As you can imagine, coming up with 52 new ideas every year for blog posts can be quite a challenge. So, I felt a sense of relief when I got the idea back in 2010 to do Elvis Movie 50th Anniversary Pictorials. The first was for G.I. Blues.
I knew I’d have three or four movies a year that would get the same treatment: lobby posters, stills from the film, publicity pictures, backstage photos, and screen grabs of some funny Elvis stuff in the movie. Like this:
Then in 2014, Graceland started their own blog.
I’ve read them all, and I’m kind of a fan. With all the resources and manpower that Graceland has, they do a good job. I didn’t really see the Graceland Blog as a threat to ElvisBlog because I post stuff they would never think of.
Then, a year ago, with the 60th anniversary of Love Me Tender approaching, they did a blog post on it. A week later, Graceland Blog celebrated the 55th anniversary of Blue Hawaii.
I sensed a trend, and since then every 50th, 55th or 60th Elvis movie anniversary has been covered. Including Clambake last month. So I considered giving up on the ElvisBlog series… or finding a way to these pictorials that is completely different from Graceland Blog. I finally figured it out. Here’s how I will feature Elvis movies 50th anniversaries from now on.
Cool Stuff to Look for the Next Time You Watch Clambake
Interesting shot, isn’t it?
This is Will Hutchins who plays Elvis’ buddy in the movie. He provides most of the comic relief, some good, some not so much. Here we are told he is hopping along because his spurs locked. But, he just out of a low sports car. I’m pretty sure you can’t drive one wearing spurs.
This was better. He nearly burned his face with this six-inch lighter flame. But I especially like the look from the guy behind the registration desk. He made several more snide glances when Elvis showed up.
This is a publicity shot, and you will notice that Elvis is wearing the same suit as Will Hutchens in the previous picture. I’m sure you all remember how they switched identities early in the movie. Anyway, this has to be one of the worst wardrobe items Elvis ever had to wear. It is supposed to represent him as a rich guy from Texas. To me, the stitching looks like similar to how Dr. Frankenstein sewed up the monster.
I always look for bit parts by Elvis’ buddies in his movies. Did you recognize Charlie Hodge as the barber?
And this is Red West playing an ice cream vendor at a kids’ park where there’s a lot of cowboys- and-Indians playing going on. Then Red joined in the fun by climbing on the monkey bars and fake shooting back with his finger.
Then he faked taking a hit and fell to the ground. You will see that he did the stunt himself, doing a somersault and landing flat on his back.
During the shoot-em-up scene, a few seconds of this Calvary charge flashed on the screen.
Even weirder was a longer sequence where, for no reason, the camera angle rotated around 180 degrees. The girl on the swing hops off and starts dancing. The upside-down choreography is actually a pretty neat visual. Then it rotated back to normal.
These are the other two main characters in Clambake. Bill Bixby played a rich business man who is a champion speedboat racer. Shelly Fabares is a young cutie trying to snag this prime catch. There is nothing unusual here, but the mood is much different later in the movie.
She also pals around with Elvis, who pretended to be a poor water ski instructor. Shelly pretended to not know how to water ski, but shows off for Bill Bixby to see. It was obvious that a stunt double did all the other tricky moves, but she really did this one. You’ll see the difference.
This is the clambake scene which showed off lots of skimpily-clad girls dancing. And Elvis has a big song and dance production number, but the title song is certainly one of the worst he ever had to sing in a movie.
Two more Elvis buddies get short cameos in the party scene. This is Joe Esposito with a cocktail shaker in his hand. He tosses it to Richard Davis.
This is an unusual shot of Elvis. His character has a degree in engineering, not chemistry, but here he is trying to develop an extra-tough and durable coating for his speedboat’s hull.
See the can? That contains GOOP, the coating Elvis invented. Six girls show up to help, but more dancing occurs that any work.
To thank the girls for their hard work(?), Elvis goes down the line and kisses each one. And they all swoon and fall back against the wall. Tough acting jobs, huh?
Toward the end of the movie, Bill Bixby’s character shows that he is just after sex and starts putting unwelcome moves on Shelly Fabares.
Here he is in full Harvey Weinstein mode, and she’s having trouble holding him off. Guess who knocks on the door and cools things off? Elvis, of course.
He has some flimsy excuse of delivering a water ski, but it works. Never mind that Elvis pulled a similar stunt to get Ann Margret away from the clutches of Cesare Denova in Viva Las Vegas.
After that, Elvis and Shelly share sparks of love. He wins the speedboat race, and they profess their love for each other. As they drive off into the sunset, two really strange things happen.
See the mountains in the background. The movie is set in Florida near Miami. It’s pretty obvious that this scene was filmed in California. He tells her that he really is the rich son of the Texas oilman, and takes out his drivers’ license to prove it.
How do you like that date of birth? I guess they wanted to present Elvis as 27 years old, not 32.
I’ve always ended these movie pictorials with a shot of Elvis kissing his leading ladies.
Watch for this when you next see Clambake. The kiss occurs after he has asked her to marry him and she said yes. But it is the first time they kiss. Has anybody ever proposed to someone he has never kissed? Oh, well. It’s a fun movie.
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