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Elvis at the Movies

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Mark Kermode | 17:13 UK time, Tuesday, 3 April 2012

I've been in Memphis with my band The Dodge Brothers recording an album at Sun Studio where Elvis Presley recorded his first hits. He also made 33 films during his career but are any of them any good?

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Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    No. Simples.

  • Comment number 2.

    Clambake (1967) is worth a watch

  • Comment number 3.

    Colonel Tom Parker did to Elvis movie career what George Lucus would later do to Star Wars - ruin it !!

    At least Elvis had a great music career after his movies finished, all Yoda gets to do is be some other adverts meerkat.

  • Comment number 4.

    Both my Wife and I are huge Elvis fans, but we really struggle with any of his movies. The only exception being Jailhouse Rock in which he does seem to be trying. Of course their is an exception in this scene the famous 'throat punch' to knock down our egomaniacal hero. The acting on display makes Orblando look talented.

  • Comment number 5.

    i like speedway, yes its a bit poppy and simple but bill bixby is quite funny, and nancy sinatra is as sexy as ever and for a sunday afternoon movie there is a lot worse you could watch

  • Comment number 6.

    I've always liked King Creole, Mark. I thought Elvis's performance in that movie was particularly edgy, and you know it's a treat to see him opposite Walter Matthau.

  • Comment number 7.

    I never liked Elvis' music, but saw Flaming Star once and was pleasantly surprised to see that he could really act.

  • Comment number 8.

    Elvis movies remind me of my childhood, watching my mother swoon over them and look forward to them. "GI Blues" is one that was a particular favourite.

  • Comment number 9.

    I haven't seen them all, but Jailhouse Rock is by far the best. In True Romance, Clarence had great things to say about Elvis in the movie:
    "In Jailhouse Rock he was everything rockabilly's about. I mean, he is rockabilly. Mean, surly, nasty, rude. In that movie he couldn't give a **** about nothing except rockin' and rollin', living fast, dying young and leaving a good-looking corpse."

  • Comment number 10.

    I've not seen many Elvis films, but have sat and watched a few on tv maybe not the full thing but usually enough. For me although i haven't seen much of the film the 'Walls Have Ear's' scene from 'Girls! Girls! Girls!' always makes me grin from ear to ear.

  • Comment number 11.

    Also, Elvis Presley was brilliant in Don Coscarelli's Bubba Ho-Tep, easily his most watchable film!

  • Comment number 12.

    Charro! had potential.

    The content allegedly got diluted as the production progressed due to the studio being sensitive about Elvis's public image.

    Yet I believe he took the role as means to escape from just that.

  • Comment number 13.

    I am going to be very controversial but along with Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Abba, The Carpenters, Celine Dion, Barbara Striesand and Mariah Carey, I find Elvis Pressley to be one of the most OVERRATED singers who ever drew breath.

    His singing was terrible and like Mariah Carey, he didn't hit the note cleanly but 'wobbled' around it (in much the same way as he did in later life due to a diet of too many burgers).

    Since I've never liked his singing, I'd rather dive head first into a barrel of putrifying kippers than watch any of his movies!

  • Comment number 14.

    King Creole ruled, Jail House Rocked and Viva Las Vegas... err. viva-ed, but John Waters' "Cry Baby" is the best movie Elvis never made...

  • Comment number 15.

    I for one completely hated Elvis in the first 10 minutes Forrest Gump. I mean come on, he manipulated a crippled, young boy, who's family had kindly taken him in, and then proceded to steal ALL of his dance moves in order to claim fame! What a fraud!

  • Comment number 16.

    having not seen any of his film since the 70's when they seem to be on all time during school holidays Flaming Star is the one that always stood out for me , even thou he only sings the title song

  • Comment number 17.

    My girlfriend and I are both huge Elvis fans, and most of his movies can't help to bring a smile to my face.

    So long as expectations aren't high I believe there's something to be taken from most of them, even if it's just seeing Elvis looking dapper in some new threads.

    I've got a lot of love for Viva Las Vegas, which I think has the best songs and a fiery, feisty performance from Ann Margret.

    I suppose my guilty pleasure is Roustabout, or Kid Galahad for such classic lines as "I'm a grease monkey that won't slide so easily". How can that not raise a smile.

