Kissin' Cousins

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Kissin' Cousins
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Gene Nelson
Produced by Sam Katzman
Screenplay by
Story by Gerald Drayson Adams
Music by Gene Nelson
Cinematography Ellis W. Carter
Edited by Ben Lewis
Four-Leaf Productions
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
  • March 6, 1964 (1964-03-06) (USA)
Running time
96 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $3,000,000 (USA & Canada)[1]

Kissin' Cousins (stylized onscreen as KISƧIN' COUSINS) is a 1964 American musical Panavision Metrocolor comedy film directed by Gene Nelson and starring Elvis Presley. Written by Gerald Drayson Adams and Gene Nelson, the film featured Presley playing two roles: an Air Force officer, with dark hair, and his look-alike hillbilly distant cousin, with blond hair.


The U.S. Federal Government has run into a dead end trying to negotiate the lease of mountaintop land owned by Pappy Tatum, in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, for use as an ICBM missile base. U.S. Army General Alvin Donford gives Captain Robert Salbo seven days to secure the lease, or face permanent assignment to Greenland, after a quick computer search of military records, Salbo requests that U.S. Air Force pilot Second Lt. Josh Morgan, born elsewhere in the Great Smoky Mountains, be assigned as his number two. When they arrive in Tennessee with a small platoon, dark-haired Josh is surprised to meet his look-alike third cousin Jodie Tatum, a blond hillbilly.

Josh also meets his two beautiful country cousins, Azalea and Selena, who compete to win his affections. Josh eventually chooses Azalea and pairs off Selena with his friend, Master Sgt. William Bailey. Jodie, on the other hand, falls for Private Midge Riley, a beautiful but fiery soldier. There are also a group of 13 mountain maidens called the Kittyhawks who create havoc when they set their sights on the marriage-eligible soldiers.

Josh persuades Pappy Tatum to lease the mountaintop to the government for a monthly payment of $1,000 ($7,900 today) as long as an access road is built from the far side and the military provide security to prevent government employees from accessing Tatum's side – which will prevent "revenoors" from interfering with Pappy's moonshining.


Production, release and reception[edit]

While set in the Great Smoky Mountains, the film was shot in the Los Angeles (LA) area, both on set at MGM Studios and outdoors in the San Bernardino Mountains west of LA.

The film was produced by Dick Fitzwell for Four-Leaf Productions, and was distributed in the United States by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the film was released in the United States on March 6, 1964 and reached #11 on the Variety National Box Office Chart, earning $3 million, and finished at #26 on the year end list of the top-grossing movies of 1964.[2]

In 1988, Kissin' Cousins made its home video debut, released on VHS. When it was reissued on VHS in 1997, the song "Smokey Mountain Boy" was deleted, it was later restored to the film when it made its DVD debut in 2007.


The song "Kissin' Cousins", played over the opening credits, reached #12 on the Billboard Hot 100[3] and was certified Gold by the RIAA.[4]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Screenwriters Gene Nelson and Gerald Drayson Adams were nominated for the Writers Guild of America Award in the category of Best Written American Musical (won by Mary Poppins).[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Big Rental Pictures of 1964" in Variety, 6 January 1965, p. 39. Please note this figure is rentals accruing to distributors not total gross.
  2. ^ Victor, Adam. The Elvis Encyclopedia. Overlook, 2008.
  3. ^ "Music: Top 100 Songs - Billboard Hot 100 Chart". Billboard. 1964-03-21. Retrieved 2018-01-09. 
  4. ^ "Gold & Platinum - RIAA Search - Elvis Presley, Kissin' Cousins". Retrieved 2018-01-09. 
  5. ^ Victor 2008.

External links[edit]