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Elvis' acting.

Sun Dec 30, 2012 5:57 am

I think most people would say either King Creole or Jailhouse Rock was Elvis' best movie, and I would agree with either. Others may say Flaming Star or Wild in The Country. But the movie in which I think Elvis is the LEAST self-conscious, most relaxed and does a consistantly good acting performace is, believe it or not, Follow That Dream! I am not saying that Follow That Dream is his best movie, no. I am saying his acting is the most natural and unforced. King Creole has a few scenes where he breaks character and his own personality shows too much, same with Jailhouse Rock. I think his second best performance was probably Wild In The Country, and Charro was not too bad. Even Stay Away Joe showed some consistancy throughout, but I put Follow That Dream as Elvis' single best acting performance.


Does anyone else agree or understand where I am coming from?

Re: Elvis' acting.

Sun Dec 30, 2012 6:16 am

Yes.

If King Creole shows that Elvis had potential to be a good dramatic actor then Follow that dream shows that Elvis was capable of being a good comedic actor.

The most underrated of all of Elvis' films he gives a good performance and does pretty good with the dramatic scene in the courtroom at the end of the movie.

Re: Elvis' acting.

Sun Dec 30, 2012 6:49 am

skatterbrane wrote:I think most people would say either King Creole or Jailhouse Rock was Elvis' best movie, and I would agree with either. Others may say Flaming Star or Wild in The Country. But the movie in which I think Elvis is the LEAST self-conscious, most relaxed and does a consistantly good acting performace is, believe it or not, Follow That Dream! I am not saying that Follow That Dream is his best movie, no. I am saying his acting is the most natural and unforced. King Creole has a few scenes where he breaks character and his own personality shows too much, same with Jailhouse Rock. I think his second best performance was probably Wild In The Country, and Charro was not too bad. Even Stay Away Joe showed some consistancy throughout, but I put Follow That Dream as Elvis' single best acting performance.


Does anyone else agree or understand where I am coming from?


Sure. Elvis had mastered a nice, light comedy touch by the time of "Follow That Dream," but his acting overall was far more unrealized than accomplished. It's a shame he never got a chance to hone his craft with great scripts, strong direction and NO meddling of any kind from management.

Most still find "King Creole" the best example of his thespian skills, and famed director Michael Curtiz deserves a lot of credit.

Re: Elvis' acting.

Sun Dec 30, 2012 7:02 am

skatterbrane wrote: I put Follow That Dream as Elvis' single best acting performance....
Does anyone else agree or understand where I am coming from?

Yes, I understand exactly what you mean, skatterbrane.

Follow That Dream is my favorite Elvis movie.
I love the fact that they did so much filming on location in Florida. >> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lNWm7c7tEM4

Re: Elvis' acting.

Sun Dec 30, 2012 7:15 am

Imagine if he got to do West Side Story, Midnight Cowbow or A Star Is Born!!

Re: Elvis' acting.

Sun Dec 30, 2012 7:20 am

skatterbrane wrote:Imagine if he got to do West Side Story, Midnight Cowbow or A Star Is Born!!

Or... Follow That Dream 2 Just kidding

Re: Elvis' acting.

Sun Dec 30, 2012 7:35 am

It took me a long time to get comfortable with Follow That Dream. (The film, not the record label. ;) ) I thought one of the promotional materials said "The role he was born to play." (I stand corrected. But it sure felt like they were saying that!) It is good comedy, he puts on a very accentuated accent, and he IS acting. And he has some funny bits, which he handles very well. It's just the whole context of the role. He plays a "dummy." Not a very high IQ, and I think that's even said in the film. It is set in the south, with the family on public assistance, and essentially homeless. So, naturally, they're not too bright.

So, it took me a long time to appreciate the acting in the film, or even see beyond the whole idea of it. It just plays too close to the stereotype of what everyone thought Elvis was. But it was difficult to watch for a long time. Interesting that Max Baer, Jr. knew Elvis. Just sayin.'

King Creole was excellent. Without qualification. And though less expressive in style, his performance in Flaming Star is also excellent. Wild In The Country is burdened by the dizzy plot. The last films should have shown him in better acting form than they did. I don't get the impression he tried very hard, or maybe the films just weren't good enough. (In Charro, he has the same expression on his face the whole picture; it's not a typical bad "Elvis movie" - it's just not a good movie. Stay Away, Joe was silly. LALLAL was not too bad, but he looks kind of bored. The other two, well, they really tried to do something, but I think the plots got a little lost.

