Love Me Tender – Elvis plays Clint Reno, one of the Reno brothers who stayed home while his brother went to fight in the Civil War for the Confederate army. When his brother Vance comes back from the war, he finds that his old girlfriend Cathy has married Clint. The family has to struggle to reach stability with this issue. Vance is involved in a train robbery, while a Confederate soldier, of Federal Government money. There is a conflict of interest, when Vance tries to return the money, against the wishes of some of his fellow Confederates.
Perhaps there has been better westerns too but the storyline in this one is enough interesting: a man returns from the American Civil War and finds his wife at home married to another man. With this marital mess and some other problems being solved Elvis drops in and offers some fresh music, or the music that was still fresh when the movie was being made. It is anyway relaxing to see the “King” in a most unspoiled context.
Not just another Elvis movie
This was a critically acclaimed introductory role for Elvis. This was not one of the more cheesy moneymakers that Col. Tom Parker stuck him with for the remainder of his career (Girl Happy or Blue Hawaii for instance).
Elvis showed great depth as an actor in his role as Clint Reno and also showed the potential to broaden his career from the premier musical superstar of our time into one of the crossover megastars that we see commonly today.
His music is an integral part of the movie but it isn’t put on display the way his future movies do. When you watch this film, try to remember he hadn’t done any of those 90-minute rock-n-roll videos with the likes of Ann-Margaret and Nancy Sinatra.
LOVE ME TENDER is worth viewing if the viewer is willing to set aside their preconceived expectations of “just another Elvis movie.”