Elvis Month

ELVIS Month – Elvis movies reviewed.

One day I had a really good idea.  It was towards the end of July, a few years ago now, and I was still recovering from a back injury.  I was bored.  Sick to death of doing nothing.  My idea…WAS TO WATCH ALL ELVIS MOVIES AND CONCERTS DURING THE MONTH OF AUGUST…and I did…and it was epic…and I regretted it in the first week.

I also decided to review the movies as I watched them, which was a hilarious experience, and I noticed a lot of things I had never noticed before.  The sets, the costumes, the extras and many other things.

Having been an Elvis fan for my entire life, I have seen the movies before but never quite like this.  So have a read and if you have anything to add please add a comment.  Please note all comments need to be authorised by me so they won’t be published straight away.  Thanks for stopping by!

 

NOTE: Some information needs updating ie. status of co-stars etc. I’m working my way through it and should have most things updated and corrected in a few weeks. Thanks.

ELVIS MONTH DAY 1

LOVE ME TENDER (1956)

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Year: 1956

Age: 21

Movie: 1st

Love Me Tender is the only Elvis movie where he was not top billing.

So this is Elvis’ first movie.  I just happen to love love love westerns, and love black and white movies too.  1956 was such a long time ago.  15 years before I was born, (having just typed that sentence it now doesn’t feel that long ago!).  I remember always avoiding this movie, because of the ending.  If I did watch this one I would always watch it alone, as is the case right now.  The rest of the family have vacated the lounge room, which is a great decision on their part as I am about to embark on ELVIS MONTH.  Last night I thought I haven’t seen many ELVIS movies lately and since it is almost August I would watch all of them and the Doco’s as well, and type down a few observations….So here goes…LOVE ME TENDER.

Opening credits…of course…Technical Advisor: Col Tom Parker.  Never understood this, still don’t.  Anyway, end of the Civil War.  Yay!  Vance, Elvis’ brother, has stolen a heap of money from the Yankees which technically happened after the end of the war, so that’s bad.  ELVIS plays Clint who has married his older (kinda dead) brother’s sweetheart.  His, kinda dead, brother (Vance) turns up, not dead,  at the family farm after the end of the war and comedy ensues…NOT.

It’s almost 19 minutes before Elvis appears.  Lookin all hot and sweaty cause he’s been ploughin’ the fields.

Had to have a bit of a giggle, on the odd occasion E’s voice gets very high pitched, you know how boys of 21 get.

First song:  We’re Gonna Move.  Really nice, complete with the wiggle.  Closely followed by the title song Love Me Tender.

Another song: Let Me, sung at the school house picnic.  Love the song, but it gets a bit weird when the girls scream when he wiggles, I can’t see that happening too often in the Civil War era, but who knows, I wasn’t there, anything is possible…

And song number 4.  Poor Boy.  Another nice song.  He looks just grand in his going out suit.

Clint thinks Vance and Cathy have done him wrong and well things don’t end that well.  Clint gives poor Cathy a bit of a shove (translation…one hell of a shove) and looks like he gives her a bit of a slap too (behind the horses) but there is no sound to go with that action.  Hopefully they thought better of that slap.

Final scene, pits brother against brother, both love the same gal.  Angry words and shots are exchanged, and only one brother is left standing (not really standing, more slouching and bleeding really). But, everything is gonna be alright….but it wasn’t cause one of them was dead!!

And the last song, another version of Love Me Tender.  Really nicely done.  And I’m crying, again.

There’s a lot of misunderstanding and acting opportunities for all.  All in all I think it was a great acting debut and a pretty good movie.

Salary: $100 000

Cost of Production: $1 000 000

Co Stars Alive?

Debra Paget:  Yes (as of 2018)

Richard Egan:  Nope

My Favourite Song:  Poor Boy

Most Popular Song: Love Me Tender

Stay tuned for Day 2 of ELVIS MONTH


ELVIS MONTH DAY 2

LOVING YOU (1957)

Year: 1957

Age:  22

Movie: 2nd

Elvis gets his first on screen kiss.

