In my opinion, this photo represents the only thing in Harum Scarum to justify watching it. Certainly it is not the plot, acting, songs, or the action scenes. No, it is the constant parade of scantily-clad lovelies. They come in many varieties – a princess, a damsel in distress, a villain, these slave girls (they dress nice for slaves, don’t they?), and three belly dancers.
Harum Scarum was Elvis’ nineteenth movie, and it premiered on November 24, 1965.
There are some silly Elvis movies that I enjoy watching, Tickle Me, Kissin’ Cousins, Live A Little to name a few. But Harum Scarum really isn’t that much fun and strains all creditability. For example, Elvis has been drugged and whisked off by the bad guys and where does he wake up? Not in a prison cell, but surrounded by the beauties above. Even worse, he sings a whole song to them before he realizes he’s not dreaming and says, “Hey, you’re real.”
Here’s the device they used to start the film – a movie within a movie. That’s Elvis fighting a bad guy in Arabian Nights type movie being shown to all the important people of the kingdom of Babelstan. After Elvis beats off the villains, he has to battle a leopard. No problem. He gives it just one karate chop and kills it.
Sorry for the blurry shot, but that leopard was moving fast.
Anyway, there were some real villains in that audience viewing the movie, and they somehow get the idea that the American actor has amazingly talented killing hands for real. And because they believe he can get access to the king, they decide to blackmail him to “eliminate a person of great Importance.”
Let’s go back to that damsel in distress in the photo above for a moment.
Once he rescues her, she plants a kiss on him. In my opinion, this is the best on-screen kiss Elvis ever did. Long, sensuous lip-lock. Ladies, check it out. It happens early, so you don’t have to watch a lot of the movie to see it.
One way I amuse myself when watching Elvis’ bad movies is looking for cameo appearances by his Memphis Mafia buddies. Can you spot Sonny West in the back row?
Here’s Red West playing one of the bad guys known as the Assassins. He’s in a number of scenes.
This guy is a conniving marketplace thief who ends up helping Elvis beat the Assassins. However, the more scenes he was in, the more I wished he’d go away. I only added this screen grab because he looks obsessed with the banana and Elvis seems amused. Feel free to add your own caption to the picture.
Another cinematic highlight staring Elvis and this guy.
Elvis does a bunch of Karate chops throughout the movie, but never kills anybody. He says his hits will put them out of commission for about an hour. Guess he does have pretty talented hands after all.
This is lovely villian Aishah played by Fran Jeffries. Elvis didn’t waste any time putting a move on her after she came out of the tent.
But she tricked him and knocked him out with drugged wine. At least he got in a kiss before he keeled over (She was the second of four women Elvis kissed in the film. Might be a record number).
Here’s Elvis singing a song in prison. Of course, there was background music from that talented invisible band that shows up in so many Elvis movies. I’ve got to compile a list of all the movies where Elvis ended up in jail. Let’s see: Jailhouse Rock, Girl Happy, Blue Hawaii, and probably some others I can’t think of.
These are the three belly dancers mentioned above. They were actually in a number of non-dancing scenes, a nice distraction when the plot got lame.
This little girl also did a belly dance for Elvis. I wish they had cut the scene. It was totally inappropriate and cringe worthy.
I like this shot of Elvis. He is leading a motley crew of folks taking on the Assassins, and he giving directions on what everybody should do.
We will finish this pictorial with shots of Elvis’ love interest, Princess Shalimar, played by Mary Ann Mobley. This is when she first laid eyes on Elvis. As you can see, she was most impressed. They talked for one minute and thirty-seven seconds of screen time, and then rode horses to the Pool of Omar without speaking. Then he spent two minutes singing to her followed by a kiss and a few more seconds of dialog. That’s all it took – they were both in love.
Earlier in the movie, Elvis sang to five women while thinking he was asleep, but here we have the Princess gazing into a pool and not only seeing Elvis but hearing him sing. Mystical stuff for sure.
Mary Ann Mobley is so sweet and composed during the whole movie, except for this scene. Here she is angry with Elvis because she thinks he is out to harm her father the king. I like her in both movies she made with Elvis, but I much prefer the aggressive hottie she played in Girl Happy, even though she lost Elvis to Shelly Fabares.
But in Harum Scarum, she gets her man, and then the movie ends with this.
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