" Wild in the Country "
Wild in the Country was filmed on location in Napa Valley and in Hollywood Studios, although it is set in the Shenandoah Valley. The cast and crew created a public sensation in Napa for over two months of filming. The motel where many of the cast stayed, Casa Beliveau (since torn down), was so mobbed that Elvis had to be moved to the St. Helena home that was being used in the film as Irene Sperry's house where Glenn Tyler went for counseling. Now a top-rated inn in Napa Valley and known as The Ink House, you can still stay in the room where Elvis slept for over two months.
Other Napa Valley locations featured in the movie. The opening scene was filmed along portions of the Napa River. This section of the river is located at what is now the Casa Nuestra Winery, between Calistoga and St. Helena. Calistoga's downtown main street was used as the hometown of Glenn Tyler's uncle and his cousin. Other filming locations in Napa Valley include the Silverado Trail between Calistoga and St. Helena, the Cameo Cinema (then The Roxy), an old movie theater still in operation in downtown St. Helena where the dance hall scenes with Elvis and Tuesday Weld were filmed, and the hills and farmland behind what is now Whitehall Lane Winery just north of the town of Rutherford.
The Ink House was used as the house and backyard where a drunken Glenn Tyler tries to hose down Irene Sperry through the porch window, and the nearby 1885 barn is where Irene Sperry drives her DeSoto in to attempt suicide when she is so distraught over her suspected romance with Glenn and the scandal it has caused. In one scene, Betty Lee slaps Glenn. Millie Perkins suffered a broken arm while doing the scene, and before the film was released, the scene ended up being cut out of the movie.
This was Elvis' last dramatic lead role until Charro! as his next film, Blue Hawaii, was his first big budget musical and was a box office sensation. All his subsequent movies were largely formula musicals which were quite lucrative but never gave him the chance to develop his potential as a serious actor that was very apparent in Wild in the Country.
In the original script and rough cut of the film, Hope Lange's character Irene Sperry succeeds in her suicide attempt. However, preview audiences reacted negatively to it and the scene was redone in which Irene survives and sees Glenn off to college.
Presley began an off-screen romance with Hollywood "bad girl" Tuesday Weld but the relationship was short-lived after Colonel Tom Parker warned Presley against his involvement, fearful it would harm his image. Elvis and Hope Lange also were quite taken with each other, but her separation from her husband did not result in a divorce until the next summer making her unavailable for a serious relationship.
Other notable members in the cast included Jason Robards, Sr., Christina Crawford (daughter of Joan Crawford), Pat Buttram and the legendary Rudd Weatherwax who trained the animals used in the movie.