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I Need Someone to Lean on

Tue Jan 08, 2013 8:45 pm

check this out on Peter Guralnick's new website
http://www.peterguralnick.com/post/40009387172/i-need-somebody-to-lean-on-elvis-viva-las-vegas

Re: I Need Someone to Lean on

Tue Jan 08, 2013 8:49 pm

JamesVRoy wrote:check this out on Peter Guralnick's new website
http://www.peterguralnick.com/post/40009387172/i-need-somebody-to-lean-on-elvis-viva-las-vegas


Cool stuff. I met Peter at an Elvis event in NYC in 2002...an awfully nice guy and took time to speak with me about the FTD series.

Re: I Need Someone to Lean on

Tue Jan 08, 2013 8:53 pm

Mike C wrote:
JamesVRoy wrote:check this out on Peter Guralnick's new website
http://www.peterguralnick.com/post/40009387172/i-need-somebody-to-lean-on-elvis-viva-las-vegas


Cool stuff. I met Peter at an Elvis event in NYC in 2002...an awfully nice guy and took time to speak with me about the FTD series.


He lives about 20 minutes down river from me, is a good friend of a friend of mine, through him know well of each other, and even attended the same party for Scotty in Memphis in 2011 but we've never met.

Re: I Need Someone to Lean on

Tue Jan 08, 2013 9:23 pm

Thanks. As much as I like the song and the scene in the movie, I think Peter's view does blow it out of all proportion. Come on guys, it's just a well written script and production number which Elvis nails to perfection. But that's all it was.

Re: I Need Someone to Lean on

Tue Jan 08, 2013 11:48 pm

Robt wrote:Thanks. As much as I like the song and the scene in the movie, I think Peter's view does blow it out of all proportion. Come on guys, it's just a well written script and production number which Elvis nails to perfection. But that's all it was.


I totally agree with you. As for the song itself it doesn't get the love it deserves.

Re: I Need Someone to Lean on

Wed Jan 09, 2013 1:17 am

Peter is right on every level. Elvis in a great, mature scene with a great song (non Tepper/Bennett of course). Just compare this with all the silly song scenes that came after (and before in most cases) and you can see Peter's point is spot on.

Re: I Need Someone to Lean on

Wed Jan 09, 2013 1:31 am

No. I find that Peter over-emphasises too much and his comment re. INSTLO is a classic example of it.

Re: I Need Someone to Lean on

Wed Jan 09, 2013 3:34 am

I Need Somebody to Lean On - movie version in stereo
phpBB [video]

Re: I Need Someone to Lean on

Wed Jan 09, 2013 4:05 am

It is without a doubt one of the best ballads to grace an Elvis film, both in material and performance. I have to confess that I have never quite seen VLV as the bona fide classic that many do, but that doesn't take away the beauty and sheer brilliance of this recording - one that actually stretches Elvis (a rare thing for the period) and takes him into the territory of the torch song that were the bread and butter of Sinatra, Dean Martin and others. Easy to under-estimate, I think, but Elvis at his best and one of his most neglected gems.

Re: I Need Someone to Lean on

Wed Jan 09, 2013 4:10 am

This movie grows on you. The charm and chemistry of the costars elevate it. For years, I didn't think that highly of it and then one day, I just noticed how charming and how well done this thing is. Seeing it on a big screen increases its power.

This and Jailhouse Rock are my favorite scripted Elvis movies.

Re: I Need Someone to Lean on

Wed Jan 09, 2013 5:45 am

JamesVRoy wrote:check this out on Peter Guralnick's new website
http://www.peterguralnick.com/post/40009387172/i-need-somebody-to-lean-on-elvis-viva-las-vegas


phpBB [video]



Wonderful blog, although not much written on that post as expected. Guralnick has an explicit "no copy" request, otherwise I'd share the paragraph here. Suffice to say, there's no doubt that Elvis' performance exudes the "quiet, earnest sincerity" in the best of his ballads, not to mention his blues, gospels and rockers. Peter does fail to mention how the song is a near-complete evocation of the midnight ballad style of the great Charlie Rich.

He's put up about a half-dozen pages since late November, check them out on the home page:

http://www.peterguralnick.com/

Thanks for the link, James.

Re: I Need Someone to Lean on

Wed Jan 09, 2013 5:56 am

Welcome back Doc. Glad to see you here.

Re: I Need Someone to Lean on

Wed Jan 09, 2013 8:23 pm

I don't think Guralnick is overstating the value of this particular scene. Like he said, it's like no other moment in an Elvis film. And Elvis plays the scene beautifully.