He did say he wanted to do a good one before he "left," but it really didn't happen. It's good he did a VERY good one just before he "left" for the Army. He was thinking of his future, then. What he maybe didn't realize is that male actors generally don't get the leading man roles until they're about, oh, 34 years old - give or take, which is when he left, never to return. Robert Redford, for instance, who was born in 1936, broke out as a major star when Elvis left Hollywood. (He was a career actor, of course, and did television, Broadway, better and better character roles, before his career broke wide open. Elvis had a starring role at 21, which is ridiculous.)

rjm
Last edited by rjm on Sun Dec 30, 2012 8:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

Re: Elvis' acting.

Sun Dec 30, 2012 7:43 am

You're confusing the ad campaign of FOLLOW THAT DREAM with LOVE ME TENDER.

The campaign for FTD said:

"Follow That Dream to laughter, love and a wonderful time"

"Go go go, it's free wheelin' fun!"

"Want a lift? Elvis Presley's funniest, happiest, dreamiest, motion picture."
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Re: Elvis' acting.

Sun Dec 30, 2012 7:51 am

Darn it! Now it's gonna' take rjm a long time to get comfortable with Love Me Tender !

Re: Elvis' acting.

Sun Dec 30, 2012 7:56 am

Here's the original coming attraction trailer:

http://www.tcm.com/mediaroom/video/8016 ... iler-.html

Re: Elvis' acting.

Sun Dec 30, 2012 8:00 am

Blue River wrote:Darn it! Now it's gonna' take rjm a long time to get comfortable with Love Me Tender !


LOL! Yes, I confused it. I guess I saw the words and thought "Follow That Dream, again. How dare they!" Thanks; I really thought it was from that campaign.

I'm always comfortable with Love Me Tender. It's pretty silly - a pimply kid playing the deceived husband, but he's such a little cutie.

Thanks for the correction. It's amazing what your mind can do!

rjm

Re: Elvis' acting.

Sun Dec 30, 2012 8:01 am

That's alright RJM and Blue River.

After all, it's what I do! :D

Re: Elvis' acting.

Sun Dec 30, 2012 8:02 am

Thanks for the correction. It's amazing what your mind can do!


Why, thank you!

Re: Elvis' acting.

Sun Dec 30, 2012 8:05 am

rjm wrote:Thanks for the correction. It's amazing what your mind can do!

At my age it's amazing what the mind can't do!

Re: Elvis' acting.

Sun Dec 30, 2012 12:10 pm

About Elvis acting: One of my biggest regrets was about GI Blues: instead of this light comedy, Elvis could play his real story in a dramatic role in the army: a super rockstar who struggles to many insecurities about a new life and about the future of his career but who overcomes all and he returns with triumph on the musical stage. G.I. Blues could be a very dramatic and realistic movie. But we can't change anything now.

Re: Elvis' acting.

Sun Dec 30, 2012 10:22 pm

jurasic1968 wrote:About Elvis acting: One of my biggest regrets was about GI Blues: instead of this light comedy, Elvis could play his real story in a dramatic role in the army: a super rockstar who struggles to many insecurities about a new life and about the future of his career but who overcomes all and he returns with triumph on the musical stage. G.I. Blues could be a very dramatic and realistic movie. But we can't change anything now.


WTF does that have to do with Follow that dream.

Anyway that's an interesting idea.

I don't believe we should personally have any regrets about Elvis' career because there was nothing any of us could have done about it.

Even if we were a part of Elvis' entourage and we were around him all the time we'd have no influence over his career.

Re: Elvis' acting.

Mon Dec 31, 2012 6:50 am

Now that the holidays are over, it's time to watch all the Elvis movies again, in order.

Elvis was a good actor but just never got the opportunity to become a great one.

Careful what you wish for becasue if he did become a great actor, he might have put a hault on his music one. I'm sure he would have still recorded but maybe not to the same extent. If he had failed music efforts and successful movie roles, what would Mr Parker do?

Re: Elvis' acting.

Mon Dec 31, 2012 11:10 am

ElvisTheKid wrote:Careful what you wish for because if he did become a great actor, he might have put a halt on his music one.

It didn't hinder Bing Crosby or Frank Sinatra, both great, Oscar-winning, singer-actors.

Re: Elvis' acting.

Mon Dec 31, 2012 11:26 am

FTD was an enjoyable film

Re: Elvis' acting.

Mon Dec 31, 2012 11:37 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:
ElvisTheKid wrote:Careful what you wish for because if he did become a great actor, he might have put a halt on his music one.

It didn't hinder Bing Crosby or Frank Sinatra, both great, Oscar-winning, singer-actors.


