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Elvis plays a roughneck country boy, seething with hostility but gifted with literary talent. In the occasionally precious Clifford Odets script, this comes across as James Dean by way of a Thomas Wolfe novel--and not a bad shot at respectable acting by Elvis. His monologue about his dead mother, delivered to sympathetic shrink Hope Lange, is one of the most affecting things the King ever did in a movie. The songs are kept to a minimum, and Presley has some good, thrumming energy with the young Tuesday Weld (bad girl) and Millie Perkins (good girl), two uncommonly smart actresses. This is one of many Hollywood melodramas suggesting the angst brewing beneath the prosperity of the Eisenhower-Kennedy era, and it holds up decently, if not spectacularly. For Elvis fans, it's a poignant glimpse at a performer still in the young-buck stage of exciting possibilities.

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FX2004818 Wild In the Country DVD (1961/E,vis Presley) $9.98