Second movie and the first one in colour.  Beautiful, wonderous, 1957 colour.  Just brings out the costumes, those beautiful Edith Head costumes.

It doesn’t take long to meet young Deke Rivers (Jimmy Thompkins) (Elvis) at the 5 min 30 mark he comes rockin in in his hotted up hot rod.  Decked out, head to toe in denim. Then we get Got A Lotta Livin’ To Do.  With limited wiggle. Then off for a little drive with Glenda (Lizabeth Scott)  in the hot rod…it appears that that particular hot rod has the turning circle of a 747,  as it looks like the fence had to be moved back a few metres to accommodate the car turning around.

Anyway Elvis gets fired and so he is off to join the travelling show with Glenda, Susan (Delores Hart) and Tex (Wendell Corey).

Next song, Let’s Have A Party.  Not the version that you usually hear on CD’s etc, but still a great version.  Lyrics slightly different.

And another Let’s Have A Party with a montage.  Who doesn’t love a musical montage.

And Lonesome Cowboy.  I tend to break out into Lonesome Cowboy randomly, so much so that my kids now join in.

Loving You was Delores Harts first movie, and Lisabeth Scott last movie, although she still did a bit of TV work and singing.  Looks like Lizabeth has a bit of a crush, doesn’t matter which side of the fence you’re on, you can recognise sexy.

Having a little something to eat at the diner and…I can feel a song and a fight coming on.  This is the classic Elvis scene.

The fight features Kenneth Becker as Wayne.  Pain in the arse Wayne.  Anyway Kenneth Becker was in quite a few Elvis movies.  GI Blues, Girls Girls Girls and Roustabout.  He was also in True Grit (John Wayne), the original one.

And then the classic song Teddy Bear, in that fancy red and white outfit.

So first onscreen kiss is with Wayne’s ex-girlfriend Daisy (Jana Lund) at about 50 mins into the movie.

I really like Lizabeth Scott in this movie.  She is such a strong character, I can just imagine her exactly the same in real life.

Then off to the farm with sweet little Susan.

Hmm particularly love the outfit in the farm scene.  Swoon.  And just when Susan and Deke are falling in love they get interrupted, isn’t it always the way.  And then they part ways…for a few minutes anyway…and his heartfelt good bye, ah so sweet…NOT!  Jeez.  Really!? It goes like this “well, see ya”.

Deke and Glenda in the car, Deke describing his childhood.  Nice little scene.  Then you get to meet the real Deke Rivers.

This film has been billed as a kind of autobiographical movie of sorts.  Complete with the manager taking 50% from his earings as did “The Colonel”.  Elvis’ Mum and Dad are in the audience for the last song performance.  They’re in the fourth row at the aisle.  His Mum was already ill during this movie and died the following year.  Therefore, it is believed, that Elvis never watched this movie again.  Although I can’t really imagine E sitting down and watching his own movies too often.

Elvis and his Mum.

It is really cute seeing his Mum clapping and all excited.  Very touching.

Loving You:

And the final song with Gladys in the audience is Got A Lot Of Living To Do.

Behind The Scenes.

Elivs behind the scenes horsing around with DJ’s drums.  The band and the Jordanaires were completely uncredited in this film.

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Co Stars Alive?  Lizabeth Scott: YEP (UPDATE: Lizabeth has died since this post was originally uploaded. She died on 31st of January 2015 at age 92).

                                 Delores Hart: YEP

                              Wendell Corey:  NOPE

                                Kenneth Becker: NOPE

 

 

My Favourite Song:  Lonesome Cowboy

Most Popular Song:  Teddy Bear

Stay tuned for Day 3 of ELVIS MONTH.


