Friday, January 8, 2010

Elvis On Screen: A Dozen Favorites

Roger Ebert wrote in 1968 that “Speedway is the late show of 20 years from now". While Ebert meant it in a derogatory way, he did at least hit on one key thing about the films of Elvis Presley, and that is that they have indeed survived. More than survived, they have prospered and despite the suspect quality of some of them, for millions of people all over the world they continue to resonate far more than most ‘great’ movies you care to name.
Kurt Russell, who worked with Elvis in It Happened at the World’s Fair and later played him, told Turner Classic Movies a few years back that the reason he loved Elvis movies is because they had Elvis in them. Sometimes the most obvious statements are the most profound ones, and indeed the reason most Elvis movies continue to be watched over and over again are because Elvis is in them. I would argue though that there are some really good movies, among the 32 that he made, that even films buffs who aren’t into Elvis could enjoy.
So, to celebrate what would have been Elvis Presley’s 75th birthday, here is a list of my favorite Elvis movies (excluding documentaries). I seem to remember Roger Ebert also said that Elvis Presley never made a good film. I would offer up any of these thoroughly enjoyable works as a strong counter to that.

1. King Creole (1958)

2. Wild in the Country (1961)

3. Viva Las Vegas (1964)

4. Jailhouse Rock (1957)

5. Live a Little Love a Little (1968)

6. Change of Habit (1969)

7. Girl Happy (1965)

8. Loving You (1957)

9. Follow that Dream (1962)

10. Blue Hawaii (1961)

11. Flaming Star (1960)

12. Charro (1969)

1 comment:

Aaron Lee said...

Fun list! I was up at about 4:30 a.m. last night with HARUM SCARUM on TCM (definitely NOT one of the best, but still entertaining). I had an old VHS of CHANGE OF HABIT and must have watched it 100 times. How about that "Stop, Look and Listen" throw-down? Or the line where Elvis warns Mary Tyler Moore's character that the other nuns who came through his neighborhood were raped - "one of them against her will?!" Unbelievable. But no question - nothing tops the opening of KING CREOLE. "Crawfish" has to be one of the sexiest, most powerful and all-too-brief musical numbers in movie history. As always, your stuff is tops... keep it up...