some changes, haven't you?" Amazingly, the Count replies clearly, "I got my little secrets" while holding the smoldering cigarette firmly between his lips. Then when Rusty asks for help with her car, Mancini and Lucky emerge from beneath the car to offer assistance. By this time, Mancini should be ready to put that cigarette out, yet the cigarette he throws on the floor appears to be the same length as it was when the scene started.

2. After a day of activities, Lucky brings Rusty home. "I never had a better day," says Lucky. "Me too." says Rusty. "Let's don't let it end," Lucky requests. "I'll go change." Rusty leaves, then reappears in a matter of a few minutes in a new outfit, with her perfected makeup, and her hair fixed up.

3. While discussing Lucky's racing, Rusty shares a dram she has: "When I get married, I want a little white house with a tree in the front yard. A real kind of tree with green leaves." The conversation leads to an argument, and the scene ends with Rusty walking out. IN the very next scene, an angry Rusty arrives home. Seconds later, a deliveryman appears at the door with a tree.

4. Working as a waiter, Lucky carries a tray loaded with luncheon dishes through the garden of the hotel. He spots his partner and mechanic, Shorty, casually dressed, lounging in a chaise, and smoking a cigar. Lucky asks why Shorty isn't in his waiter's uniform. "I'm not a waiter anymore and neither are you," Shorty tells him. "The Italian just couldn't stand us race drivers being waiters so he paid off our debt to this joint. From now on, we're free." In the next scene, Shorty is back in the kitchen and Lucky is serving dinner to Rusty and Mancini in the Count's suite.

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