Elvis Presley: The Movies - Appreciation Thread

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by Bink, Aug 22, 2021.

  1. croquetlawns

    croquetlawns Forum Resident

    Speedway is a film that I remember enjoying more than most. I also really enjoy the soundtrack, other than He's Your Uncle... The duet with Nancy is also a bit awkward, but her solo song is very good.
     
  2. czeskleba

    czeskleba Senior Member

    Location:
    Seattle
    And perhaps not coincidentally, it was his final soundtrack album. Although there seems to have been a conscious decision to cut down on the amount of songs in his films (and consequently eliminate the possibility of soundtrack albums) even before the poor chart performance of this one. So maybe eliminating soundtracks was in the cards even if this record had done better.
     
  3. Although - and maybe in part due to Speedway’s poor performance - the remaining movies have relatively few songs in them, certainly not enough to fill out an LP. And by 1968 EPs were already a dead format.
     
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  4. czeskleba

    czeskleba Senior Member

    Location:
    Seattle
    Yeah. But like I was saying, they seem to have made the decision to cut down on the amount of songs in his films prior to the failure of the Speedway soundtrack, since the two films that were made immediately after Speedway (Stay Away Joe and Live a Little, Love a Little) were both completed before Speedway had even been released, and they both had substantially less songs in them.
     
  5. Bink

    Bink Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Let Yourself Go:

     
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  6. PepiJean

    PepiJean Forum Resident

    Nice tune but Elvis just kills it for the 68 comeback tv special.
     
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  7. Bink

    Bink Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I do like the fact that Elvis incorporated a few of the film songs into the Comeback Special. As much as that show is seen as a return to his 50's roots, I am glad he didn't completely disregard his 60's work.
     
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  8. Dave112

    Dave112 Forum Resident

    This song was a step up from the "rockers" in the previous several Elvis movies. I think it's as rocking as the movie songs Jailhouse Rock, Mean Woman Blues, and Hard Headed Woman. It's no wonder that it was used in the bordello scene in the 1968 television special. The perfect song for the scene. It also is the perfect musical metaphor (the song and the performance scene) for how racy Elvis was perceived when he exploded onto the music scene in the 1950s and changed everything. The naughty lyrics and Elvis' growling and soulful delivery in the television special caught the wrath of the censors, unfortunately.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2021
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  9. Dave112

    Dave112 Forum Resident

    Another formula Elvis movie. I can watch it but find myself missing the chemistry between Elvis and Ann Margaret in VLV. It's worth watching if only for the song "Let Yourself Go". About a year after filming started for Speedway, Elvis would shake these formula movies off. He would be finishing up taping the NBC television special.
     
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  10. Jay_Z

    Jay_Z Forum Resident

    Haven't seen Speedway, but heard that Elvis and Nancy don't have much chemistry. Hope it's not as bad as Elvis and Joan O'Brian in It Happened At The World's Fair. That ending was so unbelievable, you know they're going to break up in two weeks.

    At least it wasn't Shelley Fabares again. Shelley could be attractive and charming when used correctly, but she never had the wattage for the big screen. Better suited to TV.

    This was released only a year before Easy Rider. There were a lot of 70s movies featuring cars, probably more than the 1960s. Including Two Lane Blacktop, featuring different musicians. Elvis could have pulled off that, not that there was much acting involved in that one, or he ever would have taken it. Elvis as Crazy Larry? Don't think Elvis would have pulled off Smokey And The Bandit or those flicks as well as Burt Reynolds did. Burt probably pulled some moves from Elvis, but he did them better as an actor. What was considered an adult movie was changing, and Elvis would have either had to go more adult or do Herbie The Love Bug type stuff to stay in movies.
     
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  11. JamieC

    JamieC Senior Member

    Location:
    Detroit Mi USA
    Gumball Rally?
     
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  12. croquetlawns

    croquetlawns Forum Resident

    I've always thought that that jacket was super cool!
     
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  13. Dave112

    Dave112 Forum Resident

    As far as Shelley Fabares goes, I think she and Elvis had pretty good on-screen chemistry. It wasn't Ann Margaret and Elvis good but it was in second place I would say.

    There was no shortage of better roles for Elvis in the 1960s & 70s. The problem was that for Elvis to break out of the teenage movie formula, it was going to require that Elvis take roles that could showcase him as an actor and not a singer. That would probably mean supporting roles or an ensemble cast of great actors. Roles totally different from the formula roles would be required. Roles where Elvis' good looks were downplayed with makeup to allow the character to shine through. Also, the Memphis mafia guys would have to go to allow Elvis to 100% be there for the role. If Elvis wouldn't even confront Parker about his roles in movies, I doubt he would have held his own with other great actors in a non- starring role. I believe that Elvis had the chops to do it but not the willingness. By the late 1960s, it was almost too late for Elvis to build his cred as a serious actor. He should have stayed that course even after Blue Hawaii. Also, Parker wouldn't have anyone above Elvis on the marquee and I think Elvis preferred being the star of formula movies than a cast member in a serious film. Elvis' stage presence, showman moves, and King Creole demonstrated that he could have played some renowned roles on film.
     
