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Wild In The Country

On November 6, 1960, Elvis flew to California to begin working on pre-production for his seventh feature film ”Wild In The Country”. The 20th Century Fox film finished principal photography in January 1961 and premiered in Memphis on June 15, 1961. Elvis did not attend the premiere.
The screenplay was written by Clifford Odets, based on the novel ‘The Lost Country’, by J. R. Salamanca. In the book, Elvis’ character Glenn was an artist, and the character of Irene Sperry was a teacher. In the film, Glenn is a troubled youth and would-be writer and Irene is court-appointed to give him psychological counselling.
In ”Wild In The Country” Elvis plays the young rebel Glenn Tyler. After a fight with his drunk brother, who is badly injured, his father rejects him. Glenn is put under care of his uncle by a court. Because of a love-affair and other circumstances he gets into trouble in the little town again, until the people find out he is innocent. Glenn moves and goes to college elsewhere, finally he achieves little success as a writer.
After a scandal results from false rumour of an affair between her and Glenn, Irene Sperry, played by Hope Lange, attempts suicide. In the original ending she succeeds. Preview audiences did not like this ending, so on Monday February 6, 1961, Elvis was called back to Hollywood to re-shoot the ending of the movie with Irene surviving.
Originally, the dramatic movie was not going to be a musical, but eventually Elvis’ character’s singing was written into the story. Elvis recorded six songs for the movie, which included the title song ”Wild In The Country”, ”I Slipped, I Stumbled, I Fell”, ”In My Way”, ”Husky Dusky Day”, ”Lonely Man” and ”Forget Me Never”. The last two were cut from the movie.
Red West, Elvis’ high school friend and member of his entourage, had his first speaking part in ”Wild In The Country” as Hank Tyler. He would go on to become a well-known character actor and stunt man.

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