Elvis Presley: The Movies - Appreciation Thread

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

  1. croquetlawns

    croquetlawns Forum Resident

    Very true - I'm not sue if this track is on The Album Collection, or if it is only available on the FTD label.
     
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  2. SgtPepper1983

    SgtPepper1983 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Berlin, Germany
    Yeah, so many of his movies seem so artificial and silly in a dumb way, it's good to be reassured once in a while they were made by adults who knew what they were doing.
     
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  3. I’m hoping to watch the Blu-ray of this tonight and will comment afterwards. But I will say this has to be one of the more depressing soundtracks - Lonely Man, Wild In The Country, In My Way, Forget Me Never - in the Elvis catalog. Not a knock on them at all - they’re sung with such sincerity that they’re quite moving. But you definitely need to be in the right mood to listen to them.
     
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  4. Bink

    Bink Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Blue Hawaii

    Year of release: 1961
    Studio: Paramount
    Director: Norman Taurog

    Plot:
    Elvis plays Chad Gates, an ex GI, who returns home to Hawaii from Europe. His mother wants him to climb the corporate ladder but Chad has other ideas and becomes a tour guide.

    Songs:
    Blue Hawaii (theme song)
    Almost Always True
    Aloha Oe
    No More
    Can't Help Falling In Love
    Rock a Hula Baby
    Moonlight Swim
    Ku-u-i-po
    Ito Eats
    Slicin' Sand
    Hawaiian Sunset
    Beach Boy Blue
    Island of Love
    Hawaiian Wedding Song

    Trailer:

     
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  5. JamieC

    JamieC Forum Resident

    Location:
    Detroit Mi USA
    Truly the prototype. Exotic location and a ton of songs. It sold a ton of records, which was its real purpose.
    I have zero interest in Hawaiian music which leaves three actual songs I enjoy. One a certified classic.
     
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  6. croquetlawns

    croquetlawns Forum Resident

    I really can't remember Blue Hawaii very well - I saw it as a teen when Elvis films were regularly on TV mid afternoon on weekends, so I probably enjoyed it at the time. I do of course know the soundtrack, and I'm not a fan, liking less than half of it. Fortunately, 'Can't Help Falling In Love' is such a good song that hearing it countless times as an Elvis concert closer hasn't killed it for me! I also really like the few tracks from the soundtrack he later recorded straight after the Aloha concert.
     
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  7. RSteven

    RSteven Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brookings, Oregon
    I really want to hear your opinion on this Wild In The Country as I respect your film knowledge tremendously. I have been wanting to revisit this film ever since I saw it last year. It is a bit tense near the end, but as I recall Elvis did several scenes that really surprised me in a good way. All of his scenes with his female co-stars were quite good as I recall.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2021 at 5:18 PM
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  8. Bink

    Bink Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Blue Hawaii was one of Elvis' movies that I really liked as a kid - growing up in the UK I think the tropical Hawaiian views were part of the appeal.

    However when I watch it now it kind of feels like being in a sweet shop - a lot of nice things but not a great deal of substance.

    There really isn't much of a plot. In fact the plot that is there is really just a backdrop for Elvis to sing a bunch of songs. Indeed of all the movies we have looked at so far this one has the most songs.

    Of course one of the other things that Elvis did in 1961 was perform a couple of live concerts, including one in Honolulu. I have always wished that one of these movie studios would have realised that there would have been a market for a concert film. If they had Elvis' whole 60's career could have been different. It could have prompted him to perform more live concerts and cut down the number of movies. Oh well, it is what it is.
     
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  9. RSteven

    RSteven Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brookings, Oregon
    I think the gorgeous scenery and the quality of some of the songs make Blue Hawaii a decent Elvis film to enjoy occasionally. Besides, watching mother hen Angela Lansbury work with Elvis is pretty entertaining. I like that house they filmed those sequences in with his parents. The scenery is one of the main attractions. I also dig seeing Elvis wearing his famous Hamilton Ventura watch throughout the film. Wow, talk about great product placement in a movie, Lol. They finally got to me as I just purchased the brand new Elvis Hamilton Ventura skeleton version of this famous "watch of the future" about three months ago and I love it.

