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Live a Little, Love a Little

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Live a Little, Love a Little
Theatrical release poster
Directed byNorman Taurog
Screenplay byMichael A. Hoey
Dan Greenburg
Based onKiss My Firm But Pliant Lips
1965 novel
by Dan Greenburg
Produced byDouglas Laurence
CinematographyFred J. Koenekamp
Edited byJohn McSweeney, Jr.
Music byBilly Strange
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
  • October 23, 1968 (1968-10-23) (USA)
Running time
90 minutes
CountryUnited States

Live a Little, Love a Little is a 1968 American musical comedy film starring Elvis Presley.[1] It was directed by Norman Taurog, who had directed several previous Presley films. This was to be Taurog's final film, as he went blind shortly after production ended.[1] Presley shares the screen with fellow legendary singing idol Rudy Vallee, whose career dated to the 1920s, but Vallee, in his late 60s, did not sing in the film.[citation needed]

The film introduced the song "A Little Less Conversation", an alternate take of which would form the basis of a remix that returned Presley to international music sales charts in 2002.[citation needed]

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Greg Nolan (Presley) is a newspaper photographer who lives a carefree life until he encounters an eccentric, lovelorn woman named Bernice on the beach. Bernice assumes different names and personalities whenever the mood hits her. She introduces herself to Greg as "Alice" but she is known to the grocery delivery boy as "Susie" and to the milkman as "Betty."

After having her Great Dane dog Albert chase Greg into the water when he insults her after a kiss, Bernice invites him to stay at her beachfront home. Bernice later causes Greg to get fired from his job and get evicted from his apartment after drugging him, which leaves him in a deep sleep for days.

However, Bernice manages to find Greg another home. Greg wants to repay her, so he procures two full-time photographer jobs: one for a Playboy-like magazine owned by Mike Lansdown, and the other for a very conservative advertising firm co-owned by Mr. Penlow. The two jobs are in the same building, forcing Greg to run from one to the other without being detected. Greg also deals with Bernice and her eccentric ways, and finally realizes he has fallen in love with her.



Based on the 1965 novel Kiss My Firm, But Pliant, Lips by Dan Greenburg, and with a screenplay co-written by Greenburg, Live a Little, Love a Little was a departure from the standard Presley films of the period.[1] It had a more mature tone than other Presley musicals, with strong language, drug references and an implied sexual encounter.[1]

Presley was paid $850,000 plus 50% of the profits.[2] Elvis also did all of his own stunts in the film, including dating driving in the opening scene which has been compared to Steve McQueen and a fight scene he also choreographed and showed his karate skills. [3]

Unlike many previous films that involved "location scenes" shot against a backdrop, Presley appeared in more real location scenes than usual. Scenes were filmed in and around Hollywood, along the Malibu coast, at Marineland and at the Los Angeles Music Center.[1]

The film co-starred Michele Carey, Don Porter, Rudy Vallee and Dick Sargent,[1] and featured Presley's father Vernon in an uncredited cameo. Several of Presley's Memphis Mafia friends, such as Red West and Joe Esposito, also appeared.[1]

Released on October 23, 1968, the film failed to impress most critics.[1] With a very poor performance on its American release, the film was not released in many regions, including in the U.K.[1]


Live a Little, Love a Little, the second of Presley's five final movies during the 1960s, included just a handful of musical numbers. The recording session for the four songs written for the film took place at Western Recorders in Hollywood on March 7, 1968.[4] The producer in nominal charge of the session, Billy Strange (also known for his work as a session guitarist and songwriter), was attuned to current trends in popular music and brought in a group of musicians outside of Presley's usual stable, offering written arrangements that strayed from Presley's usual sound.[4] "Almost in Love" was co-written by Brazilian Bossa Nova great Luiz Bonfá, and has the undeniable groove of the Samba and Jazz blended style sweeping the World at that time. "Edge of Reality" was a piece of pseudo-acid rock and "A Little Less Conversation", written by Strange and his new discovery Mac Davis, bordered on funk.[citation needed]

