While Elvis’s movies are often regarded as silly and pointless, many people, including myself, find them highly enjoyable. Admittedly, they are not classic, Oscar-worthy films, and Elvis himself wasn’t pleased with the roles he played. He wanted to be a serious actor and admired other actors like James Dean and Marlon Brando. The only movie he was really proud of was King Creole, which was a wonderful film where Elvis was allowed to excercise his acting chops, and he did a fantastic job. After he returned from the army, his movies became no more than a vehicle for his singing. However, I thought they were fun and entertaining. I admit, I’m slightly biased, but even many non-Elvis fans enjoyed his movies. Some of my favorites….
Jailhouse Rock – I recently re-watched this and fell in love with it all over again. Another serious role where Elvis put on a great performance. And, there were some awesome songs in this movie, such as Don’t Leave Me Now, Treat Me Nice, Young and Beautiful, and of course, Jailhouse Rock. Sadly, Judy Tyler, who co-starred with Elvis in Jailhouse Rock, was driving home from Los Angeles to Manhattan with her husband, when they were in an auto accident, and she was killed instantly, at twenty-four years old, before the movie was released. Her husband died in the hospital the following day. People close to Elvis said he took her death hard, and was never able to watch the movie.
This is my favorite scene in any Elvis movie, ever. (Ignore the foreign subtitles and enjoy…)
Fast forward to his final movie in 1969, Change of Habit, where he played Dr. John Carpenter and Mary Tyler-Moore co-starred with him. Yep, still sexy…
Another movie I loved was Live a Little, Love a Little, for many reasons, but a big one is that he said my name in the movie…and hearing Elvis say my name was a thrill! 🙂 A few of my other favorites were Tickle Me and Girl Happy. But, I could go on and on, of course. Because, well, I’m a huge Elvis fan, if you haven’t already guessed. Not only was it fun to watch Elvis in the roles, what made his movies even better was that he starred with a lot of well-known actors, such as Charles Bronson, Nancy Sinatra, Ann-Margaret, Richard Egan, Angela Lansbury, and Bill Bixby.
I remember when we were young, my sisters and I going to the movies at the Chieftan in Oklahoma City and watching Elvis on the big screen. Heavenly!
Listening to Elvis radio now, I hear a lot of interviews with his co-stars and all of them have great things to say about him, about what a nice guy he was, how easy he was to work with, how he didn’t act like a star, and the women say he was a great kisser. I can only imagine. 🙂
As I stated previously, I mention Elvis in almost all of the books I write. So, of course I’m going to mention him a lot in a story set in 1957. Below is a snippet from my upcoming short story, End of Lonely Street, releasing with The Wild Rose Press on January 7, 2015.
All Toby Lawson wants is to go to college to become a teacher and to be free of her alcoholic mother and some painful memories. But when her mother nearly burns the house down, Toby must put her dreams on hold and return home to care for her. The only time she isn’t lonely and miserable is when she’s listening to her heartthrob, Elvis Presley. His music takes her away and helps her escape from everything wrong in her life.
Noah Rivers has always loved Toby, but no matter what he says, she can‘t get past the fact that her drunken mother once kissed him. He soon realizes the true problem lies in Toby’s belief she’s not good enough for him and in her fear she will be just like her mother.
What will it take to prove to her that she deserves to be happy, and that he would give anything to be the man to make her dreams come true?
Noah glanced around the diner. Toby followed his gaze. The counter was lined with customers. A jukebox sat in the corner. Patsy Cline’s “Walkin’ After Midnight” now belted from its speakers. “What happened to college? I thought you were getting your teaching degree.”
She shrugged and took the dish cloth from her apron pocket. “That was the plan.” She wouldn’t go into how she’d had to put off her schooling to come home and see after her mother. Surely he’d heard the story about Constance falling asleep with a lit cigarette and almost burning down the house—with her inside it—from the town gossip mill. “I finished my three years at University. Now I have to complete my Post-Graduate Certificate of Education. I had to put that on hold for a while, so in the meantime, I’m doing this.”
