I have seen all of Elvis’ movies over the years, multiple times, but I am watching them again (I have them all on DVD) and blog about them from time to time. I am up to Elvis’ 9th 10th and 11th movies. (All from 1962)
Follow that Dream
This movie was filmed in July, 1961, which was the month and year I was born, just a little bonus fact. 🙂
About: Elvis plays Toby Kwimper, the son of a backwoods man who takes in homeless children, one of them being Holly, a young woman who becomes Elvis’ love interest. The family runs out of gas by a highway that is as yet unopened and they decide to homestead on the property. A government official is determined to get them off the property, and he and a social services woman whose advances are scorned by Toby, wreak havoc for the family, but in the end, honesty and goodness prevail. The movie culminates in a courtroom scene where the social service woman is trying to paint the Kwimers as depraved unfit people and trying to take away the twin boys and the little girl they’re raising. There is a cute little twist that I always loved. The woman cites a word association test she earlier gave to Toby, but she warps his answers to make him appear to be a despicable human being. Toby (Elvis) is representing himself and he makes a whispered suggestion to the judge. The judge announces that the woman should give Elvis’ father a word association test on the spot and analyze his answers. She does, and as the Judge reads the answers aloud, she associates something vile with each one. For example, the word was ‘moon’ and the response was ‘shine’ and she states that it proves he’s an alcoholic. The judge says, “What about Shine on Harvest Moon?” – As it turns out, the judge was reading his own answers, just to prove that she was purposely twisting anything the Kwimpers said. (Okay, that was lengthy, but since I was a child, I just really love that scene :))
Side notes: During filming, Elvis met Tom Petty, who was only 11 years old at the time. Petty’s uncle was involved in the production of the movie. Shortly afterwards, Petty swapped his slingshot for a friend’s collection of Elvis records.
The movie was based on the 1959 novel, Pioneer, Go Home, by Richard P. Powell. At first, the author was unhappy about Elvis in the role, but once he saw his performance, he was pleased.
My favorite song from the movie: I’m Not the Marrying Kind or Angel
There were soooo many. This movie is adorable, funny, sweet, charming, exciting, etc, etc. The Kwimpers are so naïve and good, that they don’t realize when a group of gangsters move in next door that they’re really bad guys. Many of my favorite scenes are just the funny moments from the movie, such as when the gangsters try to blow up the Kwimpers’ house, because Toby has become Sheriff and he imposes laws on them. They leave a homemade bomb beneath the house, and Elvis and Holly find it and, while they don’t know what it is, they think the ‘fellas’ must have left it accidentally, so they return it, leaving it outside their door and of course, it blows up the gangsters’ house. I also love the scene at the end, after the courtroom scene, when Holly has decided to make her move on Toby. She goes outside to where he’s lying on the porch bench, singing Angel. She sits next to him and asks him to show her what that social service woman did to make him kiss her. Elvis tells her, step by step, and it’s very sweet, very romantic. Elvis really had a knack for those romantic scenes and generating chemistry with his female leads. But, my favorite part was when he told Holly that ‘she run her fingers along his forehead’ and Holly said, “Like this,” and stroked his forehead. Elvis said, “Well, not so much like you was ironing a shirt, it was a little softer.” Haha, adorable! Below is a clip of the scene. Enjoy!
I’ll never forget, as a kid, watching this movie and seeing Elvis getting hit, over and over, and his beautiful face covered in blood. It was pretty traumatic.
When I was married, my husband was a huge Charles Bronson fan. I told him that Bronson once played second fiddle to Elvis in a movie. Obviously, he knew what a super star Elvis was, but as far as movies, he couldn’t imagine Bronson having lesser billing in a movie. So, of course, I had to prove it.
About: Elvis plays Walter Gulick, who has just gotten out of the army. He hitches a ride to Cream Valley, where he was born, and winds up at an inn and boxing camp run by Willy, played by Gig Young. Elvis is looking for a job and ends up sparring with one of Willy’s boxers. Elvis is taking a beating, then suddenly knocks the guy out with one punch. Elvis becomes a boxer and romances Willy’s sister, Rose, who comes to the inn to check on Willy because she finds out he’s in trouble. As it turns out, he’s mixed up with the mob. Of course, in the end, Elvis helps save the day and everyone lives Happily Ever After. (Bronson plays a trainer and cut man)
Side notes: The film is a remake of the 1937 movie starring Edward G. Robinson, Bette Davis and Humphrey Bogart. It was directed by Michael Curitz, the same guy who directed King Creole.
Junior welterweight champ Mushy Callahand, who appeared in the movie, trained Elvis to box.
A few of Elvis’ close friends, and part of the ‘Memphis Mafia’ also had small roles in the movie: Red West as an opponent and Sonny West and Joe Esposito had bit parts.
My favorite song from the movie: I Got Lucky or Home is Where the Heart Is
I always love Elvis fight scenes, and this movie had plenty. (Although, since he was so often hit in the face, these scenes aren’t quite as easy to watch) One of my favorites was when he was wearing a white undershirt and the mobsters had just crushed Charles Bronson’s hands, and Elvis came downstairs and beat the hell out of them. I also love the scene where Willy (Gig Young) is telling Elvis to stay away from his sister, and Elvis tells him off. He says he’s marrying Rose, not because she’s Willy’s sister, but in spite of it. I love Elvis’ intensity in movies when he’s passionate about something.
Girls, Girls, Girls
About: Elvis plays Ross Carpenter, a fisherman whose dream is to own his own boat. But, he grew up an orphan and is struggling to raise the money. He meets Laurel, played by Laurel Goodwin, and falls in love, not knowing that she’s wealthy. She ends up buying a boat for him, but it makes him angry because he doesn’t want a hand out.
Side notes: This is the only of Elvis’ feature films that was nominated for a Golden Globe, which I find very strange. It wasn’t in my top favorites.
The movie was Laurel Goodwin’s screen debut.
Favorite song from the movie: Elvis’ big hit, Return to Sender, was featured in this movie, and it’s one of my favorites, along with Because of Love and the title song, Girls, Girls, Girls.
Favorite scenes: I can tell you what isn’t my favorite scene, or at least as far as Laurel. She and Elvis are having dinner and end up doing a dance to a song, The Walls Have Ears. She looks like a dork. J Just to prove it, I’ve shared the clip below. Some of my favorites are when Elvis is singing with two little Chinese girls. It’s adorable. Also, a scene where Elvis and Laurel are standing on the porch in a thunder storm. I love storms, so Elvis in a romantic scene during a storm is right up my alley. 🙂 I also love the scene after Elvis finds out Laurel bought the boat for him. He’s angry because he doesn’t want handouts. He tells her that, as an orphan, the only thing he ever had was handouts, so that he got to wondering if the food he ate was something no one else wanted. Again, love his anger/intensity.
Thank you for joining me. Have you seen any of these movies? What did you think?
Elvis was known for his giving heart and charitable work during his lifetime. Lisa Marie and Elvis Presley Enterprises have continued that tradition with their involvement in various charities. In 1984, The Elvis Charitable Foundation was formed. The EPCF created a scholarship fund for students majoring in the arts. The charity also contributes to one of Elvis’ favorite charities, Goodwill Homes, a Memphis facility that provides counseling and services for abused children and their families. The EPCF also assists numerous other charities, especially focusing on arts, education and children’s programs.
Learn more here, including how to donate:
On Elvis’ birthday this year, I released a Vintage Romance short story set in 1957, and of course, my heroine is an Elvis fan. 🙂 As a tribute to Elvis’ generosity, and in order to assist with this worthy cause, 10% of my proceeds for End of Lonely Street will go to the EPCF.
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?
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