Saturday , April 13 2024
Old songs, along with a quirky script, make for an entertaining, if bizarre film.

DVD Review: Tickle Me

Written by General Jabbo

Elvis Presley stars as Lonnie Beale, a singing rodeo rider looking for work. After singing “It Feels So Right” from 1960’s classic Elvis is Back! and getting into a fight with a jealous husband, Beale meets Vera Radford (Julie Adams), owner of the Circle Z Ranch — an all-girls spa and ranch where women spend $500 per week to essentially be reconditioned into hotties (hey, it is an Elvis movie!). Radford offers Beale a job tending to the horses on the ranch, which Beale accepts.

While at the ranch, he meets and falls for fitness instructor Pam Merritt (Jocelyn Lane) who has a letter from her grandfather saying he left her a large sum of gold coins in an old ghost town with directions on how to find the treasure. Merritt is subject to numerous kidnap attempts as word has gotten out about the letter. The staff at the ranch complains about Beale, saying he is distracting the women, as they are all, of course, attracted to him and especially like his singing. Radford calls Beale into her office, telling him he needed to pick his spots to sing before forcing herself on Beale. Beale tries to resist, as he is interested in Merritt, but after she catches him kissing Radford, she leaves in a huff, refusing to believe Beale’s explanation that it was not as it seemed.

Merritt drives into the ghost town to look for the treasure and Beale follows her there with fellow ranch employee Stanley Potter (Jack Mullaney). Beale and Merritt wonder what an abandoned saloon must have been like in its heyday and we are treated to a fun flashback scene, where Beale is the Panhandle Kid — a milk-drinking gun slinger fast enough to shoot a man’s gun out of his hand, but courteous enough to offer a bandage to stop the bleeding. It is a surreal scene in a surreal movie and it only gets weirder from here.

The trio spends the night in an old wax museum and Tickle Me suddenly becomes an episode of Scooby Doo, as the museum is seemingly haunted and men dressed as monsters come after Merritt. A comical moment in the film comes when Potter is punched through an opening in the wall that Beale is unable to find when he looks for it. Meanwhile, Potter tries to convince Beale that he is not seeing things. The rest of the film finds Beale, Merritt and Potter trying to find the treasure before the kidnappers find it (and them) first.

Part of the Elvis: 75th Anniversary DVD Collection, Tickle Me did not have any new songs commissioned for it due to budgetary constraints. As a result, Presley sang old (read: better) songs in the film, including: “Such An Easy Question,” “Dirty, Dirty Feeling” and “Night Rider,” making for a vastly superior soundtrack than most of his 1960s films. These songs, along with a quirky script, make for an entertaining, if bizarre film.

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