Blu-ray Review: WILD IN THE COUNTRY

WILD IN THE COUNTRY is based on the 1958 novel The Lost Country by J. R. Salamanca. The movie was directed by Philip Dunne from a screenplay by Clifford Odets and stars Elvis Presley, Hope Lange, Tuesday Weld, Millie Perkins, Rafer Johnson, John Ireland and Gary Lockwood. The score is by Kenyon Hopkins.

Hailing from a unique confluence of artists – the incomparable Elvis Presley, veteran director Philip Dunne and acclaimed screenwriter Clifford Odets – Wild in the Country (1961) is an intriguing blend of melodrama and music that hits the mark with splendid casting. The King plays a hard-luck yet innately talented Shenandoah Valley delinquent guided toward a better future as a writer by a supportive psychiatrist (Hope Lange). Tuesday Weld and Millie Perkins play, respectively, his sultry cousin and childhood sweetheart, also vying for his affections, and John Ireland and Gary Lockwood are a father and son who have it in for our rebel hero. Four Presley tunes and a score by the great Kenyon Hopkins grace the soundtrack.

This 1961 drama follows Glenn Tyler (Elvis Presley) who gets in a fight with his brother and nearly kills him. Glenn is labeled as a troublemaker and is put on probation after this unfortunate incident so he has to go live with his uncle in another town. Trouble does seem to follow Glenn who’s actually innocent in most of the things he gets blamed for and when his new counselor, Irene Sperry (Hope Lange), sees potential in him, things slowly get better for the young man. He does have to go through a few more obstacles in the process.

There’s also the women Glenn meets, there’s Betty Lee Parsons (Millie Perkins) and Noreen Martin (Tuesday Weld) who he nearly runs away with. Glenn kind of has a tangled web going on with these women but his main focus stays on Irene who really does have his best interest at heart. What happens is, he nearly goes through the same unfortunate event again after being bullied by one of the local punks to the point whre he retaliates but thankfully it ends differently for Glenn this time and he finally gets the lucky break he deserves. Glenn is off to college!

The front of the packaging features the artwork you see at the top of the page and the back includes movie details, an image, a few quotes, and list of special features. The reverse sleeve features an image from the movie. The Blu-ray disc also features some artwork that matches the front cover. Inside is a booklet from Twilight Time that includes more images from the movie, some nice words about Wild in the Country by Julie Kirgo and more original artwork on the front and back. You can see the front cover of the booklet down below. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. The picture and sound quality for this high-definition release were crisp and clear. There might be a little grain in a few of the scenes but that’s part of the movie’s charm. I didn’t have any major issues with the video and audio.

Bottom line is, Wild in the Country was another first time watch for me and it’s actually the first Elvis movie I’ve ever watched in its entirety. The story about this young man who can’t get the break he needs and is always getting into unfortunate predicaments is one that a lot of people will be able to relate to. I’ve had several friends who were good people but they always found themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. Myself included a few times. This is a character driven drama and a serious watch at times but that doesn’t stop Elvis from singing a few songs occasionally and at the center of it all is hope. He never gives up and when the one person who believes in his full potential finally shows up in his life it changes everything for him. I really liked the story and thought the cast did a great job with their characters. Wild in the Country is now available on Blu-ray and has a limited edition run of 3,000 units.

Distributor: Twilight Time

Run Time: 114 Minutes

Rated: Not Rated

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (2.35:1) Region Free

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0

Subtitles: English SDH

Special Features: The extras include Twilight Time’s Isolated Music Track and the Original Theatrical Trailer (02:30).

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