It’s the home stretch! After this post, I have only ONE Elvis movie left to go!
I’ve thus far neglected to really delve into the historical backdrop for these films—however, it is now 1969, and boy have we come a long way. When Elvis’ first film came out, in 1956, he was a mere 21 years old and had just debuted his “Hound Dog/ Don’t Be Cruel” single. Elsewhere in 1956, Norma Jean changed her name to Marilyn Monroe, Eisenhower got his second term, Grace Kelly became a princess, and the Supreme Court declared the Alabama Bus segregation laws illegal.
Now, in 1969, Nixon has become president, Neil Armstrong has taken one small step for man, Woodstock has burst onto the scene, The Beatles recorded Abbey Road, the Manson murders happened, and Don Draper had a zen moment on a California mountaintop.
Though the world has changed, Elvis has largely stayed the same—if you judged America solely by Elvis movies, you’d think we never made it past ’63. These last ones, however, are real wild cards:
Continue reading Jenna Does Elvis #15 – Charro! (1969) / The Trouble With Girls (1969)
While I’d been pretty much enjoying myself over the past several films, there’s been one looming in the distance, like an ominous storm cloud slowly moving towards me: Blue Hawaii. The one Elvis film to rule them all. The movie that set the formula for all Elvis films after it, and supposedly marked the beginning of a steep decline in quality.
But first, Wild in the Country:
Continue reading Jenna Does Elvis #4 – Wild in the Country (1961) / Blue Hawaii (1961)
When we last spoke I’d seen King Creole, a movie I greatly enjoyed. After King Creole, Elvis was shipped off to the army, his mother died, he met his future wife Priscilla, and he picked up an unhealthy addiction to barbiturates. Couple that with John Lennon’s famous “Elvis died when he went into the army” quote, and it seemed I might be in for a precipitous drop in quality.
I was feeling optimistic though, I mean the last two were fun. And while none of the films so far has been life-alteringly great, none of it’s been unwatchable either. Granted, my tolerance for the unwatchable is notoriously high, but still—so far, this journey has quite honestly been slightly better than anticipated.
Continue reading Jenna Does Elvis #3 – G.I. Blues (1960) / Flaming Star (1960)
Okay, we’ve got the fluff out of the way and now we’re getting into two of what are hailed as Elvis’ greatest films.
When last I saw you, I was young and naïve—I had decided to undertake the project of watching every single film from Elvis’ shockingly large acting career. Now, four movies in, I would call this the blooming flower period for both Elvis and my Elvis enjoyment. We’ve got Jailhouse Rock, probably Elvis’ most visually recognizable and iconic film—if you’ve ever seen Elvis in a striped shirt, or dancing on a set that looks like a prison, it’s from Jailhouse Rock. Then we have King Creole, which is an Elvis movie you’ve probably heard of people having seen.
If you’re anything like me, you expect both of these to be the most Elvis-y Elvis movies imaginable—full of hips, guitar licks, and sneering lips. But you hold some reservation too, since the first two were such let downs.
So what’s the verdict? Well, keep reading and find out:
Continue reading Jenna Does Elvis #2 – Jailhouse Rock (1957) / King Creole (1958)