For one thing, it's an extended take which is kind of like a high-wire act in film. Everyone involved in the film (director, actors, cinematographer, etc.) has to be perfectly in sync in order for the scene to work. The choreography has to be perfect.

Consider that a 30 second scene can take several days to film. (I know this from experience: I used to be a production assistant on film sets.) This scene is almost 3 minutes of continuous footage! In the world of film that's a lot! And this is way before the age of digital cinematography. Film was much harder to work with and much less forgiving than digital. And extended shots were usually used by more artistic directors like Alfred Hitchcock and Orson Welles. (The opening shot of Welles' Touch of Evil, for example.) It's pretty remarkable that director George Sidney chose to do a scene like this in a lighthearted Elvis movie. It's one of the most artistic moments in an Elvis film.

And Elvis is perfect in this scene. So good that I can't tell if he's singing live in the shot or not. Once he begins to actually sing it looks and sounds like he's singing live in the studio. I could be wrong. If he's lip-synching he's doing a remarkable job. (Compare this to his unenthusiastic attempts at lip-syncing in lesser vehicles.) If he is singing live then that would add to the difficulty of the shot.

Once Elvis starts singing, I actually believe his heartache. When Elvis tried he was actually a capable actor. Who knows how good he could have been if he had worked with the right director? I think the scene illustrates beautifully what might have been had Elvis been pushed in a better direction in his films.

Re: I Need Someone to Lean on

Wed Jan 09, 2013 8:31 pm

stevelecher wrote:Welcome back Doc. Glad to see you here.


Thank you, stevelecher.

Re: I Need Someone to Lean on

Wed Jan 09, 2013 8:32 pm

InheritTheWind wrote:I don't think Guralnick is overstating the value of this particular scene. Like he said, it's like no other moment in an Elvis film. And Elvis plays the scene beautifully.

For one thing, it's an extended take which is kind of like a high-wire act in film. Everyone involved in the film (director, actors, cinematographer, etc.) has to be perfectly in sync in order for the scene to work. The choreography has to be perfect.

Consider that a 30 second scene can take several days to film. (I know this from experience: I used to be a production assistant on film sets.) This scene is almost 3 minutes of continuous footage! In the world of film that's a lot! And this is way before the age of digital cinematography. Film was much harder to work with and much less forgiving than digital. And extended shots were usually used by more artistic directors like Alfred Hitchcock and Orson Welles. (The opening shot of Welles' Touch of Evil, for example.) It's pretty remarkable that director George Sidney chose to do a scene like this in a lighthearted Elvis movie. It's one of the most artistic moments in an Elvis film.

And Elvis is perfect in this scene. So good that I can't tell if he's singing live in the shot or not. Once he begins to actually sing it looks and sounds like he's singing live in the studio. I could be wrong. If he's lip-synching he's doing a remarkable job. (Compare this to his unenthusiastic attempts at lip-syncing in lesser vehicles.) If he is singing live then that would add to the difficulty of the shot.

Once Elvis starts singing, I actually believe his heartache. When Elvis tried he was actually a capable actor. Who knows how good he could have been if he had worked with the right director? I think the scene illustrates beautifully what might have been had Elvis been pushed in a better direction in his films.


What a terrific series of informed observations. I concur!

Re: I Need Someone to Lean on

Wed Jan 09, 2013 8:45 pm

Thanks, Doc! :D

Re: I Need Someone to Lean on

Wed Jan 09, 2013 9:30 pm

InheritTheWind:

Thanks for that post. I just rewatched the scene and I had never considered before that it was continuous and uncut. Technically, as you said, that is quite a scene to pull off, with the overhead shots and all. It's very nice and you are correct that Elvis does a great job of lip synching. That wasn't always true with every song they ever did in his movies. A great scene from a movie that is gaining some stature as the years pass.

Re: I Need Someone to Lean on

Wed Jan 09, 2013 9:56 pm

drjohncarpenter wrote:
JamesVRoy wrote:check this out on Peter Guralnick's new website
http://www.peterguralnick.com/post/40009387172/i-need-somebody-to-lean-on-elvis-viva-las-vegas


phpBB [video]



Wonderful blog, although not much written on that post as expected. Guralnick has an explicit "no copy" request, otherwise I'd share the paragraph here. Suffice to say, there's no doubt that Elvis' performance exudes the "quiet, earnest sincerity" in the best of his ballads, not to mention his blues, gospels and rockers. Peter does fail to mention how the song is a near-complete evocation of the midnight ballad style of the great Charlie Rich.

He's put up about a half-dozen pages since late November, check them out on the home page:

http://www.peterguralnick.com/

Thanks for the link, James.


What Rich ballads do you think it is close to? He is known purely for the 70s country material in the UK