“Great. That means I’ll see you often. Maybe we can get together for a movie or something? Jailhouse Rock is showing at the Bijou.”
Elvis and Noah at the same time? Her heart wouldn’t take it.
Before the break-up, she’d gone to the drive-in to see Rebel Without a Cause with him. James Dean had died less than a month earlier, and she cried throughout the entire movie. Noah had held her, comforted her. Let her cry on his shoulder. That was their last movie together. The night remained a sad memory for more than one reason.
Did you like watching Elvis movies when you were younger? Or, even now? What ‘guilty pleasure’ movies have you enjoyed over the years?
12 responses to “Elvis Presley – Ramblings of a Lifelong Fan, Part 2 – The Movies”
I never saw his movies when they came out, but I’ve watched some of them as they became available on TV. As you say, some movies were only vehicles for his singing. Not a bad thing. 🙂
Ha, I can assure you, I didn’t have a problem with them being vehicles for his singing. A lot of big hits came from his movie songs. Some of them are still being released to this day, such as Rubberneckin’ and A Little Less Conversation. Not a bad thing at all! Thank you for stopping by, Diane.
I liked the Elvis movies when I was younger. For me, they were more enjoyable than Mutiny on the Bounty, or Giant.
Yes, they were just feel good, fun movies. Even though his earlier ones were a little more serious and darker.
Like he *needed* a vehicle for his singing… Please. =) Of course I saw all his movies ( I think). In my day and age, I believe it was grounds for being drawn and quartered or stoned in the public square if you didn’t! I truly enjoyed the bright, shiny, glitz of all of Elvis’ movies–particularly the fact that everytime he opened that sexy mouth, one more incredibly sexy song would cause the hair to stand up on my arms…and elsewhere. It was only until later when I learned that the evil Colonel refused to allow Elvis to TRY to be the serious actor that he so longed to be that I became very disqurntled.
Haha, no kidding! It sucks, though, that while he was using movies as a vehicle for his singing, he wasn’t touring and giving live performances. But, all of that changed, in a big way, in 1968. Yes, the colonel was the one who held him back from doing more serious roles. Elvis was up for the part that eventually went to Kris Kristoffersen in A Star is Born, but the colonel insisted on 50% of the profits, so they passed up on Elvis. That would have been a great catalyst for more serious roles. I know Tom Parker did a lot of things right as far as Elvis’s career, but he also had way too much conrol over him, in my opinion, and who knows what Elvis could have done without him.
Also an Elvis fan, I think I liked his movie filmed in Hawaii the best–looking all those hours for the car keys lost in the sand! So sexy and so soulful when he sang.
Yes, I love Blue Hawaii. There was also Paradise Hawaiian Style, but that one wasn’t all that great. And, the key scene was Blue Hawaii. Very soulful and sexy when he sang. I was listening to one of his friends on the radio and he said that you could tell Elvis really ‘felt’ the music when he sang. That was part of his appeal. Thanks for popping in!
I can’t believe I’ve never seen “Change of Habit”! I’ll have to see if Netflix has it. I think this time period (mid- to late ’60s, early ’70s) was Elvis at his best. So young and healthy and sexy as all hell. In a way, it makes me sad to watch! As good as Kristoffersen was in “A Star is Born,” Elvis would have been phenomenal.
Yes, you should check it out. It is also a bit more serious and dramatic than most of his movies. I loved it. And, he was a doctor…sigh… I agree. Sexy as hell. 🙂 But yes, sad, too. I know! I would have loved to see him in that role! Something like that might have made his life go in a whole different direction. Although, he was much too good-looking to play Barbara Streisand’s love interest, LOL.
I love your take on the King. Here’s my humble offering http://holditnow.wordpress.com/2012/11/25/the-king-and-the-pauper/
Thank you. Glad you like it. I will check yours out soon. 🙂