The directors of his films had specific instructions regarding that. "Don't you go wining no Oscars with this pictcha, because we don't have the tuxedos to wear to the celebration."

And it was a serious instruction.

rjm
P.S. -- Cool idea about G.I. Blues; it might have worked around the time he made Stay Away, Joe. I mean that: he wanted a more serious picture, and he looked fabulous, and it was the full-blown SIXTIES by the then, so such a film could be made. Or better, since he was pretty good at comedy (as we can see in FTD, the film), perhaps a bitter satire; he loved Peter Sellers, and his personal taste in humor was dry. They could have written a song like the one at the end of Life Of Brian, over a recreation of the night he was in the jeep that got filled with carbon monoxide. (He got lucky. But it did happen, and was confirmed by Joe Esposito - who wanted to clarify that he wasn't hospitalized.) I'm totally serious. "Always look on the bright side of life!"
(I just watched a history of Monty Python.)

Re: Elvis' acting.

Mon Dec 31, 2012 7:39 pm

drjohncarpenter wrote:
ElvisTheKid wrote:Careful what you wish for because if he did become a great actor, he might have put a halt on his music one.

It didn't hinder Bing Crosby or Frank Sinatra, both great, Oscar-winning, singer-actors.


True... but I think the British Invasion would have put a halt on anything Elvis released during that period. Plus Frank and Bing didn't have Parker as a manager.

Elvis was more of a contemporary artist during those times and The Beatles were his competition whereas the other two were veterans with a completely different sound and fan base.

Re: Elvis' acting.

Wed Jan 02, 2013 11:10 am

ElvisTheKid wrote:
drjohncarpenter wrote:
ElvisTheKid wrote:Careful what you wish for because if he did become a great actor, he might have put a halt on his music one.

It didn't hinder Bing Crosby or Frank Sinatra, both great, Oscar-winning, singer-actors.


True... but I think the British Invasion would have put a halt on anything Elvis released during that period. Plus Frank and Bing didn't have Parker as a manager.

Elvis was more of a contemporary artist during those times and The Beatles were his competition whereas the other two were veterans with a completely different sound and fan base.


I kinda promised myself NOT to go in this direction with the topic, but okay. There were other things going on at the time, other than the British Invasion. Motown. Soul. The folk boom had transformed into bands doing the songs with a brighter sound. And there's a record he owned, the old folk song "House of The Rising Sun." They took the chord progression that Dylan swiped from another guy, and made it into a big rock hit. (There's a whole book about the song - it's an amazing story. And Elvis is IN it, because of the barn.)

It may have been a busy, almost confusing time in music, but if an artist just stuck to their own thing, they'd do okay. He stopped. Just stopped. I agree that the older artists never were competing with rock 'n' roll, ever (even if Sinatra was defensive at first). But still, there were so many options he could have explored, if he wanted to. If anything, the diversity of music at the time would have given him the freedom he seemed to like. But he just went away, musically. For one film during this time, he didn't even do a new soundtrack. They took stuff from the very early '60s.

You could "compete" or you could just make music. And really, he'd started pulling back before the British Invasion, which is really more telling. At a certain point, he just didn't feel like doing it. Pretty early.

There are a number of ways to look at it.

rjm

Re: Elvis' acting.

Thu Jan 03, 2013 1:39 am

Im glad Elvis never got the leading role in Midnight Cowboy.

As great as the film is, i would have been uncomfortable seeing Elvis' character in the cinema scene.

Re: Elvis' acting.

Thu Jan 03, 2013 2:10 am

His most unaffected, natural performance, for me, was in The Trouble With Girls.

Elvis as Pacer and Glen, actually, never convinced me. Yet those two movies are constantly trotted out as his best acting. 'Wild' wasn't his fault though, it was a VERY hammy script.

"It's like I got a full cup of anger ..." Oh, please!

Re: Elvis' acting.

Thu Jan 03, 2013 2:54 am

I think the people dismissing FTD because of Toby's naievete are missing the subtext of the role. Toby is the smartest person in the movie. He's just not experienced and the central point of his naievete is that he only sees the best in people. I wish we all had that naievete.

In terms of acting Elvis' best pure performance may be in Stay Away Joe. He's completely vital and spontaneous, but the movie lets him down. Toby is an interesting creation as are Pacer and Danny Fisher and the swaggering Vince Everett. There was progress in his final performances. "Joe" COH and Trouble With GIrls there's an attempt at interpretative acting as opposed to just embodying the role.

It's worth noting that Crosby, who was a good but not a great actor, did not tour for 33 years.