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Elvis Presley: The Movies - Appreciation Thread

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

  1. PepiJean

    PepiJean Forum Resident

    Paul Simpson's "The Rough Guide To Elvis" (page 215)

    "Harrison always felt that he and Elvis were on the same wavelength. And he obviously didn't stop listening to Elvis, because he quoted Presley's 1969 single "Clean up Your Own Backyard", saying, "Christ said "Put your own house in order" and Elvis said "clean up your own backyard" so if everybody tries to fix themselves up rather than trying to fix everybody else up there won't be a problem."
     
  2. Bink

    Bink Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Change of Habit

    Year of release: 1969
    Studio: NBC Productions
    Director: William Graham

    Plot:
    Three nuns are sent on a covert mission to carry out work in an inner city community. They work closely with Dr John Carpenter, played by Elvis, who falls in love with one of the nuns, not realising that she is not what she seems to be.

    Songs:
    Change of Habit (theme)
    Rubberneckin'
    Have a Happy
    Let Us Pray

    Trailer:

     
  3. croquetlawns

    croquetlawns Forum Resident

    More proof that the formula films were over! I remember quite enjoying this, almost as much as Live a Little, Love a Little. And another good soundtrack.
     
  4. JamieC

    JamieC Senior Member

    Location:
    Detroit Mi USA
    I think that brings an end to Elvis "play actin' ". One really good song.

    Are we going to look at his concert/tour films? I do hope we look at ELVIS(his "Anthology") as it was also an edited theatrical release.
     
  5. Bink

    Bink Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I was planning to round the discussion out with the 2 concert films as these were used to fulfill his movie contract and I think would lead to an interesting discussion.
     
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  6. croquetlawns

    croquetlawns Forum Resident

    Excellent! I was hoping that you would do TTWII and On Tour.
     
  7. I had Ed Asher sign my DVD of Change of Habit at one of those celebrity signing conventions. He was not impressed. Pleasant guy, and was seemingly happy signing whatever anyone else brought (MTM show DVDs, Up, etc.) but didn’t seem happy I asked him to sign it. Maybe because it was a bit part for him, who knows.

    And the less said about that screaming kid scene the better!

    Great soundtrack songs though, especially the title tune.
     
  8. czeskleba

    czeskleba Senior Member

    Location:
    Seattle
    Thanks for that, I'd never seen it before. I'm not sure we can conclude that George "loved" the song based on that quotation, and it seems a reach for Simpson to say that George thought he and Elvis were "on the same wavelength" based on that comment. But clearly George was aware of the song and liked it enough to quote from it in passing to illustrate his point. It is nice to see him mention post-Army Elvis music in a non-critical way, which was somewhat rare for the Beatles.

    I was curious for context and was able to find the original interview his comments came from... it's viewable here. It's from an August/September 1969 issue of the International Times, so the song would have been Elvis' current single at the time George made that comment.
     
  9. Dave112

    Dave112 Forum Resident

    Elvis' acting career goes out with a whimper instead of a bang. Change Of Habit is watchable but highly implausible. I know what you might be thinking.. "How many Elvis movies were plausible?". Only a few were plausible but most weren't trying to be. Most were an escapism vehicle that featured Elvis singing and swaggering with some hot ladies. Elvis and Mary Tyler Moore do a fine job with what they have to work with but it's a mess of a plot. Change Of Habit had its serious moments but couldn't decide if it was light entertainment or an edgy drama. Part "On The Waterfront" part "The Bells Of St. Mary's" part "Lilies Of The Field" with a side of "Ben Casey" thrown in. Just like in real life, serious social, economic, religious, and medical issues are resolved by a few dedicated, and well meaning folks in a timely manner.:whistle:

    As far as the soundtrack goes, I like "Rubberneckin' " and to a lesser degree "Let Us Pray". I tend to think of just how much the decade and Elvis changed from "G.I. Blues" at the start of the 1960s as I watch this movie.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2021
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  10. PepiJean

    PepiJean Forum Resident

    Thank for the link to the original interview!
     
