ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

4 movies to watch on Elvis' Birthday

Updated on January 2, 2011
Source

January 8th falls on a Saturday this year, making it a perfect time to celebrate the birth of the “King of Rock 'n Roll” by watching some of his films...as well as one that you may not have considered.

Jailhouse Rock

I chose this over Elvis' first film “Love Me Tender” as it's more representational of his career at that point, plus it's a far more entertaining film. In “Love Me Tender” Elvis is only a supporting character (though a prominent one), in “Jailhouse Rock” Elvis gets the chance to really show off his talents.

The plot is somewhat contrived of course, Elvis is serving time for a manslaughter charge when his cellmate, a former country singer (go figure!) gets him into the record business. Of course it's all kinda crooked, so Elvis decides to form his own record company and try to make it on his own. Will he succeed? Are you kidding me?

Elvis himself helped choreograph the famous and much copied “Jailhouse Rock” dance sequence. And the film is full of energy even in the slower, talkie scenes. The black and white cinematography is crisp and gives the film a somewhat timeless look. About the only unfortunate aspect of watching this film is knowing that Elvis' “love interest”, played by the attractive Judy Tyler died only days after completing her scenes.

Blue Hawaii

Arguably not quite as good as Elvis' first effort after leaving the Army “G.I. Blues”, “Blue Hawaii” is a more visually compelling film for it's stunning location photography in Hawaii and better song selections, including one of his most popular songs ever, “I Can't Help Falling In Love With You”.

Here, Elvis has just gotten out of the Army (what, again?) and is tempted by Dad to work at a prominent fruit company, but instead chooses to become a tour guide at his girlfriend's travel agency. To say this plot is kind of sleight would be akin to saying Yul Brynner is kind of bald. Angela Lansbury plays Elvis' mother, though it's far less menacing version than her performance in “The Manchurian Candidate”.

Lots of surfin', singin', and carryin' on at times in no particular direction. “Blue Hawaii” was never a threat to win the Best Picture Oscar, but is pretty entertaining for Elvis fans.

Perhaps the most interesting fact to come out of this movie is that the soundtrack was Elvis' most successful album spending 20 weeks at #1. A record that stood for over 15 years.

Spinout

This is not the best nor the worst of his films, but it is the most typical of his movies in the 1960's. Elvis stars as a race car driver by day and rock 'n roll star at night. Cavorting about with his combination band members and pit crew, Elvis is being chased by three women (go figure). A cool blonde journalist who finds Elvis to be the perfect male, a millionaire's daughter who's father owns a new race car he wants Elvis to drive, and the drummer of the band who just finds Elvis dreamy.

The songs are above the average fare for Elvis films of that period like the gentle ballad “All That I Am”, the nifty rocker “Stop, Look, Listen” and the swaggering “I'll Be Back”.

While the film is supposedly a comedy, there are some unintentionally funny scenes like the one at club where Elvis rocks the house with “Stop, Look, Listen” that has everyone dancing, including a guy talking on the phone.

Lighting a dry pile of wood with one match dropped from above (try that on your next camping trip). Elvis talking an elderly rich couple into taking a second honeymoon and leaving their mansion in his care (a rock star no less, what could happen?), and the final big race scene.

It doesn't help that Elvis himself is rather uninterested and goes through the motions rather than trying to act. His eyes seem somewhat hazy as well which fits the rumors of his drug use at that time. The lowest moment occurs early in the film when a dog unexpectedly shows up, only for Elvis to comment that it's a “Hound Dog”...ugh.

Yet the film is still an entertaining enough effort to make it worth viewing. Spinout was also typical of the popular “drive-in” movies at that time, making for a good choice if your movie theme that evening is to re-create a “drive-in” feel.

Top Secret

An “Elvis” movie without Elvis at all...in a sense. This is an odd combination of World War 2 espionage, Elvis musical, and humor straight from the minds who created “Airplane”. Val Kilmer makes his film debut as Nick Rivers, the famous American rock singer with hits like “Skeet Surfin'” and his duet with Tammy Wynette “Your Skeetin' Heart”. Nick has traveled to East Germany (yes kids, Germany was divided into two countries at that time) to participate in a concert/festival but falls into a resistance group determined to fight the controlling Nazi government.

Kilmer is a delight and the film contains several great comedic bits like Nick's escape attempt from prison, his concert in front of screaming teens (a parody of The Beatles “Hard Day's Night”), a scene with a large pigeon statue in a park, and most impressively a scene at a bookstore done in a faux-Swedish language that was shot in peculiar way that only reveals itself at the end.

Despite all the delights, “Top Secret” is an uneven film that suffers from too many ideas that don't blend very well together. Fortunately the short running time helps considerably and the substantial “Elvis” theme makes it a really good choice to view while celebrating the birthday of the King of Rock 'n Roll.

 There you have it, four Elvis films...well, three Elvis films and one close approximation. I hope you enjoyed this brief review and look forward to seeing your comments.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)