    For me, the nadir of Elvis' film career is Charro; It's all too clear that The King is unhappy with the turn his career had taken. My girlfriend made a music video for a song I wrote using clips from Charro and told me that she hoped that "something good could finally come from that film".

    For those so inclined, the music video can be found by searching "Ichabod Thick as Thieves Charro" on Google.

  • Comment number 18.

    "Jailhouse Rock" and "Viva Las Vegas" are the best, I think. But I also like "Loving You." It was Elvis' second movie and is more or less a fictionalized retelling of his real-life discovery and rise to fame. So you could say it's probably the closest Elvis ever came to playing... Elvis Presley.

  • Comment number 19.

    I remember really enjoying Flaming Arrow althought i havn't seen it in years.

  • Comment number 20.

    Honeymoon in Vegas springs to mind...

  • Comment number 21.

    I'm no Elvis fan by any means,but I would have to say ' Blue Hawaii ' If you don't like the music you can enjoy the scenery.

  • Comment number 22.

    "Jailhouse Rock" and "King Creole" are pretty damn good films, the rest have some good songs but ultimately pretty awful.

  • Comment number 23.

    Another vote here for Bubba Ho-Tep - it's easily his best film and a fantastic piece of acting. Of course, it helped that he was playing himself in it...

  • Comment number 24.

    Big Elvis fan and possibly judgement is coloured but I can find a place for all of the films, for acting ability and scriptwriting there're Jailhouse Rock, King Creole, Wild in the Country and others then there're easy watching feelgood films like Double Trouble and Tickle Me, and ones that cross the boundaries like Viva Las vegas and Roustabout.
    In general a good ensemble cast leads to a good film but the one or two that fall flatter (Harem Scarum, Trouble with Girls, Kissing Cousins) rely too much on Elvis's performance with nothing for him to work against.
    That said, there's something in every film and they'll continue to take up space on my Video/DVD shelves and hard drive.

  • Comment number 25.

    Dr. K.

    I haven't seen that many Elvis movies I'll admit but one of the ones I have seen in particular has stood out for me and that was 'It Happened at the World's Fair' and for one reason and one reason only.

    Kurt Russell.

    Imagine my surprise when the actor who would famously play the King in John Carpenter's 1979 biopic would turn up on screen in as an Elvis movie as 'The Boy who kicked Mike (Elvis's character in the movie)'. Considering it was Russell who played the boy made the moment much something of a bittersweet thing for me. To know that the boy who kicks Elvis would later grow up to play the man himself made that moment ever more warming to heart.

    Out of all the famous scenes in film history and out of the great scenes I have witnessed in my film loving life, I can safely say that Kurt Russell kicking Elvis in 'It Happened at the World's fair' is one of my favorites.

  • Comment number 26.

    Bubba Ho-Tep ...
    Elvis and JFK (just about) strolling (just about) off to confront Evil fair old brings a tear to my eye.

  • Comment number 27.

    'Jailhouse Rock' is watchable and I don't consider myself an Elvis fan at all. The problem with all the Elvis films I've seen, is that the films are just a framework for Elvis the singer, rather than as an actor.

    Sinatra at least, didn't always play himself, the superb 'The Man with the Golden Arm' for example, demonstrates this. The fault lies with the fake Colonel, who knew how to make money from these films and that's why they are safe, bland and pedestrian films.

  • Comment number 28.

    The one thing that sticks in my mind about Evis's movies is a scene in Rattle and Hum when U2 visit Graceland. During this time Larry Mullen Jnr talks about moved he was and how he really related to Elvis's movies and how inspiring they were. All the while I'm thinking, you are a member of one of the most sucessful rock bands in history and the only thing you found insperational from one of the most sucessful singers in history is his acting career! Is it any wonder drummers are the butt of all jokes.

  • Comment number 29.

    Siegel's Flaming Star was an OK western with Elvis, possibly the nearest he got to a straightforward dramatic role (with only one short song slotted in).
    King Creole had some decent performances in a crime drama set in a nightclub.

    Of the musicals Viva Las Vegas is probably the best. Elvis on Tour is the best of the live performances documentaries (edited by Scorsese!).

