Guilty Pleasures: Bradley Hayward

My taste in film ranges from classic dramas (like Rebecca or The 400 Blows) to ridiculous slap-sticks (like Clue or Seems Like Old Times), so to apologize for liking any one film in particular would be a disservice to all the others I admire. Yet one film stands out as something I blush to admit revisiting time and time again as if it were an example of extraordinary cinema, and that one film is VIVA LAS VEGAS.

Elvis Presley made a staggering 31 films in 13 years, which includes a couple years off to serve in the army. In all those years he never managed to seem at ease in front of the camera, yet audiences kept flocking to theaters whenever he set foot on screen. I have yet to sit through any of his other films in their entirety because they all suffer from his basset hound style of acting that drags down the narrative. He manages, however, to overcome this handicap in Viva Las Vegas thanks to one perky Swedish bombshell.

There’s no arguing Ann-Margret is the main attraction in whatever movie she appears, and this is especially true here. Her radiant energy pulsates from every pore of her taut and flexible body. The choreography has Margret and her ample assets twitching and grinding in such a way that surely had the censors sweating behind the ears. Yet there is something so tame about the plot that keeps things from becoming even the slightest bit lewd or suggestive. It’s clear from the sheer sexual chemistry between Margret and Presley that they were hitting the sheets between takes, yet the story has them falling in love rather than making it. They meet, exchange goo-goo eyes, dance their brains out, have a nasty fight, dance some more, and then fall back in love again. All in a matter of 24 hours. It’s a silly and exuberant ride that also showcases the gritty glamor of 1960’s Vegas.

There is a Bluray release of the title from Warner Home Video that remains one of the most spectacular uses of the media in regards to remastered classic films. The picture and sound of this release is truly astounding, as if the film had been made yesterday. Ann-Margret in all of her Technicolor glory is reason enough to upgrade to high definition. It may not be as polished as Citizen Kane or Amadeus, but it sure as hell is a lot more fun.

Bradley Hayward grew up in the small Canadian town of Oxbow, Saskatchewan, where the overall lack of things to do left him plenty of time to write his first play. Since that time, he has written more than 30 plays, 22 of which are published, and has been produced in over 20 countries around the world (Germany, Spain, Italy, Australia, Norway, China, and Japan to name a few). Two of his short plays, The Yogurt Connection and The Sexual Conspiracy, have been produced Off-Broadway. His one-acts geared toward high school students have been presented at thespian festivals across the United States and Canada. He currently lives in Alberta, Canada.

Ok, that is the bio that comes from one of his publishers. In addition to this, it should be known that while Bradley has an extensive knowledge of films, his taste in television is questionable.