Monthly Archives: May 2013

Random Thoughts on Encore’s Elvis Collection — Part 5

For the second week in a row my new laptop spent four days in Data Transfer Hell at Geek Squad.  It’s back home now and almost everything is working.  So, let’s continue with the random thoughts on Encore’s Elvis Collection.

Movies Presented in the Past Week That I Liked:

Follow That Dream Lobby Poster

Follow That Dream — I will always be thankful to my buddy Alan Hanson over at the Elvis-History Blog for pointing out the subtle nuances of this film.  The more I watch it, the more I like it – especially the courtroom scene where Elvis utterly charms the judge and outsmarts the spiteful child protection lady.  And I just love the end where Anne Helm transforms into a woman and nuzzles Elvis into realizing his feelings for her.

In many of his movies, Elvis plays characters with various flaws.  Here he is initially presented as a country bumpkin, but he comes out on top in every situation.  I found his character thoroughly likeable.  On a similar note, I usually dislike the cutesy child actors in Elvis’ movies, but Eddie and Teddy in this were kind-of cool.

 

Easy Come Lobby Poster

Easy Come, Easy Go — My reasons for liking this probably wouldn’t sway the folks who slam Elvis’ later movies when he was pretty much just going through the motions.  For one thing, I hadn’t viewed it a bunch of times, so it seemed kind-of fresh.  The second reason I liked it was that Pat Priest spent half her screen time in bikinis.  She was hot as Marilyn Munster, but she is something else in this movie.  And finally, there was a song I really enjoyed: “You Gotta Stop.”  After some of the dogs Elvis had to sing in his 1967-68 movies, it was a pleasant surprise to find a good one.

The Movies I’m Tired of Watching:

Clambake Lobby Poster

Clambake – I’ve watched this one a lot, mainly because I like Shelly Fabares so much.  However, she is much better in Girl Happy, where her character was more likeable than the spoiled rich girl she played in Clambake.  So, I amused myself watching for Elvis’ Memphis Mafia buddies in bit parts.  Did you notice Charlie Hodge giving Elvis’ character’s dad a shave early in the movie?  You could hardly miss Red West as the ice cream vendor.  You had to look pretty close to spot Jerry Schilling and Richard Davis at the clambake-themed pool party.

Hey, this movie takes place in Florida.  Where'd the mountains come from?

Hey, this movie takes place in Florida. Where’d the mountains come from?

My favorite scene in the movie is when Elvis moves down the line kissing all the pretty women who helped put the hardening goop on the racing boat’s repaired body.

 

It Happened  at the Worlds Fair Poster

It Happened at the World’s Fair – As I said a month ago in the 50th Anniversary Movie Pictorial, “By this time, Col. Parker and the producers had given up any pretense of putting Elvis into quality movies, and this one was a real stinkeroo, in my opinion.  The plot was very thin, there was way too much of five-year-old Sue-Lin, and the songs were weak (especially the four Elvis sang to Sue-Lin).

 

Harum Scarum Lobby Poster

Harum Scarum – This is one I wish I could like more, because I am a big Mary Ann Mobley fan.  At least she got better treatment from Elvis compared to all the double dealing he subjected her to in Girl Happy.

 Harum Scarum - Elvis and Mary Ann Mobley

Unfortunately Harum Scarum doesn’t get better with repeated viewings.  Mighty weak plot.  I did notice something watching it again – by the time the movie was fourteen minutes old, Elvis had already sung four songs.  And they were all very forgettable.  The scene with the little girl doing a belly dance for Elvis totally freaks me out.

 

Repeat Showing — Already Discussed:

This Is Elvis

King Creole

 

Coming Up:

Sunday, May 26 – Girl Happy:

 Girl Happy Lobby Poster

My third chance to see Shelly Fabares, and this is the best one.  I love watching her sing “I’m Evil.”

I'm Evil

I also get a kick out of Elvis escaping from jail in drag.