    I can't say I was ever a big fan of Elvis, but most people have at least on song of his that they like.

  • Comment number 30.

    As others have said, it's hands down Bubba Ho-Tep. Oddly enough it's also my favorite JFK movie, with Ossie Davis a 'Jack'...

  • Comment number 31.

    That's 'as Jack'...

  • Comment number 32.

    Not a movie appearance, but his acting in the Guitar Man medley from the '68 Special is a favourite of mine. He genuinely seems to be enjoying the sequence, conveying a knowing loucheness in the bordello scene and his dance-fu moves to put down a glowering Lance LeGaut is balletic and testosterone fuelled at the same time.

  • Comment number 33.

    The trouble with most Elvis films is he was usually playing a slightly skewed version of himself, or at least the image Hollywood had of him. He mentioned this problem on stage when he returned to live appearances in 1969 so it's difficult to not see "Elvis" as Elvis on stage which makes it a little tough to assess his acting. I don't think that's a reflection on his acting ability but rather more of a comment on how iconic he was as a persona. You could argue the same for Sinatra I suppose but Sinatra played more varied roles than Elvis and had more of an opportunity to actually act. The closes comparison I can make is perhaps John Wayne who played "John Wayne" in most of his movies and is still underrated as an actor today. Only when he swapped the good guy stetson for an eye patch and a bad attitude in the original True Grit did his peers finally take notice and send him home with an Oscar. So for me the movie where you get to see Elvis really acting is 1962's Follow That Dream where he gets to play what amounts to a comedy role and does a very credible job too. Mind you King Creole is bloody good too.

  • Comment number 34.

    Oh by the way apparently turning down A Star Is Born was Elvis' idea. Streisand met Elvis backstage after a Vegas show with her then partner Jon Peters who was going to produce the film despite having no previous production experience. Elvis was initially excited about the project but didn't warm to Peters and. The Colonel of course advised him against taking a role which showed him as having a failing career so in the end Elvis asked the colonel to get him out of it which he did by his usual method - make crazy demands for money. Oddly enough the Colonel refused to let Elvis appear in an earlier movie because he wouldn't be granted top billing over his co star who happened to be John Wayne. And the movie was True Grit. Doh!

  • Comment number 35.

    Two of my favorite Elvis movies (the other three I like you mentioned) are Roustabout and Kid Galahad. I believe Elvis does a credible job in both, partly I believe because of the other actors. Barbara Stanwyck and Leif Erickson provide decent performances that elevate Elvis's acting in Roustabout while Gig Young and Charles Bronson do a similar service in Kid Galahad. And the fact that Phil Karlson, one of the kings of the B-Movies, directs Galahad makes it a decent and pleasurable film.

  • Comment number 36.

    Good shout Mark, Walter Matteau's comments post "Kid Creole" are key here, he could have been a damn good actor. BTW my guilty pleasure is "It happened at the world's fair" cos I love seeing Kurt Russell in it!

  • Comment number 37.

    I've never seen any of Elvis' movies, but now want to watch all the ones you just mentioned based on the posters alone.

  • Comment number 38.

    In addition to being a favorite Elvis film for all the ordinary reasons, I have an extra if irrelevant reason for pushing Flaming Star to the top. I recently had to suggest names for a litter of puppies for their Kennel Club registrations, these aren't their pet names, but the strange unique names they are registered under. My wife lets me use film titles as a nod towards the work I put into raising the fluffy beasts. As the sire of the litter is pet-named Star, I used that as the theme, chucking out Star wars Stargate and A Star is Born as likely already used, the Kennel Club rejected requests for Stardust and Stardust Memories (possibly used), so we ended up with Bright Star, Flaming Star, Starman, Dark Star and Star of Midnight. We also gifted copies of the the films to each of the owners (Bright Star is the one we kept). Flaming Star's new owners were pleasantly surprised by her namesake.

    I had seen Flaming Star a couple of times, and although the racial politics are clunky by today's standards, Presley gives a performance that doesn't entirely rely on the trembling lip. If the film's wikipedia entry is to be believed, Presley realized this and asked for two songs to be removed from the film to emphasize his acting turn. Of course you also have the direction of the great Don Siegel.

