Did you enjoy Jailhouse Rock on Encore last night as much as I did? It was the fourth in a series called The Elvis Collection that gives us a commercial-free Elvis movie every night in May.
As I said in the last post, the plots are so well know after repeated viewings, that I try to find other things to look for to keep it interesting. So, I was happy to find a new one in Jailhouse Rock. It occurs after Elvis’ character Vince Everett signs a movie contract, and the scene is a celebratory party. There is a large man dancing with surprisingly nimble feet. It was Lamar Fike.
I knew Lamar travelled to Hollywood when he heard Elvis had swallowed a crown and was in the hospital. After it was extracted and Elvis recovered, Lamar stayed on with the rest of Elvis’ buddies already in town.
Elvis liked to get small movie cameos for his buddies, and Lamar is among the background people in several other scenes, in addition to his dancing at the party.
Sunday, May 5 – King Creole:
Okay, I’ve got to watch this one because it is unquestionably Elvis’ finest acting role. It’s not my favorite – a little too dark and violent – but I appreciate what Elvis accomplished.
It’s just too bad that Col. Parker and the producers never again gave Elvis a story of equal weight or a supporting cast of such talent. In addition to Walter Matthau, Dean Jagger, Delores Hart, and Vick Morrow, King Creole featured Carolyn Jones as Ronnie, the damaged-goods, kept woman of Maxie Fields, the hood nightclub owner played by Matthau.
Carolyn Jones plays the most sultry love interest in any Elvis movie, and she is the highlight of King Creole in my opinion. Every scene between her and Elvis bristles with tension and smoldering desire.
If there is a hotter scene than this in any other Elvis movie, I sure missed it.
There is one other female character in King Creole I like to watch. I called her the banana woman until I checked out the credits and her character’s name is Forty Nina. She was the stripper who headlined at the King Creole club before Elvis took over. Check out her outfit on the DVD cover above.
Considering that Forty Nina is only a bit character, she gets equal billing on this publicity photo.
AS I mentioned in the last post, I like to spot Scotty Moore, DJ Fontana, and Bill Black in the early Elvis movies. They are in King Creole, but you could miss them if you don’t look closely. They are part of a seven-man band that backs Elvis at the King Creole club. The other four members are The Jordanaires. In addition to singing, they play (pretend to play) standard Dixieland instruments. That’s the late Gordon Stoker with the clarinet.
In spite of all the intense action in the film, Elvis manages to sing some great songs on the King Creole club stage: “Hard Headed Woman,” “Don’t Ask Me Why,” and the title song. However, my ears always perk up when he does the blues numbers “New Orleans,” and “Trouble,” his only song at Matthau’s Gilded Cage club.
If you would like to learn a whole bunch more about King Creole, I suggest you check out my friend Troy Yeary’s The Mystery train Elvis Blog. Troy has proclaimed King Creole as the Movie of the Quarter, and has already done two posts on March 2 and March 23. And he promises more to come.
Monday, May 6 – Girls, Girls, Girls:
I think I’ll skip this one. I watched Girls, Girls, Girls again back in December while preparing for the 50th Anniversary Movie Pictorial article.
As I said, I consider this one a pretty lame Elvis movie. In addition to a weak story, it has crummy songs, especially the two Elvis sang to the two little girls: “Earth Boy,” and “Dainty Little Moonbeams.” Of course, every critic panning the songs from Elvis’ movies always includes “Song of the Shrimp” as a classic example.
If I was going to watch Girl, Girls, Girls, the one thing I would look for is the dance sequence between Elvis and Laurel Goodwin to the song “The Walls Have Ears.”
This photo doesn’t show what’s interesting about the dance, but the 50th Anniversary pictorial does.
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