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  11. PepiJean

    PepiJean Forum Resident

    Change of habit (1969)
    Without being a real highlight in his career, Elvis' last movie is still a very decent production, with good acting and a nice soundtrack (the title song, the soulful RUBBERNECKIN' and the churchy LET US PRAY are among Presley best late 60's music for a film.) Even if the plot isn't entirely believable (Doctor Elvis - ok... - healing an autistic child...), it still remains another - too late? - try out to get off the tracks of the burned-out formula. In my case, I specially enjoy Mary Tyler Moore somehow subdued performance and all those winks to the real Elvis (the Doc plays footbal, wears that awesome black Memphis sweater and whistles LAWDY MISS CLAWDY while wandering in the street.) As in "The trouble with girl", the film doesn't completely reach its full potential and gets lost trying to embrace too many themes and genres. It's still a very entertaining flick and a pretty satisfactory conclusion to Elvis Presley acting career.

    [​IMG]

    TOP#31 (1956 / 1969)
    -----------------------------------------
    31. Harum Scarum (1965)
    30. Kissin' cousins (1964)
    29. Paradise, Hawaiian style (1966)
    28. Double trouble (1967)
    27. Clambake (1967)
    26. Frankie and Johnny (1966)
    25. Charro (1969)
    24. Stay Away Joe (1968)
    23. Girl Happy (1965)
    22. It happened at the world's fair (1963)
    21. Fun in Acapulco (1963)

    20. The trouble with girls (1969)
    19. Spinout (1966)
    18. Easy come, easy go (1967)
    17. Tickle me (1965)
    16. Wild in the Country (1961)
    15. Speedway (1968)
    14. Roustabout (1964)
    13. G.I. Blues (1960)
    12. Love Me Tender (1956)
    11. Girls, girls, girls (1962)

    10. Change of habit (1969)
    9. Kid Galahad (1962)
    8. Blue Hawaii (1961)
    7. Loving you (1957)
    6. Viva Las Vegas (1964)
    5. Live a little, Love a little (1968)
    4. Follow that Dream (1962)
    3. King Creole (1958)
    2. Jailhouse Rock (1957)
    1. Flaming star (1960)
     
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  12. Bink

    Bink Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I enjoyed Change of Habit. It worked for me because it was very much an ensemble production. Although Elvis plays a main role, it didn't feel like he was carrying the movie. It was the nuns who were at the centre of the story. Had he carried on acting I feel he should have picked parts where he was part of an ensemble.

    In the mid 70's Barbra Streisand tried to cast him alongside her in the re-make of A Star Is Born. From what I understand, I think he was interested but ultimately I guess it didn't get past the Colonel. Besides Elvis was in no fit state to embark on a such a massive endeavour. In the end Kris Kristoffeson was cast as the male lead whose addictions lead to his death. Kristoffeson later credited Streisand with helping him realise through that role that he had his own addictions that he needed to resolve. Who knows what might have happened if Elvis had taken the role......
     
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  13. Pelvis Ressley

    Pelvis Ressley Down in the Jungle Room

    Location:
    Capac, Michigan
    “Love you.”
     
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  14. Bink

    Bink Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Rubberneckin' :

     
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  15. Hooperfan

    Hooperfan Your friendly neighborhood candy store owner

    Location:
    New York
    Change Of Habit is head and shoulders above the movies made from Girl Happy to Speedway. He gives a very relaxed performance...and at least there's some substance here. Of course, it's a bit melodramatic at times (the autistic girl "love you" scene goes on way too long), but there's some decent humor and it actually looks like a "current" film, in sync with the times.

    The songs are decent - the title track has a great groove to it, "Rubberneckin'" is a fun rocker (actually recorded at the American sessions), "Have a Happy" is pleasant but forgettable... But "Let Us Pray" is a rousing gospel-rock number, which is a fitting end to his acting career. Of course, at the young age of 34, nobody knew this would be his swan song.

    [​IMG]
     
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  16. czeskleba

    czeskleba Senior Member

    Location:
    Seattle
    One thing about the film that has not really been discussed here yet is its conflation of Elvis with Jesus, which is either a wry commentary or cheesey symbolism (or perhaps both) I guess depending on your perspective. Elvis' character has the initials JC, his last name is "Carpenter" (Jesus' pre-ministry occupation) and he heals a sick child. And of course at the end of the film, the two of them (Jesus and Elvis) go head-to-head for Sister Michelle's affections, with the winner left unrevealed. Elvis had competed against other guys for the affection of a woman in many prior movies, but they really outdid themselves with the "competition" here. The final scene where Elvis sings Let Us Pray as Sister Michelle's eyes dart back and forth between Elvis and the crucifix is a moment unlike anything in any prior Elvis film. They at least were trying for something a bit different and deeper than your typical Elvis film, and I really like that.

