• Wild In The Country (Twilight Time Releasing) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Twilight Time Releasing
    Released on: August 20th, 2019.
    Director: Philip Dunne
    Cast: Tuesday Weld, John Ireland, Elvis Presley, Hope Lange, Millie Perkins, Gary Lockwood, Rafer Johnson
    Year: 1961
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    Wild In The Country – Movie Review:

    In 1961’s Wild In The Country, directed by Philip Dunne, the late, great Elvis Presley plays a young man named Glenn Tyler who has recently been let out of prison where he did hard time for a car robbery. Of course, Glenn insists he didn't do it – he’s innocent like so many other movie criminals. Now a free man, Glenn winds up working at a distillery run by Rolfe Braxton (William Mims) who is interested in setting him up with his lovely daughter Noreen (Tuesday Weld). Why would Rolfe want to set his daughter up with an ex-con? Because, despite Noreen’s good looks and admittedly cheery personality, she is an unwed mother without a lot of suitors calling on her.

    Complicating things, however, is the presence of two other women vying for Glenn's affections - his ex-girlfriend from high school, Betty Lee Parsons (Millie Perkins) and, oddly enough, a member of the parole board named Irene Sperry (Hope Lange). Lovely Irene has taken quite a liking to the handsome young man as of late and she doesn’t want him to get away. Glenn's appreciative of the affections but really just wants the chance to ply his craft as a writer and make a better life for himself.

    Overly long at almost two-hours in length and featuring four songs that, while decent enough on their own, don't really fit the tone of the movie very much at all, Wild In The Country isn't very good. Elvis' character is a walking, talking (and occasionally singing) cliché and while his charisma and screen presence make him likeable enough, the rest of the cast don't really fare as well. The three female leads are all attractive enough and fun to look at but Weld is positively vapid in her role while Perkins and Lange fare only marginally better. The romantic aspects of the film are all overplayed and the dramatic aspects, those that should have held the story together and kept our interest, are merely afterthoughts.

    Elvis as a troubled youth must have seemed like a perfect casting choice and again, he's not bad in the part, but there's so much sickly soap operatics up on the screen that it's hard to take any of it seriously enough for it to matter. The visuals are decent and the movie is nicely shot. The score from Kenyon Hopkins is pretty decent, but despite solid production values, the film is a snore.

    Elvis made many movies that were much better than this one, but only a few that were worse.

    Wild In The Country – Blu-ray Review:

    Wild In The Country arrives on Blu-ray for the first time anywhere in the world from Twilight Time in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed in the film’s original widescreen aspect ratio of 2.35.1. This is a very strong picture boasting good detail and a nice film-like appearance. Grain is there but never overpowering and print damage is almost non-existent. Colors are reproduced quite nicely even if they might be just a slight bit faded in some scenes. The reds pop nicely without ever looking artificially boosted. Contrast is dead on and skin tones look lifelike and natural. The black levels might not quite hit reference quality levels but they’re deep, while shadow detail is fine. The picture is free of any noise reduction, edge enhancement or crush and this is quite a huge improvement over the previous DVD release.

    The only audio option for the feature is an English language DTS-HD Mono track with optional closed captioning offered up in English as well. This simple but effective track gets the job done. There’s decent depth and range and while it might have been nice to hear some of those musical numbers in a surround mix what’s here is authentic and fitting. There are no issues with any hiss or distortion and the levels are properly balanced.

    Extras on the disc as light, limited to the film’s original theatrical trailer, an isolated score in DTS-HD format, static menus and chapter selection. Inside the Blu-ray case, however, is the obligatory color insert booklet containing archival images and insightful liner notes from Mike Finnegan.

    Wild In The Country – The Final Word:

    Elvis made movies that are a lot better than this one, but for those who are fans of this picture, The Twilight Time Blu-ray, while light on extras, does offer a very nice high definition presentation with an excellent transfer and strong audio. Those who enjoy the film can consider this a worthy upgrade from the older DVD release.

    Click on the images below for full sized Wild In The Country Blu-ray screen caps!