  • Comment number 39.

    My favourite Elvis movie is John Carpenter's TV movie, Elvis, starring Kurt Russell as the King of Rock 'n' Roll. Not bad at all.

  • Comment number 40.

    Rock & roll died when Elvis joined the army. The same goes for his own credibility. He should have stayed away from the Colonel.

  • Comment number 41.

    Dear Doctor, although I’m a big cineaste I haven’t actually seen an Elvis-movie (shameful, I know). But I really want to change that and since you are a great Elvis fan and have seen his work, I’m now asking you; which of his movies I should start with?

  • Comment number 42.

    Mark is right about Elvis' films. I feel that he could have made it as a comedy actor ( Follow That Dream). Also, he showed some talent for more serious stuff in Flaming Star (Dir Don Seigel) and Wild in THe Country. These films made much less money and Col Parker realised that Blue Hawaii was the template.
    He forgot that quality cost money and the standard of scripts and production decreased. If say,a Change of Habit type had been made in 1963, something could have come good for Elvis in the movies.

  • Comment number 43.

    To Quote Chuck D from public Enemy....

    "Elvis was a hero to most
    But he never meant s--t to me you see
    Straight up racist that sucker was
    Simple and plain
    Mother---- him and John Wayne"

    This about sums up what I think of him.

  • Comment number 44.

    I can't say that I remember watching the whole film, but I do recall watching Fun in Acapulco as a young boy, particularly the scene in which Elvis' character is called a coward before preceding to prove himself by diving 150 feet off a cliff. That scene has always stuck in my mind for about 20 years. I suppose I should watch the film again sometime.

  • Comment number 45.

    King Creole is the best Elvis movie. It's pretty much him channeling Brando and Dean for another rebellious role. The support acting really makes it for me. Walter Matthau as a mean gangster and Carolyn Jones as the older hardened woman trying to escape abuse through Elvis' character. The songs are also great and is a soundtrack albums that is often on my record player.

    The other Elvis movies are of varying degrees, but I can't help watching them. Elvis is in them with his perfect hair!

  • Comment number 46.

    I too like "King Creole" and I also like the newer version of "That´s the way it is", I know it´s documentary but Elvis does a really good job playing himself in that movie and it´s great seeing him having fun with his band. He is one of the greatest!

  • Comment number 47.

    As a kid growing up in the 70's, we were forced to sit and watch Elvis Presley films playing every morning in the week running up to christmas. Now anytime i even see an image of Elvis, my thoughts take me back to a miserable christmas in 1974, opening a cheap horrible present like " a compendium of 100 Games", the worst present any kid could receive back then, and a hand knitted jumper from my nan. This is what Elvis and his movies mean to me.

  • Comment number 48.

    I always thought that Fun in Acapulco was good fun despite the annoying child as his agent and Ursula Undressed. If you read "Elvis and Me" written by Priscilla he apparently used to joke that she was quite manly. The set piece when he sings "Bossa Nova Baby" in the club (see where he pretends to play the keyboard and gives it some on some bongos!) is just terrific. Elvis also throws some excellent punches in fight scenes, e.g. Blue Hawaii. Angela Lansbury (everyone's favourite duvet day detective!) was his mum in this even though she was not that much older. She once told an interviewer that each year on Mothers Day he sent her a card which is very sweet but also tinged with sadness as we all know that a part of Elvis died with his own mother.

  • Comment number 49.

    Concert movies are cheating I take it but you have to mention "That's The Way It Is" for his sheer presence and charisma. The tension back stage where he jokingly asks if someone could put the words of "I just Can't Help Believing" on the back of a chair as he is worried he will forget them. Then check out his version of "I Got A Woman" (it is the second song he does in the concert) by Ray Charles which is utterly spine tingling and is one of the moments where one does rationally lose all sense of rationality with Elvis (if that makes sense!).

  • Comment number 50.

    Hello Dr Mark,
    I'm not sure if this counts, but Elvis' live performance film 'That's The Way It Is', is to me one of the best films in this genre. As for his acting, I agree with you hidden under all the other stuff people expected off him, Elvis could actually act.
    As Robert De Niro once said, 'the talent is in the choices'.