 

Monday, May 27 — Change of Habit

Tuesday, May 28 — G.I. Blues

Wednesday, May 29 — Jailhouse Rock

Thursday, May 30 – Roustabout

Friday, May 31 — Kid Galahad

©  2013    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

 

Random Thoughts on Encore’s Elvis Collection — Part 4

When I decided to comment on every Elvis movie offered by the Encore channel in May, I never figured my old laptop would die one week into the series.  And I didn’t know I would go into Data Transfer Hell with my new laptop.  Everything is finally up and running now, so let’s talk about some Elvis movies.

 

Movies Presented in the Past Week That I Liked:

Live A Little 3

 

There were four:  Live A Little, Love A Little, Viva Las Vegas, Blue Hawaii, and Kissin’ Cousins.  All four are like must-see choices for me every time they show up on cable.

Viva Las Vegas — Ann-Margret can tune my race car any time.

Blue Hawaii — My favorite scene is when Elvis sings “Slicin’ Sand” while putting out a luau campfire.  Those teenage girls are so energetic and really get into kicking sand around.

Live A Little, Love A Little — Of course, I know that Live A Little is a dumb movie, but long ago I decided it is so bad it’s cool.  Michele Carey is a delight to watch, and the strange interaction between her and Elvis works for me.  I also get a kick out of the surreal dream sequence where Elvis sings “Edge of Reality.”  The talking dog in it is totally bizarre.

 

Poster

Kissin’ Cousins — This is a silly little movie, but it has its own charm.  Yvonne Craig is one of my favorite Elvis co-stars.  Here’s a trivia question for you.  What actress was number eight in the credits but ended up with Elvis at the end of the movie?  Check it out on your DVD case.  And how about all “them darn Kitty Hawks” who live in a valley where no men have been born for twenty years.  It takes a unique movie to have a clan of men-starved lovelies stage raids on mountain guys and Army soldiers.  Finally, I always make sure my dog is in the room when Maw Tatum sings about missing beloved Pappy.  Every time she sings the word Pappy, the family bloodhound moans loudly.  It freaks my dog out.

 

The Ones I Didn’t Like:

Fun In Acapulco – Neither of the two leading ladies, Ursula Andress and Elsa Cardenas, do much for me.

Spinout – I like Shelly Fabares a lot, but she wasn’t enough to save this movie.  It’s hard to believe that an Elvis movie could end without him getting the girl.  He didn’t fall in love with any of three choices.

 

The Ones That Are So-So:

English Poster

Paradise, Hawaiian Style – I haven’t watched this one very often over the years, and I had to miss it this time.  I don’t have any feelings of regret about that because I just don’t remember that much about the movie.  One thing I do remember is Elvis singing a song while piloting a helicopter full of dogs.

This Is Elvis — Unfortunately, this bio seems weaker with repetitive viewing.  You start to pick out little factual errors and images that are out of sync with the storyline.  Several better Elvis biographical movies have come out since this one.

 

Coming Up:

Saturday, May 18 —  G.I. Blues:

Definitely going to watch this one.  I especially like the funny faces Elvis makes in the scenes with the little babies.

 

Promo Photo - Copy

Sunday, May 19 — Clambake:

I’ll be watching this one, too.  More Shelly Fabares.  Yum, yum.

 

©  2013    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

 

Random Thoughts on Encore’s Elvis Movies — Part 3

Tuesday, May 7 – Speedway:

When I sat down to write my random thoughts on this movie, my mind went blank.  I couldn’t remember any long-established opinions about Speedway.  I knew Nancy Sinatra was in it and looked good in her miniskirt and high white boots, but that was about it.

 Nancy Sinatra in Speedway

 

So, I read the plot summary in The Elvis Film Encyclopedia by Eric Brawn, and I realized Speedway had to be the Elvis movie I was least familiar with.  In reflection, I guess I saw it once maybe twenty years ago.  Needless to say, I’m excited to watch it now.  The book said Richard Petty and Cale Yarborough make cameo appearances, so I will be on the lookout for them.

