Probably the most fun of the trio of films in this bunch is the Florida-set Clambake, the tale of a lovelorn Richie Rich who trades identities with a local speedboat racer in an attempt to prove he can make it on his own.
Scott (Elvis) is the well-to-do playboy who has tired of his privilege and decides to play Prince and the Pauper with local water ski instructor Tom (Will Hutchins). All of this drama plays against the background of a battle of the trust fund babies as Elvis finds himself butting up against another spoiled brat who is too big for his britches in Bill Bixby. Bixby is determined to make a name for himself as a speedboat racer, which prompts Scott to take up the challenge of taking him down, and all in the name of winning the heart of the woman they both adore, Dianne (Shelley Fabares).
Great tunes - including the title song performed at one hell of a swingin' luau by Big E - pair with picturesque locales and a charming cast to make Clambake a big goofy ball of fun that's hard not to love. Definitely a favorite of mine in spite of its perhaps well-earned reputation as a bit of a dud.
Clambake is another disc that looks about as good as your average Kino Lorber Studio Classics release. The opening credits will fill videophiles with dread, but soon thereafter, the damage mostly clears up and it's perfectly passable for the remainder of the film. Colors are respectfully recreated, and fine detail is, well, just fine. The original mono audio track sounds lovely as well.
The only extra aside from the trailer is an audio commentary from a trio of fans from Atlanta's Videodrome video rental store, the only one left in Georgia. Honestly, it feels like something I could've done, and while I'm a fan, I'm certainly no expert on the film or even the general oeuvre of Elvis. Not great, while I can appreciate enthusiasm, it's a bit disappointing when it isn't coupled with any particular expertise on the subject at hand.
However, no lackluster commentary track can take away from the pure fun of Clambake, and if I had to pick one winner of these three, this would be the one.
Happy Birthday Elvis!