  • Comment number 51.

    I’ve never seen a single Elvis movie in my life. Not from start to finish any way. We’ve all seen the jailhouse rock clip on tv and I seem to remember the odd scene here and there from TCM. The odd thing is, I’ve never met another Elvis fan who does like any of his movies. It seems sad that he never had a chance to do a serious film. I can’t help but think that a man with that much charisma would almost certainly have had the ability to carry a scene believably.

    We all know that Elvis was royally screwed over by Parker. Without him he would almost certainly have lived longer and have gone on to bigger (if possible) and better things. He was a uniquely talented man who was exploited by a shrewd business man.

    But the worst thing about the Elvis movies (and even the Beatles, though they showed a little more invention and a certain knowing in their wit) is that they set a precedent for famous people crossing over into other media forms with almost universal standards of mediocrity. Just this morning I passed by a bus stop with a poster for the film Battleship “Starring (but) Rhianna”.

    And you can just see it coming: Britney Spears, Jessica Simpson, Beyonce Knowles, Whitney Houston, Fifty Cent, Eminem, Jon Bon Jovi, even the likes of Dylan and Jagger; all artists with little to no real dramatic talent or ambition; just people who want to be as famous and rich as possible before the next big thing comes along. Even worse are the true vanity projects like Prince’s Purple Rain, Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker and Mariah Carey’s Glitter; films that are so egotistical and so self-aggrandising and so vulgar that they make you want to vomit pea soup. Just trash dreamt up by some marketing pimp like, oh I don’t know, Col. Parker?

    Let’s face it; it’s in this last category that Elvis’ movies belong. They were conceived purely as a way to exploit his already sizeable popularity. Everyone scoffed at Spice World the movie and I see no reason why Elvis should get it any easier. It’s simply another form of marketing and a fairly shameful one with little evidence to argue otherwise.

    There are of course exceptions. Mark Whalberg spoke on Wittertainment just a few weeks ago about how hard it was and just how long it takes to properly crossover and be taken seriously as an actor (though let’s face it, he always had more to offer as an actor). Others like Will Smith, Barbara Streisand, Kris Kristofferson, Justin Timberlake, Dolly Parton; all of them actually half decent enough or simply clever enough to choose roles which weren't too much of a stretch, in films which might actually be half decent.

    But Elvis never managed that. In order for him to have done the films he wanted he would have had to sack Parker. But he never did. Why? Because that was probably too much like hard work. Less fame, less money, in the short term at least. But eventually, with the right attitude and a few clever choices, he could have seen it through. Some people are just too happy being rich and famous to try hard, even genuinely talented people like Elvis Presley.

    (Ooooh, just found out that Tom Waits was the guy playing Ruprec…. Renfield in Coppola’s Dracula. Impressive!)

  • Comment number 52.

    Personnally, I believe the best appearance Elvis ever makes in a film, is Val Kilmar's portrayal of him in True Romance.

  • Comment number 53.

    The first movie I ever saw was an Elvis movie called "Red Rock Jingo", which I've revisited over the years and come to respect as a very intelligent B-movie about the relations between Mexico and the United States. Elvis himself plays a supporting part as Jakeson a deputy border patrol officer with two limps. I believe that Eli Wallach appears in it playing a role very similar to "The Misfits." It's not a musical but Elvis sings one very catchy ballad called 'Sweeping the Dust of the Dessert.'

  • Comment number 54.

    The first Elvis film I saw back in the 70's was his screen debut, Love Me Tender from 1956. It made a lasting impression and definitely need to rewatch it some time...

  • Comment number 55.

    To the user who commented that Elvis is overrated if you do believe this is the case i implore you to check out Elvis performing An American Trilogy from Aloha from Hawaii which is IMO one of the greatest performances of a song ever sang.
    In answer to Mark Kermodes question then yes most of Elvis films are not very good however there are a few shining examples such as King Creole, Jailhouse rock and Charro one of his least known films mainly due to the fact that he does not sing a song in it.

  • Comment number 56.

    Always hated Elvis. He is overrated and racist.

  • Comment number 57.

