Fun in Acapulco (1963)

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Released 1-Jul-2003

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Romantic Comedy None
Rating ?
Year Of Production 1963
Running Time 92:57
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Programme
Region Coding 4 Directed By Richard Thorpe
Studio
Distributor

Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring Elvis Presley
Ursula Andress
Elsa Cardenas
Paul Lukas
Larry Domasin
Alejandro Rey
Case ?
RPI $24.95 Music Joseph J. Lilley


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Slovenian
French
German
Swedish
Danish
Arabic
Bulgarian
Czech
Croatian
Spanish
Finnish
Greek
Hebrew
Dutch
Hungarian
Icelandic
Italian
Norwegian
Polish
Portuguese
Romanian
Serbo-Croatian
Turkish
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Now let me see; Elvis Presley, attractive girls, tropical location, lots of songs, boats. This must be Blue Hawaii or Girls! Girls! Girls!? Well, it might as well be as far as the plot is concerned. Yes, Fun in Acapulco is another of those films rolled off the production line to support the Elvis Presley industry which developed in the 1950s and 1960s. The studio had their formula, and they intended to stick with it. Well, you could tell that from the title, couldn't you?

    The plot, such as it is, has Presley starring as Mike Windgren, deck hand on a cruise boat in Acapulco, Mexico. The very young daughter of the boat owner wants him badly, but she is a bit young for Mike who rebuffs her. She contrives to get him the sack so he needs alternative work. Luckily, young street urchin Raoul (played superbly by Larry Domasin) takes Mike under his wing and soon has him a job as stand-in singer at the Acapulco Hilton. He meets female bullfighter Dolores (Elsa Cardenas) as well as fellow hotel worker Marguerita (yes, like the drink, which leads to lots of very poor jokes). Marguerita is dating high diver Moreno (Alejandro Rey who calls Mike the "Casanova of the North") which leads to much friction. Are you still following this?

    There is some further fluff involving Mike's fear of heights, and jumping off the cliffs at La Perla, but the plot is not too involving. Luckily the scenery in Acapulco is fantastic (even if Elvis is not actually there - he is shown against a rear-projection screen on all outdoor shots, which comes across rather badly). The other scenery on screen is equally riveting; Ursula Andress plays the part of Marguerita, and just one year after her breathtaking appearance in Dr. No she lights up the screen every time she is on it. Both she and Elsa Cardenas have good rapport with Elvis, and he responds with a likeable performance, so that the film is a bit more enjoyable than many he made.

    Unfortunately the songs in the film are not up to the standard of those in some other Elvis films. The highlight is Viva El Amor at 6:00. The rest are pleasant enough but are generally a mixed-bag of semi-Mexican influenced middle-of-the-road. Still, Elvis is in good voice here, and the combination of the spectacular scenery and the spectacular Andress are enough to make this film worth viewing, especially for Elvis fans.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    The picture on this disc is generally pretty good. The film is now 40 years old, but the print shows very little damage and the colour (by Technicolor) has held up very well.

    The film is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced. This is acceptably close to its original theatrical presentation ratio of 1.85:1.

    The focus in the transfer is a little soft for my liking, and has some low level noise early on, but this soon settles down. Shadow detail is generally good, though some of the night scenes (shot during the day with filters on) are poor (see 30:36 and again at 50:48).

    At times the colour in the film is vibrant (see around 73:45 for one particularly vivid scene). The outdoor vistas of Acapulco are bright and attractive, and the scenes shot on a sound stage complement them well (and the colours are well matched).

    As mentioned earlier there is minimal damage to be observed on this print. There is only one notable piece of damage (at 25:04), and a few frames seem to be missing around 46:04, but these are exceptions. The occasional minor positive artefacts do not detract from the picture.

    There are a lot of subtitles to choose from (25 in all). The English ones are not too bad, keeping close to the meaning and intent of the dialogue. As often happens they are not literal and occasionally stray a fair bit from the spoken word. As an example, the line of spoken dialogue "A man like you should drink Tequila" becomes the subtitle "You should drink Tequila".

    No layer change was evident.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    As with the video, the sound on this disc is fairly good. The Dolby Digital 5.1 remix is quite nice, which is important for a film which includes so much singing.

    There are a number of audio tracks to listen to. The default is the Dolby Digital 5.1 remix which is presented with a higher bitrate than the others, and benefits from it. There is also a restored Dolby Digital 2.0 mono track which is how the film was presented at the cinema in its original release. I listened to both tracks, and while the 2.0 track is nice and clean the 5.1 version is to be preferred. French, German, Italian and Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 tracks are also present. I listened to part of the Spanish track. Unfortunately Cardenas did not dub her part and both she and the Elvis dub sound very poor. The actor dubbing the street urchin Raoul also sounds way too old for the part.

    At times the dialogue is a little hard to pick up as the music is mixed a little too loud, but it is not bad enough to annoy. The audio sync is also fine, but with occasional moments in the songs when the lip sync is out.

    The music in the film is unremarkable. This seems to be a common factor in Elvis Presley's films, where the focus is meant to be kept firmly on the star and his songs.

    Surround presence is fairly subtle, and is best during the musical numbers. In the rest of the film there is very little activity away from the screen. Dialogue is nicely placed in the centre of the sound stage. The mono soundtrack is obviously not as immersive.

    The subwoofer is rarely used, but provides effective low-level accompaniment in many of the songs, which often include a lot of percussion.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    There aren't any.

Menu

    The menu is static. There are 16 scene selections to pick from.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 1 version of the DVD is broadly similar to the Region 4, except that it has fewer language and subtitle options. Coupled with the superior PAL picture this indicates that the Region 4 version is to be preferred.

Summary

    I found that I liked this film more than some of the other Elvis Presley films I have viewed recently. The stars are in good form, against an attractive visual backdrop, and the sound and picture are reasonable. If you can find this one on special, it would be a good place to find out what we were all watching at the Saturday matinee in 1963. For Elvis fans this is one you will not want to miss.

    The video is good for a film of this age.

    The sound supports the music reasonably well.

    But, as for the extras (yet another deep sigh!!).

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Robert Davison (read my bio)
Wednesday, November 19, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba SD-K350, using Component output
DisplaySONY VPL-HS10 LCD projector, ABI 280cm 16x9 screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderKenwood. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationKenwood
SpeakersKenwood

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