ELVIS MONTH DAY 3

JAILHOUSE ROCK (1958)

Year: 1958

Age:  23

Movie:  3rd

Ah Vince Everett in trouble over a girl, who would have seen that coming.  And those juke boxes are great for catching Elvis fight victims.  So off to jail for you young man.  Which is really good for us, cause we get a few good songs and Vince gets a good dose of the whip.  Some good acting. And a bit of not so good acting.  Oh, and I do believe I may be biased in my views.  And we also get to say good bye to those lovely locks of hair.  But he seems to pull it off.  Those lovely locks of hair reappear in the next scene or two.

The scene of Vince working in the yard with his shirt off makes me smile.  These days an actor would be in the gym for hours everyday just for a shirtless scene, but Elvis is out there shovelling, being all sweaty and dirty with very little muscle tone…it was a different time kids.

The first song is sung by Mickey Shaughnessy, One More Day, love it.

Next song is a bit of Young And Beautiful, which I absolutely love.  I remember listening to it on my little record player.  Slow and romantic, kinda the opposite of what you want to sing in jail.

Then, I Want To Be Free.  Seems like a very unpolished song, but I like it anyway.  It’s just raw…that’s the only word I could think of.

So Vince has served his time and is released, and he is a little cranky and a bit of an arse.  But then he meets Judy Tyler at a bar and away they go.  This was Judy’s last movie, as she and her husband were killed in a car accident a few weeks after filming was completed.

Judy Tyler. Car accident.
Judy Tyler. Car accident.

Don’t Leave Me Now…

Classic Line:   Peggy: “How dare you think that such cheap tactics would work on me…” Vince: “They ain’t tactics honey, it’s just the beast in me”.

Treat Me Nice, not really strict on the whole lip syncing thing back in those days.

And those fans of old Disney movies will recognise Dean Jones who plays the DJ.  He was in The Love Bug and Shaggy DA and a few hundred other classics.   You remember those classics don’t you??

You don’t hear too much sex talk in an Elvis movie, but there are a few in this one.

So quite possibly one of the most famous musical numbers is, of course, Jailhouse Rock,  completely awesome.  Choreography by Alex Romero and Elvis.  I have read somewhere that Gene Kelly actually watched the filming of this scene too.  This musical number has also been credited as being the prototype of the music video.  Having said that you probably shouldn’t blame Elvis for MTV.  Nobody could have seen that coming.  Lay it on me Daddyoooo…

Baby I Don’t Care, is the next song, a really cool song too.  Most of the songs from Jailhouse Rock are under 2 mins long, which is not really long at all.  Great outfit! So 50’s.

The scene with Vince sitting on the floor playing with those dogs, so cute.

Last song…You’re So Young and Beautiful…again 🙂

This movie is the iconic Elvis movie.  A little similar to Loving You, cranky man, nice girl, sings, fights, gets the girl.  The majority of people on this little planet recognise the clip and the outfit (Prisoner # 6240) and it’s full of great songs mostly provided by the team of Leiber and Stoller.  Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller had to be locked in a hotel room for four hours so they could actually get around to writing these songs.

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Co Stars Alive?    Judy Tyler:  NOPE

                                  Mickey Shaughnessy:  NOPE

                                   Dean Jones:  YEP  (since uploading this post Dean Jones died on September 1 2015 age 84)

My Favourite Song:     Young and Beautiful

Most Popular Song:    Jailhouse Rock

Stay tuned for Day 4 of ELVIS MONTH.


ELVIS MONTH DAY 4

KING CREOLE (1958)

Year:  1958

Age:  23

Movie: 4th

Beautiful opening scene with the wet streets of New Orleans and songs about gumbo, which apparently is good enough to be in songs.  Must find out what gumbo is…did find out what gumbo is and it looks pretty good.  Click on the above link for a recipe.

Edith Head doing the costumes, I always look forward to that.  “Col” Tom Parker is, again, the technical advisor…and the director is Michael Curtiz, also the director of Casablanca.