    I am crazy about the fantastic Don Robertson song, No More, which to me personally is one of his finest vocals from this era. His almost operatic take reminds me of how he approached It's Now Or Never and Surrender. I think this soundtrack is stronger than many people give it credit for, despite the fact that there are several weaker songs on the album, but the highlights are truly fantastic. Elvis's original version of Can't Help Falling In Love remains one of his finest ballad vocals ever.

    I suppose the spanking scene with Elvis and his teenage co-star is one of the most talked about scenes from the movie these days, Lol, but there is more to offer in this film than this often googled scene.
     
  10. Manapua

    Manapua Forum Resident

    Location:
    Honolulu
    FYI, that concert Elvis did before filming began on BH was to raise funds for the Arizona Memorial. That and the visibility the film gave to our newly minted state gained him a level of gratitude from the local populace that endures to this day. Blue Hawaii is pretty much the only one of his films that I can truly speak of from memory because I watched it a couple dozen times in my life and at least half a dozen of those were in a theater. It played, off and on, here in the Islands for a couple of years in the early 60s.
    Of course it's fluff and was obviously intended to move Elvis away from his Rock & Roll persona into the mainstream performer he became with each successive picture. I still like about half the songs on the soundtrack and that's after years of local airplay. These days, I watch mainly for the nostalgia of a bygone era in Hawaii and to laugh at the stereotypical portrayal of Islanders. Say what you will about it, this picture put a lot of bodies in seats as well as sold a ton of records. The lush scenery didn't hurt either. And who didn't want to go for a Moonlight Swim watching that, you guessed it, musical interlude in yet another singing in a car scene?
     
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  11. artfromtex

    artfromtex Honky Tonkin' Metal-Head

    Location:
    Fort Worth, TX
     
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  12. artfromtex

    artfromtex Honky Tonkin' Metal-Head

    Location:
    Fort Worth, TX
  13. croquetlawns

    croquetlawns Forum Resident

    That was really interesting! The footage from the 1957 concert is great! So Graceland Crossing is a different museum close to Graceland?
     
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  14. Manapua

    Manapua Forum Resident

    Location:
    Honolulu
    I also remember Joan Blackman (Maile) from A Visit To A Small Planet (1960) where she was Jerry Lewis' gf and the potboiler Macon County Line in the mid-70s. Wow, from Jerry Lewis to Elvis Presley!
     
  15. Panther

    Panther Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tokyo, Japan
    No two ways around it -- this movie blows the big one! Pointless story, weak songs, crimes against rock'n'roll. We've got Elvis mocking a fat Polynesian, Elvis spanking a teenager, Elvis with a mother (Angela Lansbury) who apparently was 10 at his conception.

    Not only is a dumb and vapid film, but it is the single biggest reason nearly all of Elvis's next 20-odd movies are awful.

    Oh, and Elvis looks soft and a bit flabby (also not for the last time...).

    I'm not sure I've made it clear that I do not like this one!
     
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  16. Slipping this in as the conversation is moving to Blue Hawaii…

    I watched Wild In The Country last night. My take is that it’s a decent movie, although it tries to be something it isn’t. Almost like a lesser East of Eden. And I mention that film as I can see James Dean in the role of Glenn (Elvis). I think Elvis continues to build his acting skills and he’s mostly believable. That said, I think the film would have been better had it cast a lead actor who was closer to the age of 20; Elvis at 25 seems just a bit too ‘old’ here.

    I wish that they didn’t reshoot the Hope Lange scene where she originally was successful in her suicide attempt. Yeah, I understand that test audiences didn’t like that dour ending but I think it would have made the movie dramatically better. I’d be very interested to see that original ending but I suspect it’s been lost to the ages.