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  14. Bink

    Bink Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Some excellent points. A question that I have been asking myself while watching these films is are we really as interested in Elvis having a long career as a serious actor? For me he was a great singer and I would have wanted that to be the primary focus of his career. I like the idea that he could have made a handful of great films as a brief sideline but I think his film career just lasted far too long without many significant rewards.
     
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  15. JamieC

    JamieC Senior Member

    Location:
    Detroit Mi USA
    I would say that his career was deliberately sidetracked and had nearly run out of track. Where was he supposed to go next? His studio records weren't setting the world on fire either and the movies and their soundtracks were a joke obvious even to Elvis by then.

    I submit that the hero in all this, the man who was responsible for re-igniting Elvis career was Steve Binder, NBCs assigned producer for Elvis Christmas special. Binder had no interest in a Christmas special if he had Elvis on TV in 68. He convinced Elvis, not the Colonel, and suddenly the track was open and clear.
    On the other hand Binder also produced the Star Wars Holiday Special. So there is that.
     
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  16. Dave112

    Dave112 Forum Resident

    Great points as well! Fact is that his movie career almost tanked his music career. There was quality control for both until after the success of Blue Hawaii. After BH, it seems that any long term career plans were abandoned for a big check and a sure money maker of a film. Elvis' well respected records were displaced by weaker and weaker soundtracks. I think he could have been even better in both a music career and acting career. With fewer but better roles, Elvis probably would have not burned out on movies. The same is true of music. Even as Elvis was more and more reluctant to go into a studio, he still loved to sing if it was interesting to him. The need to control publishing in every song diminished the amount of material that interested Elvis. The constant touring of the same places and the Las Vegas residencies burned Elvis out on performing as well. Doing a good film once every couple of years, cutting more songs that he was into regardless of publishing control, and a more diverse and less grinding tour itinerary might have done wonders. Maybe not. Maybe we have the best possible timeline for Elvis. He just left us wanting more.
     
  17. garyt1957

    garyt1957 Forum Resident

    Location:
    mi
    No offense to Shelley, but she was always the least attractive lady in all his movies. The woman he chose her over was always hotter
     
  18. I’ve read that the scene where Elvis sings Five Sleepy Heads was cut from the film. But there are those of us who remember it being included, at least in some TV syndication prints. While memories can certainly be cloudy/non-reliable I feel somewhat confident in stating I saw this scene as - and I’ve mentioned this previously - I used to have a small reel-to-reel tape recorder and would record the songs off the TV on to it and it was on one of those tapes. Sadly those tapes and the reel to reel are long gone but there’s no way I would have known this song as the first time I owned it was on the two-fer CD. Still not 100% conclusive of course.
     
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  19. Bink

    Bink Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I am assuming this one will divide the crowd:

    He's Your Uncle, Not Your Dad.

    This song sounds to me like a typical 'Broadway musical' type song, rather than an Elvis song, but even so it is interesting hearing him tackling this type of song. I do also admire that amount of choreography that would have been required for this scene:

     
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  20. PepiJean

    PepiJean Forum Resident

    Wasn't that choreographed by Alex Romero (that man who did the Jailhouse Rock choreography 11 years earlier)?
     
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  21. Look out Jailhouse Rock ;). I actually prefer the ‘movie’ version of this song as the additional orchestration sells it better, and anything that removes Ray ‘smooth as sandpaper’ Walker’s vocal gets an automatic plus in my book.
     
  22. Colchester Clive

    Colchester Clive Active Member

    I remember really enjoying Stay Away Joe when I first saw it. It just seemed like good fun and less formulaic than what Elvis had been doing. I’d say this is where his movies started to change, and they needed to. Speedway also was pretty good. Sure, neither were going to give the Oscar nomination people too much of a headache, but I found them enjoyable after a patch of very samey and poor films. As we get to the later films, there’s something very different about them.
     
  23. croquetlawns

    croquetlawns Forum Resident

    I agree that this version is better, but it's still a skipper!
     
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  24. Hooperfan

    Hooperfan Your friendly neighborhood candy store owner

    Location:
    New York
    I think it had more of it taking place in what appears to be a brothel, more than the lyrics or Elvis's singing
     
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  25. Hooperfan

    Hooperfan Your friendly neighborhood candy store owner

    Location:
    New York
    I like this one because it's the only time you'll ever see Mr. Mooney dancing with Elvis Presley

    [​IMG]
     
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