Derek Johnson poses a question that has even got Elvis worried : NME 6 April 1962. Click here to view an image of the original article.
Is Presley Making Too Many Films?
Is Elvis Presley getting too much exposure on the cinema screen? Is he making too many films in too rapid succession? I pose these questions because he has just completed his tenth movie - and he has at least another five pictures lined up for production as soon as possible.
I'm quite certain that British fans are perfectly happy with the flow of Presley pictures and they are doubtless delighted to know that the steady stream is to be maintained. But it seems over in the States Presley's heavy filming schedule is causing many eyebrows to be raised - and even Elvis has considered the situation carefully.
But the truth of the matter is that Presley's non-stop campaign is deliberate. On his own admission, he has been trying to secure the maximum exposure, to make up for the time he lost while he was in the Army.
'I was gone for two years, so I reckon I can risk it', he explains. Nevertheless Elvis is beginning to feel more than a little fatigued as a result of his present list of commitments, he hopes to slow down appreciably.
'I've been going from movie to movie with very little time off in between', he points out. 'Frankly, I'm weary and need a long rest'.
Could this be the writing on the wall for his projected charity concert in Britain this year? For if he is exhausted, the chances of him crossing the Atlantic for just one performance must be regarded as slim. However, we shall see - and in the meantime, we are guaranteed a sequence of new Presley pictures, with which we can keep in visual touch with him.
The ad that announces the concert that proves it just wasn't talk
Latest epic to roll off the production line is 'Kid Galahad', described by the publicity moguls as 'a modern-day drama with music, set against the exciting world of prize fighting'. And it's particularly interesting in that it's been produced by the independent Mirisch Company, who were responsible for 'Some Like It Hot', 'The Magnificent Seven' and 'West Side Story'. Let's hope this new one maintains the same standard.
Featured with Elvis in the picture is Joan Blackman, who was previously teamed with him in 'Blue Hawaii'. The remaining stars are Gig Young, Lola Albright and Charles Bronson.
It looks to me as though a soundtrack album won't be a practical proposition, because there are only seven songs in the film. But knowing the various record companies facility for padding out with lengthy items of background and incidental music, I suppose nothing is impossible!
According to information sent me by Roy Cummings, one of NME's Hollywood correspondents, you can look forward to hearing Elvis sing six numbers in this new picture. They are King of the Whole Wide World, Riding' The Rainbow, A Whistlin' Tune, Home Is Where The Heart Is, I Got Lucky and This Is Living.
The seventh number in the film, titled Love Is For Lovers is a showcase for Lola Albright. Despite this relative lack of musical contribution (as compared with 'Blue Hawaii'), Elvis fans will have plenty to delight them them in his new movie. It's not a routine Hollywood boxing yarn, which invariably develops into an expose of the fight game. Instead it's hero is a reluctant boxer who never becomes a champion.
Elvis, of course, is the boxer in question. He plays the role of an ex-G.I., and the story tells of the effect his presence has on a small community nested in the Catskill Mountains. Although basically a drama, there is a warm human interest running through the film, and many humorous sequences.
I'm told that Elvis took the role very seriously, and went into training like a real fighter.
He did road work, went on a strict protein diet, shadow-boxed and walloped the punch bag, and boxed many hours with several good young professionals. He was coached by Mushy Callahan, a former junior welterweight champion of the world who acted as technical adviser on the fight segments in the film.
Mushy is full of praise for Presley's boxing aptitude. 'He's my best pupil yet', he claims. 'And he really could have made a good boxer'. Considering that Mushy has also trained Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift and Kirk Douglas for similar film roles, that's praise indeed!
In addition to 'Kid Galahad' Elvis has 'Follow That Dream' in the can, and we can expect to see both these movies in the relatively near future. And meantime, he swings into production with his latest Hal Wallis picture for Paramount, 'Girls! Girls! Girls!'. If you find this latter title rather confusing, let me explain that this is the film which was originally planned under the title of 'Gumbo Ya-Ya', the Creole expression which means 'Everybody talks at once'. It seems that the executives concerned feel that 'Girls! Girls! Girls!' is a more lucid and down-to-earth title - and I must say it strikes me as having more box-office appeal!
This movie marks another change of character for Elvis, who is cast as the skipper of a fishing boat. But since it is written by the same author as 'Blue Hawaii' and produced by the same team, you can bet that there will be plenty of opportunity for the Presley vocal chords to shine.
Subsequently Elvis enters into his four-picture deal with MGM, the first of which will be a romantic comedy titled 'Mister, Will You Marry Me?', and again this film will have a musical basis with the colourful San Diego beach resort as it's principal locale. Second MGM movie in this batch will be 'Take Me To The Fair', set at the Seattle State Fair. And although the remaining two films have not yet been decided, there is a distinct possibility that one will trace the life story of Presley's manager, Colonel Tom Parker. As revealed in the NME four weeks ago, if this materialises it will be called 'Right This Way Folks'.
So it's quite evident that Elvis is going to have very little spare time in 1962. And it's easy to understand why he will be in need of a rest, when he has finally fulfilled all these outstanding obligations.
On disc, Presley's popularity continues unabated, with his current double-sided hit still selling strongly - and consequently delaying the release of his follow-up, Good Luck Charm.
RCA reckons there are still quite a few thousand sales left in the present releases, and are naturally reluctant to issue the new one prematurely. So we may have to wait another three weeks or so.
However, I'm sure you will agree - when eventually you hear it - that Good Luck Charm has been well worth waiting for. It's a slow rocker, with a cute arrangement and an infectious rhythm, and with the Jordanaires harmonising effectively in the background. Flip side is one of those sentimental ballads Elvis preforms so distinctively, titled Anything That's Part of You. This track hasn't registered chart-wise in the States, but knowing the British fans' partiality for Presley ballads, it could develop into another double-sided hit for him over here.
And by the way, good news from RCA.
You'll be delighted to know that they have plenty of Presley material awaiting release, and they anticipate that this will be a plentiful year for Elvis issues - one LP and a couple of EPs are already planned later in the year.
To revert to my opening question : Is Elvis getting too much exposure? - my answer would be: certainly not, at the moment. But it could well be that his planned lengthy rest, when he has completed his next five pictures, will come at an appropriate time in his career.
Is Presley Making Too Many Films?
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The ad for the projected charity concert in Britain [From a Shirley Bassey programme]
RCA Promotional Poster for Kid Galahad E.P.
Kid Galahad US Lobby Card featuring Charles Bronson and Elvis Presley
UK Quad Cinema Poster for Kid Galahad
Exhibitor's Campaign Book for Kid Galahad
European theatrical poster for Kid Galahad
USA theatrical Poster for Kid Galahad
Blue Hawaii : Paramount 1961
Kid Galahad : United Artists 1962
Follow That Dream : United Artists 1962
Girls! Girls! Girls! : Paramount 1962
It Happened At The World's Fair : MGM 1963
Roustabout : Paramount 1964
Other aricles contributed to Elvis Australia by Nigel Goodall ...
Interview with Elvis Presley : The February 1970 Houston Astrodome Press Conference
Interview with Elvis Presley : The 1972 Madison Square Press Conference : June 9, 1972
Presley Doesn't Wiggle Any More - but the fans still scream for him non-stop!
Visit Nigel Goodall's Website and see his Elvis work for Sony