"A Little Less Conversation" was released as a single with "Almost in Love" on the reverse side on September 3, 1968, RCA catalog nr. 47–9610.[5] It peaked at No. 69, while its B-side scraped into the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 95 independently.[6] Over three decades later, a remix of "A Little Less Conversation" became a global No. 1 hit record.[7] The version sourced for the remix was initially believed to be a later re-recording made for the soundtrack of Presley's 1968 NBC comeback special, and not the movie version; however, when the Live a Little, Love a Little soundtrack tapes were rediscovered in the vaults. "Edge of Reality" appeared on November 5, 1968, as the B-side of RCA single 47-9670 "If I Can Dream," the song Presley used to close out his 1968 Christmas Special. "Wonderful World," which played over the opening credits to the film, appeared on the compilation Elvis Sings Flaming Star.[8] All three tracks released on singles also appear on Command Performances: The Essential 60's Masters II.[citation needed]

Track listing

  1. "Wonderful World" (Doug Flett, Guy Fletcher)
  2. "Edge of Reality" (Bernie Baum, Bill Giant, Florence Kaye)
  3. "A Little Less Conversation" (Billy Strange, Mac Davis)
  4. "Almost in Love" (Luiz Bonfá, Randy Starr)


Credits compiled from RCA and AFM union paperwork as organized and published by sessionographer Keith Flynn.[9]


Celeste Yarnall, who played Ellen, recalled the making of the film and her impressions of Presley:

I adored Elvis. When I met him for the first time he immediately put me at ease. We had to film our kissing first and neither of us heard the director say, 'Cut!' For me, it was love at first kiss! We became very good friends. He was warm and kind and full of love. He had this tremendous desire to please people. We watched the funeral of Martin Luther King Jr. together over lunch in his trailer. He cried. He really cared deeply. He was far more handsome in person with deep blue eyes and a Roman profile. He held jam sessions on the set and would play cars with George Barris or play football with the 'boys' who traveled with him everywhere. He was truly 'The King.'


Variety called the film one of Presley's "dimmest vehicles," writing that Taurog's direction "tried to give some lilt to the proceedings. Nothing, however, can buck that writing. Songs are dull, physical values are standard, and mediocrity prevails."[10]

Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times called the film "a pleasant Elvis Presley picture that's rather more sophisticated than the durable singing star's 27 prior efforts."[11]

The Monthly Film Bulletin, reviewing the film in 1978, wrote that it "commendably attempts to create a more eccentric, 'sophisticated' setting for Presley than hitherto," but that it "fails to achieve the kind of comic invention vital to a screwball romantic comedy," and that its songs were "unmemorable."[12]

Home media

Live a Little, Love a Little was released by Warner Home Video on August 7, 2007, as a Region 1 widescreen DVD.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Victor, Adam (2008). The Elvis Encyclopedia. Gerald Duckworth & Co Ltd. pp. 305–6. ISBN 978-0-7156-3816-3.
  2. ^ Michael A. Hoey, Elvis' Favorite Director: The Amazing 52-Film Career of Norman Taurog, Bear Manor Media 2013
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b Jorgensen, Ernst. Elvis Presley A Life in Music: The Complete Recording Sessions. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1998; p. 239.
  5. ^ Jorgensen, Ernst. Elvis Presley A Life in Music: The Complete Recording Sessions. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1998; pp. 241-242.
  6. ^ Jorgensen, Ernst. Elvis Presley A Life in Music: The Complete Recording Sessions. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1998; p. 418.
  7. ^
  8. ^ Jorgensen, Ernst. Elvis Presley A Life in Music: The Complete Recording Sessions. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1998; p. 243.
  9. ^ Flynn, Keith. "Keith Flynn's Elvis Presley Pages: Recording Sessions - March 7, 1968". Retrieved December 21, 2023.
  10. ^ "Live A Little, Love A Little". Variety: 27. October 9, 1968.
  11. ^ Thomas, Kevin (October 24, 1968). "'Live a Little' is No. 28 for Presley." Los Angeles Times. Part IV, p. 28.
  12. ^ "Live a Little, Love a Little". The Monthly Film Bulletin. 45 (535): 161. August 1978.

External links

This page was last edited on 23 June 2024, at 09:48
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