    And the music... I think Let Us Pray may be my favorite Elvis gospel performance. A cool song with a nice groove, and Elvis is still coasting on the good vibes of the American sessions, and sounds great. Unfortunately the scene in question is not on youtube so I can't embed it, but it can be seen here on dailymotion.

    Interesting fact: The wikipedia page mentions that Dr. John Carpenter is the only professional (ie college-educated) character Elvis ever played. I hadn't thought of it before, but off the top of my head I think they are correct.
     
  17. Dave112

    Dave112 Forum Resident

    I've seen this movie at least a dozen times in my life and never caught that connection....until now. @czeskleba , I can totally see the parallels. You are definitely on to something here. Great post!
     
  18. czeskleba

    czeskleba Senior Member

    Location:
    Seattle
    Here's an edited video of Let Us Pray that uses stereo audio from the record along with footage from the film (although not the Jesus/Elvis/Jesus/Elvis back and forth sequence I mentioned above). What I'm curious about is, does anyone know who those guys are backing Elvis on guitars in this footage? They aren't listed on IMDB as extras, so I thought they might be some of the actual musicians who played on the session. The guy on the far right looks like he could possibly be Max Bennett, but the others don't seem to resemble anyone else I can find. Does anyone know?

     
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  19. RSteven

    RSteven Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brookings, Oregon
    I just love the title track for Charro. One of the largest orchestral arrangements on an Elvis record and the Hugh Montenegro/Billy Strange/David Gates contributions to the string and horn chart is just stupendous. I love the way the James Bond theme creeps in ever so slightly at the 21 second mark.

    Elvis looks fantastic and menacing with his beard and with a better script this could have been a really interesting attempt at a Clint Eastwood early spaghetti western film. I still enjoyed Charro for stretching Elvis into a non-singing role.
     
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  20. RSteven

    RSteven Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brookings, Oregon
    Thumbs up for Live a Little, Love a Little as well. It really is a kick in the pants and a fun movie to watch. You get the bonus of having four very fine songs with three of them being among my favorite soundtrack songs ever; A Little Less Conversation, Edge Of Reality and Almost In Love.
     
  21. JamieC

    JamieC Senior Member

    Location:
    Detroit Mi USA
    I like it as well, but it's kind of a throwback to the westerns of the early 60s. It definitely SOUNDS like a theme to a western. Like a lot of John Wayne pictures.
     
  22. RSteven

    RSteven Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brookings, Oregon
    I agree with all of the above. Elvis looks fantastic in his last film and its great to see him play a totally serious character with basically a non-singing role in his last film. Many would argue too little too late, but I find about a third of Elvis movies to be quite good to excellent, another third entertaining, but inconsistent, and about a third that wasted much of his talents. There is something worth seeing in almost every movie he ever made, but it all could have been handled with so much better quality control, if Elvis had made a few less musicals and tried some more serious dramatic stuff. Of course Tom Parker had a completely different agenda in his mind than Elvis.
     
  23. Jayson Wall

    Jayson Wall Forum Resident

    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Change Of Habit is an easy film to make fun of for so many reasons (Elvis plays a “ghetto doctor”, MTM as a nun, the whole ending with Elvis/Jesus/MTM thing) but it’s not a bad “B” film Universal would crank out in the late 60’s/early ’70s. The last 5 features Elvis made are interesting and each is very different from the other which I truly love —only one failure in the bunch (Stay Away Joe), an honest misfire (Charro), 2 pretty good films (Trouble and COH), and a top 5 film in his filmography (LALLAL) —Really, this was a damn good stretch to end out his Hollywood years in my view.

    For anyone in the North Hollywood area, the NoHo park between Chandler/Magnolia/Tujunga and the 170 freeway is where the football scene was filmed---about a year and a half ago I tracked down the area where it was staged (thanks to photos from the FTD book)--Why? Who in the hell knows....lol
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2021
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  24. Speaking of Elvis and football, he used to play in that small park off of Beverly Glen (a few blocks north of Sunset) called De Neve Square Park. Max Baer confirmed the location for me, this was in the mid-60’ s when guys like Rick Nelson would join in. Imagine driving by and seeing that! I used to drive by this park on my way to Freakbeat and stopped there once or twice. Small little park right in the middle of the neighborhood.
     
  25. Pelvis Ressley

    Pelvis Ressley Down in the Jungle Room

    Location:
    Capac, Michigan
    I don't know the answer to your question, Jason, but I had to laugh at the added instrumentation on this. Sounds like a karaoke track layered over the original.
     
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