 

Wednesday, May 8 – Stay Away Joe:

Stay Away DVD Cover

I’ve got lots of opinions about this one, but they are mixed.  I’m really turned off by the depiction of young native-American men was rowdy, heavy-drinking, skirt-chasing louts.  There are people today trying to get the Washington Redskins’ name changed because it is offensive and demeaning to native-Americans.  I guess these same people have never seen Stay Away Joe, or they would really be making a big stink.

On the other hand, Stay Away Joe is basically a good-hearted farce.  It has fight scenes like all Elvis movies, but they are comical as opposed to the savagery in King Creole.  Elvis looks particularly fit and handsome with his rugged color and western wardrobe.

Elvis in Stay Away  Joe

I’m always tickled with the scene Elvis has with young hottie Quentin Dean and the one with her protective mother Joan Blondell.  Unfortunately, it is sad to see a quality actor like Burgess Meredith in such a stupid role.

Elvis wakes up amoung beer cans after wild party

Elvis wakes up amoung beer cans after wild party

Anyway, I’m going to overlook the bad stuff and enjoy this silly movie.

 

Thursday, May 9 — Fun In Acapulco:

Fun in Acapulco DVD Cover

This is on okay movie, and I haven’t seen it in a while, so I’ll watch it.  But of all Elvis’ leading ladies, Ursula Andress gave the most boring performance.  I just can’t get a good vibe watching her sleepwalk through her lines.

Elvis and Ursula Andress

 

One character I did like was the young shoe-shine boy who becomes Elvis’ de facto talent manager.  He pulls off all kind of schemes and reminds me of a mini Col. Parker.

I never found the scene of Elvis climbing the rock wall up to the diving cliff very believable.  Here’s a photo showing how they filmed it.

 Fake Cliff

So, it looks like my plans for the next three nights are set.  These three Elvis movies will set the stage for party time Friday night when they show the film I anticipate the most in this series: Live A Little, Love A Little.  More on that next post.

 

©  2013    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

 

Random Thoughts on Encore’s Elvis Movies — Part 2

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.

Lamar Fike Dancing in Jailhouse Rock

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.

Lamar and Elvis at RCA studios in LA

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:

DVD Cover

 

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.

Danny and Ronnie

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.

Carolyn Jones  - King Creole

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.

Publlicity Still

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.

 

Elvis and Jordanaires singing New Orleans

Notice Scotty Moore is playing a banjo, not a guitar in this shot

 

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:

DVD Cover

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.”

Dancing to The Walls Have Ears

This photo doesn’t show what’s interesting about the dance, but the 50th Anniversary pictorial does.

 

©  2013    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net

 

Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

 

Random Thoughts on Encore’s The Elvis Collection

Elvis fans ought to be happy this month.  Cable channel Encore is showing an Elvis movie, commercial free, at 8 PM every night in May.  Encore labels it The Elvis Collection, and their promo pitch is Whole Lotta Elvis.  Six of the movies are shown twice, so that means they are presenting twenty-five Elvis films.  This is so cool.

Logo - The Elvis Collection

 

The first three Elvis movies have already been shown (two will be repeated later), but that leaves plenty to discuss on ElvisBlog.  We’ll do it one week at a time, starting with Saturday May 4.  However, there will be no serious reviews.  For that, I suggest you check out my friend Alan Hanson’s wonderful reviews of all Elvis movies on his Elvis-History Blog.  As the title of this article says, whatever random thoughts pop into my mind for each movie will be shared here.  Most Elvis movies have been covered or mentioned in previous ElvisBlog articles, so there will be links back to them, as well.

