It Happened at the World’s Fair (1963): Elvis Presley’s Worst Film

One of Elvis Presley’s worst films (and most of his features are rather bad), It Happened at the World’s Fair is strictly for the die-hard fans.

Elvis plays Mike Edwards, a pilot of a small plane whose friendship with sidekick Danny (Gary Lockewood) is of limited interest, sort of a distraction.

Central relationship in this meager plot is between Elvis and Sue Lin, a young girl abandoned at the Seattle Worlds Fair, played obnoxiously by Vicky Tiu.

Elvis gets to sing to–and wit–her.  Of the dozen songs or so, the best one is “One Broken Heart for Sale,” which became a staple in the King’s repertoire.

The romantic interest is provided by a red-haired nurse, Diane, who is not particularly attractive or charming.

Later on, it’s the nurse who’s suspected of informing the welfare authorities about the young girl, who lives happily with her two “daddies.”  In a tearful scene, Sue Lin is forced to leave with the social worker.

Running out of ideas, the film then forgets that it’s a musical, not a melodrama, and depicts how the overly concerned and sensitive Mike searches for Sue Lin, after she runs away.

A silly chase and fistfight follow, not just to fill in time, but to show that Elvis is really tough and not too soft.

Fortunately this bomb was followed by a good musical movie, Viva Las Vegas, one of Elvis’ very best.

The last song is properly titled, “Happy Ending,” with Elvis singing and a whole band, clad in white uniforms, stands behind him.


Rating: PG

Released: April 3, 1963

Running time: 105 Minutes