Elvis! Elvis! Elvis! The King and His Movies

By: David Neale
Source: Books In Print
December 6, 2000

Elvis! Elvis! Elvis! The King and His Movies
Elvis! Elvis! Elvis! The King and His Movies
Is it me, or are Elvis' cinematic efforts beginning to be viewed in a more sympathetic light? The recently issued 'Elvis Film Encyclopedia' (Eric Braun), although containing literally hundreds of errors, approached its subject in a reasonably serious manner and not all the articles which appeared at the time of the twentieth anniversary and subsequently have slagged off all of Elvis' films as all having the same plot, lots of sand and girls and little else. So yet another book which examines Elvis' film career in a reasonably sensible manner is a welcome addition on the scene and 'Elvis! Elvis! Elvis! The King and His Movies' is just that.

The dust-jacket is striking, to say the least, showing a fifties film-poster-style painting of Elvis in an aggressive pose, dressed in a leather jacket and a pair of jeans - not accurate, but impressive! And inside the cover things get even better as one finds there a CD specially made for the book and containing 15 famous film tracks: Love Me Tender; Jailhouse Rock; Mean Woman Blues; Crawfish; King Creole; Trouble; Double Trouble; Spinout; Relax; (You're So Square) Baby I Don't Care; Viva Las Vegas; There Ain't Nothing Like A Song; King Of The Whole Wide World; Can't Help Falling In Love; Lonesome Cowboy.

But what is especially refreshing about 'Elvis! Elvis! Elvis! The King and His Movies' is the honest attitude towards the films themselves. In his introduction, Author Peter Guttmacher, who has already had numerous film books published, rejects the general attitude that Elvis' films were all fluff by countering that they included serious drama, deft comedy, social commentary and music video prototypes; he admits that there was fluff, too, and that's fair comment.

After a brief look at Elvis' life 'B.C.' (Before Cinema) the book examines each film separately. Rather than repeating the well-known cast lists and production details which have been catalogued in numerous publications, Guttmacher provides for each film in turn some background to its development, identifying its origins and various title changes. A short, but accurate synopsis follows and this, in turn, is followed by additional stories of events during the production. Here and there throughout the book the reader comes across blue coloured text boxes, bearing such titles as 'Forgive Them Elvis For They Know Not What They Do' (contemporary comments about Elvis' films) 'Guess Who' and 'Accept No Imitations' (trivia quizzes), all of which are highly amusing. The books is very well illustrated in both colour and black and white, although a few of them carry in accurate captions the author seems to have particular problems with 'Clambake' and 'Tickle Me'!).

Reading 'Elvis! Elvis! Elvis! The King and His Movies', I often wanted to put the relevant video on to take another look at the film about which I was reading, the comments and viewpoints being so refreshing. There really weren't that many beaches, you know, and this book proves it!

Elvis! Elvis! Elvis! The King and His Movies

Author: Peter Guttmacher
Published in hardback by MetroBooks
ISBN 1-56799-530-6

David G. Neale
Copyright 1998

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