 

Here is the entire schedule:

5/1 – Girls, Girls, Girls  (repeated on 5/6)

5/2 – Frankie and Johnny

5/3 – Blue Hawaii   (repeated on 5/13)

5/4 – Jailhouse Rock  (repeated on 5/29)

5/5 – King Creole 5/6 – Girls, Girls, Girls

5/7 – Speedway

5/8 – Stay Away Joe

5/9 — Fun In Acapulco

5/10 – Live A Little, Love A Little

5/11 – Viva Las Vegas  (repeated on 5/25)

5/12 – Spinout

5/13 — Blue Hawaii

5/14 — This Is Elvis   (repeated on 5/22)

5/15 — Paradise, Hawaiian Style

5/16 — Viva Las Vegas

5/17 — Kissin’ Cousins

5/18 — G.I. Blues   (repeated on 5/28)

5/19 – Clambake

5/20 — t Happened At The World’s Fair

5/21 — Follow That Dream

5/22 — This Is Elvis

5/23 — Easy Come, Easy Go

5/24 — Harum Scarum

5/25 — Viva Las Vegas

5/26 — Girl Happy

5/27 — Change Of Habit

5/28 — G.I. Blues

5/29 — Jailhouse Rock

5/30 – Roustabout

5/31 — Kid Galahad

 

Let’s do some random thoughts on the next week’s movies.

 

Saturday, May 4 (repeated May 29) – Jailhouse Rock:

Jailhouse Rock DVD

 

Well, I guess I’ve seen it eight or nine times already, but I’ll do it again for sure.  I like the good job Elvis does with a real dramatic part.  And I consider the Jailhouse Rock soundtrack is the best Elvis ever did, without any close second.  It has two huge hits:  “Jailhouse Rock” and “Treat Me Nice.”  It contains my second favorite Elvis song of all time: “(You’re So Square) Baby, I Don’t Care.”   And, because I am partial to the blues songs Elvis recorded, I love the two in this movie: “I Want To Be Free,” and “Don’t Leave Me Now.”

Both songs were written by Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller, as were the other four songs in the movie.  It is incredulous that they composed this entire terrific soundtrack in four hours one afternoon.

Dance Sequence

I never get tired of watching the “Jailhouse Rock” dance scene, widely considered the predecessor of the modern music video.  Elvis could really dance.

I also think Jailhouse Rock is where you will hear the best Elvis line in any movie.  After co-star Judy Tyler rejects his advances, Elvis says to her, “That ain’t tactics, honey.  It’s just the beast in me.”

It's Just The Beast In Me

 

Tyler is hotter is some of the off camera photos than she is in the movie.

Elvis and Judy Tyler

But, the actress I like watching is Jennifer Holden.  I love the scene where she really gets into kissing Elvis during the filming of a movie.  It has to be indicative of what went on with a lot of Elvis’ co-stars.  Oh, yes, when the camera switches to a shot of the hangers-on watching the kissing scene, you can see Elvis’ buddy George Klein in the crowd.

Jennifer Holden Near Kiss

 

However, the biggest reason I never miss Jailhouse Rock is because there is so much screen time for Scotty Moore, DJ Fontana, and Bill Black.  Ever since I had breakfast with Scotty and DJ at Elvis Week 2007 I have been a big fan.

 Jailhouse Rock Recording Studio Scene

 

There is an interesting ElvisBlog article about a continuity blooper with Scotty’s sunglasses at the poolside party performance of “Baby, I Don’t Care.”

There is another interesting continuity blooper in Jailhouse Rock that you have to concentrate on or you will miss it.  Drink glasses that Elvis knocks over during a moment of anger in the Club La Florita suddenly reappear as he storms out of the club.

Storming Off

 

So, now you know all the things I will be checking out while watching Jailhouse Rock:  Elvis handling a true dramatic role, the songs, the dance scene, the classic line, the kissing scene, Scotty, DJ and Bill, and two bloopers.  After all, if you’ve seen the movie eight times already, you really know the plot.  So, it’s nice to have other things to look for.

 

It turns out I had more random thoughts on Jailhouse Rock than I realized.  So, this article won’t cover all the Elvis movies on Encore the next week.  Instead, I’ll do more articles covering two or three movies before their show time.

 

©  2013    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.