    The blu-ray of Wild In The Country was initially released in Germany. I have both that and the US release. Doing a quick a/b comparison both discs look virtually identical. But the German version includes a German trailer not on the US disc so there’s that for any completists.

    The audio is stereo, I suspect the original film was mono? Not sure on that, one way or the other - sadly there’s relatively little documentation on the technical aspects of Elvis movies. But the disc does have the 2.35:1 original CinemaScope aspect ratio. The transfer looks mostly good outside of a few anomalies I noticed, which might be inherent to the source material. The film itself looks professional/not cheap (as the movies will soon become), thanks in part to some nice cinematography/framing that makes use of the aspect ratio.
     
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  17. rudybeet

    rudybeet Forum Resident

    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    No More is a great performance. Probably sounds operatic as the song is 150 years old:

    La Paloma - Wikipedia
     
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  18. fr in sc

    fr in sc Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hanahan, SC
    IIRC Elvis never watched Jailhouse Rock because a few months before its release his costar, the terrific Judy Tyler, was killed with her new hubby in a car crash in Wyoming. She'd just finished filming an episode for the second season of Perry Mason and they were on their way to NYC.
     
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  19. fr in sc

    fr in sc Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hanahan, SC
    I love the opening sequence to the movie, and with Michael Curtiz, the man who brought us Casablanca and The Adventures of Robin Hood among so many other classics, you can't go wrong!
     
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  20. RSteven

    RSteven Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brookings, Oregon
    Once again, I think your excellent analysis is spot-on. James Dean had to be Elvis's inspiration for both King Creole and his character in Wild In The Country, and perhaps James would have been the superior pick for the role, but I do appreciate Elvis's serious dramatic acting ability in this film. Two of my very favorite acting performances by Elvis will take place in short succession, this one in Wild In The Country and his future one in Follow That Dream. Even more interesting is the fact that these two character roles that Elvis had to play were a million miles apart from each other in temperament and personality. I think you can make a strong case that Elvis was a pretty decent actor based on these two performances alone.
     
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  21. You bring up some very interesting points I never considered. I never really thought about the influence Elvis had in - via his charitable work and movies (Blue Hawaii, Girls Girls Girls and to a lesser extent Paradise, Hawaiian Style) promoting the newly-joined state to the rest of the country. Could such an intangible thing be measured in tourism dollars I’d be curious to know what it is.
     
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  22. Bink

    Bink Forum Resident Thread Starter

  23. Manapua

    Manapua Forum Resident

    Location:
    Honolulu
    Well, it certainly didn't hurt! :)
     
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  24. I watched Blue Hawaii last night. While I own the DVD it was streaming in high def via Amazon Prime so that’s the version I watched. It looked quite nice, with only some minor specs/dirt here and there. It would certainly make a nice basis for a Blu-ray release.

    I’ve got mixed opinions on this film. It’s decently performed and the script is more than adequate for the subject matter but like others I view the success of this film in particular cementing in the Elvis ‘movie formula’. Too bad, as my recent viewings of both Flaming Star and Wild In The Country show him to be quite a capable actor and capable of more. Would he ever be a Brando? Nope. But - especially considering his formal lack of acting training - his acting ability and charisma were worthy of much better material.

    I was also pleasantly reminded how much footage was shot at Hawaiian Village - I stayed at this hotel in 2011 and even then it really hadn’t changed all that much from 1961 so I was able to easily remember where specific scenes were shot. Talk about product placement - they should have given Elvis a lifelong suite! And yes, I do know that he stayed there on other occasions post-Blue Hawaii.

    There’s also a sequence in the movie where there’s a quick succession of three songs (including Ito Eats and Slicing Sand) which surprised me - it’s a bit jarring to see them so closely together.

    And one thing I forgot to mention on Wild In The Country - at nearly 2 hours I’m guessing it’s the longest Elvis film?
     
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  25. RSteven

    RSteven Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brookings, Oregon
    Once again, you really nail all the salient points here quite brilliantly. The potential that Elvis demonstrated in several of his films is actually quite surprising given the fact that he had no formal acting training.
     
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