Sean Orlosky | Yorktown, IN United States | 05/19/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In one of his best movies, Elvis Presley plays a handsome, bonafide jerk who, on route to his next job, accidentally encounters Barbara Stanwyck, her even jerkier husband, and her beautiful step-daughter (Joan Freeman). Maggie (Stanwyck) decides to let Elvis become her dying carnival's roustabout, but he does more. When Elvis sings, well, you know what happens! The carnival begins to attract attention and the money starts rolling in. But when Elvis is offered a bigger salary by another carnie, he is torn between the prospects of a better life and his loyalty to Stanwyck, and particularly, her step-daughter. Every song in the film is "a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, wonderful" experience. Elvis's fun rockin' with "Poision Ivy League" to his romantic wooing of Freeman in a ferris wheel, to the upbeat "It's Carnival Time" the big production number, "Little Egypt", and the final, memorable number, "And The Whole World's Gonna Be Mine". And Stanwyck is just great as the good-hearted carnie whom Elvis learns to trust. You'll have fun with this movie or buy it for the Elvis fan in your family... "be a big shot for a dollar, it's Carnival Time!""
Can you believe it? A leather-clad drifting biker!
Josh P. | 11/09/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Roustabout" has Elvis playing a karate-chopping, drifting motorcyclist who is picked up after an accident involving him being knocked off his bike by local carnival foreman Leif Erikson, with his daughter Joan Freeman and owner Barbara Stanwyck. After his bike and guitar are damaged, he is hired by Stanwyck to work as a roustabout in her carnival. Elvis, of course, soon falls for Joan Freeman who is a little reluctant at first. Over time the carnival becomes the local night spot around as Elvis attracts people for singing along the midway. In come the teenagers and crowds in droves. Rival carnivla owner Pat Buttram asks if Elvis is interested in joining his big carnival. He refuses. After some confrontation involving a stolen wallet Erikson is convicted of and Joan Freeman's unhappiness with Elvis, he quits Stanwyck's outfit. Then it's off to the Carver show. Elvis is a hit. Back at the other carnival, business is failing and troubles with the bank build. Joan Freeman tries to bring him back, but to no avail at first. Later Elvis decides to go back, pay off the debt, win Joan Freeman, and make the carnival a swinging place again. Quintessential!"
One of John Rich's Best Films
Kevin Killian | San Francisco, CA United States | 11/15/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"John Rich later became a TV titan and directed many of the best episodes of the best TV series, as well as taking a hand at production. But his feature film career is even more interesting. Like many journeyman directors, he was assigned a brace of Elvis pictures--this one and the later, hippie-themed EASY COME, EASY GO. But he was also responsible for some of the most under-rated programmers of the 1960s, including THE NEW INTERNS and BOEING BOEING--and WIVES AND LOVERS as well. In ROUSTABOUT he demonstrates a flair for working with actors of all stripes, from the legendary Golden Age star represented here by Barbara Stanwyck, to the neophyte starlet--in ROUSTABOUT there are plenty of them, and the most sparkling is a very young Raquel Welch, who makes her film debut in the opening scene as a college coed mesmerized by Elvis' singing. Raquel looks great and seems quite believable. It's no wonder her fi;lm career soared after making this film. As Elvis' leading lady, Joan Freeman is pretty good, and for this we can thank John Rich, he brings out colors in her otherwise cut and paste performance that we would not see again in Ms. Freeman's acting until her amusing later turn as "Ellie Jackson" in the Don Knotts goof-fest THE RELUCTANT ASTRONAUT.
As for Barbara Stanwyck, what can you say? She's great in the part and, even though at the time people say she was slumming by taking a supporting role in an Elvis picture, in hindsight she was pretty wise, for she was able to keep her name above the title and in Hollywood, that's all that matters. She was one star who was able to keep working until the day she died. As Maggie in ROUSTABOUT she adds new luster to the word, "Termagant." She's bitter, she's fiery, she's curt, she's passionate and she's salty. She's seen it all and laid down the law to bigger men than Elvis. And yet at the end of the day, when all is said and done, she needs him to maintain her autonomy over her grand little carnival. The two of them strike sparks together and their scenes have some of the resonance, at any rate, that Elvis brought to scenes with older women who reminded him of Gladys, his own late mother whom he adored."
Poison Ivy League.
Robert S. Clay Jr. | St. Louis, MO., USA | 01/08/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This Elvis flick leans to the dramatic. Not great drama, mind you, but more serious than the usual EP Grade B frolic. By 1964, Elvis was getting too old to be convincing as an "angry young man," but he gave it his best shot. Elvis is the motorbike-riding rebel whose singing peps up business at a struggling carnival. Elvis clashes with the hard-drinking ramrod, Joe (Leif Erickson). Joan Freeman and Elvis moon around each other, but find romance a rocky road. Movie veteran Barbara Stanwyck lends stature to the film as the carnival owner. The song writing teams of Giant-Baum-Kaye and Leiber-Stoller wrote some of the music, but the results are only mixed. On the plus side, the ballad "Big Love, Big Heartache" and the comic "Little Egypt" number are worth the effort of viewing. The other music is less memorable. One amusing footnote is Pat Buttram as a rival carnival owner. This was shortly before he enjoyed popular recogniton as Mr. Haney on TV's "Green Acres." Given the movie's emphasis on the social mores of carnival folks, we wonder if Col. Tom Parker was in hog heaven, considering his carny background. The movie offers good Hal Wallis production values. Wallis once asserted he made flicks like this one to raise money for serious films like "Becket." He considered Elvis trivial but profitable. Elvis fans will be pleased with this movie, regardless. Sample the cotton candy fluff. ;-)"
I went and bought myself a ticket...
Chad Taylor | El Cajon, CA United States | 05/04/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Although rather formulaic, Roustabout is one of Elvis' better outings. I really love this film. I have to disagree with the reviewer who thinks the songs were forgettable. I found them quite memorable and witty. Example: Poison Ivy League, boys in that Ivy League, give me an itch -- those "sons of the rich." Granted, the song needs to be understood within the context of the movie, but for a 1964 Elvis film that's rather tongue in cheek! Roustabout -- "I'm just a Roustabout, drifting from town to town, no job can hold me down..." It's a great number that really introduces us to Elvis' free-wheeling character (a set up for the movie plot) And of course who can forget "Little Eva." Little Eva came out struttin wearin nuttin but a button and bow... It's an early popular 50s tune that meshed within the Carny atmosphere of the film. And even It's Carnival Time although very simplistic is a catchy little tune. Stanwyck is great and so is Leif Ericson, playing a doubting dolting father-type, although I just don't know how Elvis can punch him out one minute and then suddenly they're pals the next (but that's formula). Look it's fun, the tunes are peppy, he gets the girl what more can you get outta of an Elvis 60s movie!"