    I'm a huge Elvis fan but most of the movies are not very good. However, I've always enjoyed Viva Las Vegas a lot and I put on the DVD once a year. It's worth watching only because of Ann Margret. Jesus Christ, what a stunning beauty.

  • Comment number 58.

    Love Viva Las Vegas and a guilty pleasure in Fun in Acapulco. Although I'm now in mourning for what could have been - a decent third attempt at A Star is Born with Barbra and Elvis.

  • Comment number 59.

    i always thought "stay away joe" was a good one

  • Comment number 60.

    We think Elvis is pretty good in the film we made about him! "Elvis Prestwick", a story of a strait-laced office worker's life being transformed by meeting the King during his only visit to the UK. More details here http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1679184/ and here http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Elvis-Prestwick/220560841330683 .

  • Comment number 61.

    Hardly anyone mentions Flaming Star. A great director, Don Siegel, draws a genuinely great performance from Elvis. It is an exceptional western dealing seriously and convincingly with racism and the hero's core dilemma over his racial identity. Plus it has a truly gut-wrenching ending. A great movie, every bit as good as the more celebrated King Creole. As for guilty pleasures. Well, Elvis made a lot of films to feel guilty about, but his charisma burned bright enough to make them all oddly pleasurable. Viva the King!

  • Comment number 62.

    Does Mark know whether he liked Killer Joe yet!?

  • Comment number 63.

    Was surprised that you didn't mention the excellent Don Siegel western Flaming Star, surely this has to be the greatest Elvis movie? Also, in regards to Elvis being alive, do you rate Bubba Ho- Tep as a film?

  • Comment number 64.

    Best movie to feature Elvis?

    True Romance

  • Comment number 65.

    JailHouse Rock & King Creole are the 2 that stand out as the best for me, their proof he had the ability to become the respected he hoped to become but as sometimes the case great talent gets mismanaged.

    Viva Las Vegas is the guilty pleasure all the way, but by far and way the most embarrasing moment of all elvis films is him sat on the back of truck singing "Old Mac Donald Had A Farm" in Double Trouble

  • Comment number 66.

    My favourite is G.I. Blues. I still cite it as one of my Top 5 movies. As you will have guessed, I'm not really a movie fan. As a child in the 70s, it was the music that drew me in to watching the movies. The music and the man singing the songs, winning the girl, spending a night in chokey. Yes, there was usually a formula. Usually, the only thing to change was the name of the character; Danny Fisher, Steve Grayson and John Carpenter...with the occassional more inventive moniker; Deke Rivers, Lucky Jackson and Rusty Wells. The songs were mercurial in their quality. Some where plain awful; Yoga Is As Yoga Does, Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce, Song of the Shrimp, Do the Clam and Dominic (a song about an impotent bull, no less). Despite the words 'impotent bull' being some people's assessment of Elvis and his movies, they provided me with much enjoyment.

    I wish, like Mark, that Elvis had the opportunity to develop the promise shown in King Creole (based on an early Harold Robbins novel) and take up some of the roles in movies reportedly available to him; West Side Story, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Midnight Cowboy, Sweet Bird of Youth, Valley of The Dolls, West Side Story and Being There.

  • Comment number 67.

    There is only one Elvis and Mr Costello's brief and minor acting career far outshines any film made by this Presley chap you seem to keep banging on about...........

  • Comment number 68.

    Sorry, I have no interest in Elvis whatsoever.

    On a completely different topic, Mark. If you go to www.kuvva.com they do computer wallpaper (desktop backgrounds). They're created by various artists all over the world, totally original. One of them you might recognise: it's from The Diving Bell and the Butterfly and it's by 'Little White Lies' - it's my PC wallpaper right now :) Though you have mastered Twitter, I do wonder if you've advanced yet to the point where you are able to change your PC/laptop desktop wallpaper...Any way, have a happy long weekend....or two weeks...or whatever. :)

  • Comment number 69.

    You know what? Your last sentence says it all.

    "They are just rubbish".

  • Comment number 70.

    Bubba Ho-Tep!

    Hail to the King baby!!

    Oh wait a sec...

  • Comment number 71.

