Elvis Movie Mania

One of my goals was to watch five Elvis movies before my trip to Graceland. After I booked the flights last month I got really excited for my upcoming trip in April and I watched eight! These were six I'd never seen before.

Love Me Tender This movie was so boring and Elvis was hardly in it, but because it was his first role, I wanted to watch. His character, Clint, stays home to care for his mom and farm while his three older brothers go off to fight in the Civil War. They are told that his oldest brother, Vance, was killed and Clint marries Vance’s girlfriend, but all three brothers come back. Awkward. Elvis looked good, I loved the singing scenes (especially the hip shaking), but it was a really slow and boring movie. Westerns are not my genre.

Random fact: The movie was originally called “The Reno Brothers” but advanced sales of Elvis’s single “Love Me Tender” hit one million and the name of the film was changed.

Clambake I really loved the ‘60s vibe of this movie. The clothes, the hair, the dancing! Scott (Elvis) an oil heir, meets Tom, a water skiing instructor. They decide to trade places to see what life is like in each other’s shoes. Scott works for a Miami hotel and meets a girl who’s looking to land a rich fella. Scott tries to help her but falls in love with her in the process.

Random Fact: Elvis wasn’t happy with the way his movie career was going and began overeating. Movie execs ordered him to lose 30 pounds in a hurry. This is when diet pills entered his life. He really wasn’t looking his best in this movie at all.

Viva Las Vegas I can totally see why people think this is Elvis’s best movie. Elvis plays Lucky, a race car driver who is in Vegas for the Grand Prix. He has to raise money for a new engine and meets a local swimming instructor. The movie is filled with tons of musical numbers, plus it has Ann-Margret who is just insane to watch. (See Kristin Wiig’s spot on impression here).

Random Fact: Elvis and Ann-Margret’s chemistry wasn’t just on-screen. They had a brief affair, but after it ended he continued to send her flowers and some say she was his true love. She was the only one of his co-stars to attend his funeral.

King Creole Danny (Elvis) is a kid from a poor family who gets in a fight at school and is told that he will not graduate so he drops out and starts working as a bar singer. Everyone says this is one of his best performances, but I just couldn’t get into the movie. It was slow and serious and the music wasn’t that great.

Random Fact: Elvis deferred the beginning of his army career for two months to make this movie. He said this was his favorite role.

Girl Happy I watched this movie based on a recommendation from Christianna. Rusty (Elvis) and his band are sent to Fort Lauderdale to look after their boss’s daughter while she’s on spring break. Rusty woos two women and crazy comedy ensues. The ‘60s dancing was awesome, the beach scenes were fun, the leading lady was adorable, there was a song about every three minutes and I want some of the swimsuits I saw. What I don’t understand is why Elvis wore long sleeves the whole movie when it’s set on a beach!

Random Fact: Several of the songs are slightly sped up, making Elvis’s voice sounds higher than usual. It was done to give the songs and upbeat and youthful feeling. The original version of “Girl Happy” wasn’t released until the ‘90s.

It Happened At The World’s Fair I had to watch this one because it’s set in Seattle! Elvis rides the Monorail, eats in the Space Needle’s revolving restaurant and runs around what is now the Pacific Science Center. It’s amazing to me how similar it all still looks, almost 50 years later. Elvis plays a pilot named Mike. His business partner gambles away their crop-duster which will go up for auction if they can’t pay their debt. They hitchhike to Seattle, Mike spends the entire movie wandering around the fair with an abandoned little girl and looks for love…of course. The songs were boring, but I loved this movie because of the location.

Random Fact: Kurt Russell has an uncredited role as the boy who kicked Mike. He went on to play Elvis in the made for TV movie Elvis, voiced Elvis in Forrest Gump, and played an Elvis impersonator in 3000 Miles to Graceland.

I also re-watched two I’ve already seen.

Jailhouse Rock I watched this movie on tv years and years ago. Besides the awesome performance of “Jailhouse Rock,” it’s kind of slow. After Elvis’s character, Vince, gets in a bar fight, he is sentenced to prison. His cell mate is a former country singer and when he discovers Vince’s talent, he asks to go into business together. Vince is released, tries to get his career going, and meets a woman record executive along the way, fame gets to his head and his friends help bring him back down. It was a pretty risqué movie for the time. The hero is a bad boy and they say hell. Gasp! I like it because the songs are performed on purpose, in a recording studio or on stage, not like in most of his movies where he’s in a car, plane, train, or boat and just starts singing.

Random Fact: Judy Tyler, who played Elvis’s love interest died in a car accident two weeks after filming was completed. Because of his grief, Elvis never watched this movie.

Blue Hawaii Chad (Elvis) returns to Hawaii from the Army where he’s happy just hanging out with his girlfriend and friends on the beach. His mom wants him to manage their pineapple business, but he gets a job as a tour guide instead. I’ve always liked this movie. I’ve been to about every location and it has one of my favorite songs, “Can’t Help Falling In Love.” It also doesn’t hurt that he’s wearing tight white short shorts in half of the movie! I’ve always thought that Elvis looked and sounded the best in this era and after watching all these movies, I can say that hasn’t changed.

Random Fact: Elvis completed the fourteen song soundtrack in just three days. It was nominated for a Grammy, spent twenty weeks at number one, and is his most successful album.

Have you seen any Elvis movies? Which one is your favorite?


Ashlee Miller said...

I have never seen any of Elvis' movies but now that you wrote about them I might give them a chance. I never realized how many movies he did.

Christianna said...

These were all great little reviews! I think I've seen most of these! I went on an Elvis movie kick when I was a teenager, though I don't remember all of them.

Of course "Girl Happy" is still my favorite. My little brother and I used to watch it all the time. Sounds like you liked it! Did you?

Leeann @ Join the Gossip said...

I think I've seen part of Blue Hawaii. I really want to watch his movies and need to get on it!

Karen Peterson said...

I LOVE Jailhouse Rock. I've seen a couple of Elvis movies, but that's the only one that I really love.

M.R. said...

Follow that dream is my fave!

Jessica Renee said...

I hate to admit, loving Elvis so much, I've never really watched any of his movies. I really need to get on that!!

hotpants™ said...

Jailhouse Rock and Kissing Cousins are my fave, but I seriously love them all. He's just... well, he's Elvis. AND I ADORE HIM!

The part in Jailhouse Rock where he sings for the first time after he gets his voice back... It gets me every time.