(1965) Elvis Presley, Jocelyn Lane, Edward Faulkner, Julie Adams, Jack Mullaney, Connie Gilchrist, Merry Anders
The story under its ridiculous title takes place in contemporary Southwest, U.S.A. Elvis Presley is bronc-bustin’ rodeo boy Lonnie Beal, who lands a job at an all-girl dude ranch (what an invention!) after a barroom brawl with — of all people, Red West!
The ladies are enamored by this new arrival (What else is new?) and he earns the ire of ranch hand, Pam (Jocelyn Lane), who leads the girls through their exercise paces and the like (archery, horseback riding, etc.).
With hidden treasure to be found, a corrupt law official along with unscrupulous henchmen move in on the scene. Then one night, Pam is accosted by a mask-wearing hoodlum, and Elvis comes to the rescue (naturally). Pamela accidentally hits Elvis with a knick-knack and the thug disappears into the desert night.
The ranch foreman (Edward Faulkner) — in modern duds — complicates matters, as he is annoyed greatly by Elvis’ presence and makes his feelings known. Of course, an altercation follows between the two males. Although the jealous, petty antagonist is taller and leaner, Elvis nonetheless decks him.
Finally, the winsome characters converge at a ghost town on a rainy night. Surmisingly, the foes are vanquished, the lost treasure is found, and Elvis wins himself a blushing bride.
Though Tickle Me is considered a throw-away film, there are some redeeming qualities. The soundtrack is rousing (although the songs were recycled from the earlier 1960s), and includes “Slowly but Surely,” “Long and Lonely Highway,” “Step in these Arms,” and “Night Rider.”
One of the best scenes, a fantasy sequence, has Elvis as a gunfighter in a saloon. Elvis truly was a gifted comic in films. Too bad this fact was found out too late in his career. As a result, he was wasted by and large in a bulk of his forgettable films. However, Elvis does more than walk through in Tickle Me. One does suspect that Presley was having a ball with the utter silliness of it all.
The comic relief of Jack Mullaney is welcome. His pokerface and silly antics make him a natural Elvis sidekick. It is no coincidence that writers Ullman and Bernds formerly wrote for the Three Stooges and the Bowery Boys, because frivolity and festiveness permeate throughout the film Also, Jocelyn Lane may be one of the best of Elvis’ leading ladies. She has edge and keeps the viewers on their toes.