    Around the time of 'clambake'
    Movie number twenty-five
    You and the lying dutchman
    Are still in overdrive
    You're as strong as when you started
    Mississippi in your soul
    You can still be marlon brando
    And the king of rock and roll
    It isn't just the records
    No, you must have hollywood
    The songs alone are not enough
    That much is understood
    You'll soon be back in memphis
    Maybe then you'll know what to do
    The storylines they're giving you
    Are just not ringing true
    Oh, it's a ways to go
    Back to Tupelo
    When you're young and beautiful
    Your dreams are all ideals
    Later on it's not the same
    Lord, everything is real
    Sixteen hundred miles of highway
    Roll back to the truth
    And a song to give your mother
    In your first recording booth
    Around the time of 'clambake'
    That old dream's still rolling on
    Sometimes there'll be the feeling
    Things are going wrong
    The morning star is fading
    Lord, the mississippi's cold
    You can still be marlon brando
    And the king of rock and roll
    But it's a ways to go
    Back to Tupelo.

    --Back To Tupelo by Mark Knopfler. Says it all.

  • Comment number 72.

    Not seen any Elvis movies. Always been slightly confused by the good doctor's love of Elvis. He's generally pretty spot on with movies and music, but as every right thinking person knows Elvis is rubbish. He couldnt even write any of his own songs

  • Comment number 73.

    All his best work was in his earlier movies-like Jailhouse Rock,King Creole and Flaming Star,all of whom had decent directors,scripts,stories and actors with him to work alongside,and showed himself to be a perfectly decent actor when given interesting and literate scripts toi work with.After this,most of his films had virtually the same scripts and stories to work with,namely fluffy,trivial and lightweight,and no wonder he stopped making films by the end of the sixties as he admitted was bored and fed up like everyone else was with the material he was given.

  • Comment number 74.

    Widds (Comment 71) took the words right out of my mouth! Great shout!!

    Soft spots for G.I. Blues and Love Me Tender!

  • Comment number 75.

    Mark, I recently came across and old Radio 1 recoding of you and Lard where you complete flip out over some comment about "chickens dancing on a hot biscuit tin," you star screaming "THAT'S MY BREAKING POINT! I CAME 200 MILES FOR THIS, SOD YOU, SOD YOU, I QUIT!" I kind of doubt that of all of the comments this one will be answered, but I'm curious....

  • Comment number 76.

    Flaming Star is the only one for me.

  • Comment number 77.

    I remember that Joe Queenan wrote that Elvis, *in his spare time* from being the greatest rock'n'roller ever appeared in 33 of the worst movies ever made. He didn't believe this record could be broken. . .but had his eye on Madonna as a possible rival (this was back in the '90s. . .). For what it's worth, I think Jailhouse Rock is great, and am inexplicably fond of Blue Hawaii.

  • Comment number 78.

    'Bubba Ho-Tep'... surely Elvis' (& JFK's) finest..?

  • Comment number 79.

    Oh, and the award for 'Best Elvis Documentary' goes to... 'Elvis In Jarrow'!

  • Comment number 80.

    I love Elvis, as every right-minded music fan should. Elvis In Memphis being one of the greatest rock and roll/white soul LPs. And I find the stories about Tom Parker's control of him, especially in the later years, too depressing.

    I may have my facts wrong, but I'm pretty sure John Carpenter, perhaps after Halloween - when he had a bit of clout, was set on directing a magnificent western which would have starred the King and a pretty elderly John Wayne. Carpenter's favourite movie is Rio Bravo, so it would have probably been along those lines. Not sure why he couldn't get it off the ground. No doubt Parker had some objection ...

  • Comment number 81.

    I remember first watching the Elvis films as a kid. They were on everyday during the summer holidays and I'd never go out until the Elvis film had finished, loved them. Elvis, Muhammad Ali and Evel Knievel are the first famous people I remember. I have a King Creole poster in my living room now.

    He was great in Bubba Ho-Tep as well.

  • Comment number 82.

    Viva Las Vegas is fun, Jailhouse Rock and King Creole are good and I was surprised how much I enjoyed Roustabout. GI Blues and Blue Hawaii are good Sunday afternoon watches. 'That's the Way It Is' is a great movie in my opinion.

  • Comment number 83.

    He was great in Summer Holiday

 

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