Voting has now narrowed the field to eight choices in Graceland’s promotion to determine the fans’ favorite Elvis movie. It’s a fairly predictable group, containing two serious dramatic films, four comedies, one concert film, and one semi-autobiographical movie. Here is the Elvis Elite Eight.
Loving You, Elvis’ second film, contains elements that parallel his own career. The selection of songs is great, and if you are fans of Scotty Moore, DJ Fontana, and Bill Black, you will enjoy their considerable presence in this film. Loving You had to knock off Follow That Dream and Love Me Tender to make the final eight, probably the toughest challenges any of the finalists had to face.
While King Creole contained many wonderful songs, without question it presented Elvis’ most serious dramatic role. Most fans lament he was not given the chance to really develop his acting talent later in his career, so this movie is very unique and special in their hearts. This could be seen in the voting, where King Creole clobbered Double Trouble 86% to 14% and Kid Galahad 81% to 19%. Two slam dunks.
Elvis’ first movie after he returned from Army service in Germany, G.I. Blues has plenty of songs, not much plot, and a nice love story. It also swamped the competition so far, beating Kissin’ Cousins 83% to 17% and It Happened at the World’s Fair 74% to 26%. The next round is against Viva Las Vegas. Good Luck.
Viva Las Vegas:
There was never any question Viva Las Vegas would make it to the Elite Eight, and we can reasonably expect it to go even higher. It has been the second most dominating winner so far, clobbering both Spinout and Tickle Me by 88% to 12%.
Who doesn’t like Jailhouse Rock? You knew from the beginning that it would go far in the voting. Of course, it didn’t have tough competition so far, beating The Trouble with Girls 87% to 13% and Girls, Girls, Girls 92% to 18%. If Jailhouse Rock survives the next round, it will have the honor of knocking off all three of Elvis’ movies with Girl in the title.
This might be the surprise entry in the final eight, and it survived the closest contest of any winner in the first two rounds. Girl Happy barely nudged past Roustabout 51% to 49%, after having no trouble with Live A Little, Love A Little 70% to 30% in the first round. It was Elvis’ seventeenth film. None of the fourteen films made after Girl Happy in 1965 ranked in the top eight. No surprise there.
Blue Hawaii has been the powerhouse champion of the first two rounds, starting with a 91% to 9% embarrassment over Paradise Hawaiian Style, then drubbing Fun in Acapulco 88% to 12%. From the start, the odds were great that Blue Hawaii would go far. It’s unfortunate that it now has to go against a non-acting movie, because the criteria would seem to very different.
Elvis — That’s The Way It Is:
This is certainly a fine movie, capturing Elvis in top form while rehearsing and performing at the Las Vegas International Hotel in 1970. It had little trouble in overcoming Charro 77% to 23% and Change of Habit 72% to 28%.
A Contrarian Point of View:
I understand why EPE added Elvis — That’s the Way It Is to the ballot. They needed one more film added to Elvis’ thirty-one acting movies to make the brackets work out. However, I would like to consider what movie would replace it if we want a top eight list of just Elvis’ acting movies.
My pick for the top eight would be Follow That Dream. It had the misfortune to be paired against Loving You in the first round, and barely lost 53% to 47%. Follow That Dream is a little weak on good songs, but it’s funny, Elvis’ acting as the family’s lawyer in the courtroom may be his finest acting scene ever, and the sweet love scene at the end with Anne Helm is just perfect. Among Elvis movies, I think Follow That Dream is an underappreciated gem.
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