First song the fantastic and little heard, Crawfish.  Danny Fisher (Elvis) accompanied by the beautiful voice of Kitty White.  Elvis is leaning on the balcony (at 1018 Royal Street 2nd floor apartment) singing with Kitty who is in the street.

Danny works at Max’s (Bad guy) {Walter Matthau) and Ronnie (Max’s gal)(and Morticia in another life time) {Carolyn Jones) is there.  This is where some creepy dudes demand he sings, and he sings his school song… Steadfast, Loyal and True.

I feel a fight coming on, cue the dramatic music, and a few broken bottles and he saves the day and the girl without throwing one punch…see it can be done.  However, Danny gets into a  fight at school and then gets expelled.  Then the story begins… Elvis’s character Danny then joins local gang, lead by Shark (Vic Morrow).  Danny made the difficult decision to join the gang so he could use the proceeds to support his Father and Sister.  The guys are your standard, cookie cutter, Hollywood thugs.  In order to divert attention Danny sings in a store so the gang can steal things, old trick but it works.  I’m pretty sure the gang could have stolen everything including the shop fittings, if I was working there.

Lover Doll

And so we meet up with Delores Hart again (Loving You) as Nellie.  She works at the store looking all sweet and innocent.

Walter Matthau as the abusive Max walks into his joint, hmm he looks real mean too.  Ronnie mentions the bus boy, Danny, can sing, so we get the song Trouble, which he also sings in the 68 Comeback Special.  Sings it real mean too.

Trouble

The dresses that Nellie wears are just beautiful.  And Danny is trying very hard to get one of those dresses off her…when he gets a room for a party and she follows him to the party (which, of course, does not exist) poor sweet, innocent Nellie.

Danny gets a job at Big Bad Max’s rival club.  Which causes even more tension between the owners.  He launches into the song Dixieland Rock, including a little wiggle action.  It’s quite funny how the audience really “dig” that tune.  Overly enthusiastic extras.

Dixieland Rock.

Then Young Dreams

The expressions when he sings Young Dreams are borderline hilarious…but I think it’s just really cute.  He looks a little uncomfortable with an extended close up.

After the meeting with Max we head off to the King Creole night club and at the entrance of the club is the promotional pictures of Danny tacked to the wall, looks like they just got a few of Elvis’s studio pictures and whacked them on the wall.  Some very well known pictures too.  Then Danny performs New Orleans.

New Orleans

Unfortunately we only hear a few seconds of Hard Headed Woman, which is a great fasted paced rockin song.  The  video below is an edit of different shots from King Creole.

And then the fantastic title song King Creole (Leiber and Stoller).  I’m not sure that that guitar really makes that sound but it is a damn good song.

I always feel like there is disaster waiting around the corner with this movie.  It’s filmed dark, it feels dark and the story line is dark, but the music is just great.

Oh Ronnies floral dress is gorgeous.

Don’t Ask Me Why

So anyway, Danny beats up Max and then there is a weird knife fight (haven’t perfected the fighting thing yet). Danny has no where to go, all of New Orleans is after him…can’t see many more songs happening after this.  He wakes up in a house on the river.  Wow, what a great setting.  It just looks so peaceful.  A beautiful breeze on the water and no Max.  Yay.  I keep watching his cheeks during this scene with Ronnie on the wharf, have a look for yourself.

Max turns up.  Boo.An editing goof…the guy running behind Max…and then not…whoops.

And Danny is back at the King Creole and they all live happily ever after…no not really…but we get one last song…

As Long As I Have You.

Co Stars Alive?  Delores Hart YEP

                                Walter Matthau NOPE

                                Carolyn Jones NOPE

My Favourite Song:     Crawfish

Most Popular Song:    King Creole

Stay tuned for Day 5 of ELVIS MONTH.


Thanks for reading and viewing.  If you have enjoyed these posts please hit “like” or drop me a comment.  Have a great day/night…RUBY. XXX.