In honor of The King and what could have been – what should have been – his 87th (!!) Birthday this month, may I suggest one and all hook to your platform of choice to immediately watch Any or All of…
Gary Pig Gold’s Top Ten Elvis Movies
1. THAT’S THE WAY IT IS (dir. Denis Sanders, 1970)
The even bigger Comeback Special!
2. KING CREOLE (dir. Michael Curtiz, 1958)
In which our hero was undoubtedly very well on his way to establishing a bright, promising, positively fulfilling big-screen career …until, that is, the U.S. Army (among other things) forever derailed things.
3. JAILHOUSE ROCK (dir. Richard Thorpe, 1957)
No, of course Elvis didn’t “invent” rock ‘n’ roll. But he did invent what it was to be a rock and roll STAR. And his choreography for the title track alone absolutely led directly towards MTV …though, as the saying goes, please don’t hold that against him.
4. ELVIS ON TOUR (dir. Robert Abel, Pierre Adidge, 1972)
If only for a certain hunka hunka shockingly “candid” footage from the back of a limo …which I believe ended up in that posthumous This Is Elvis doc instead.
5. VIVA LAS VEGAS (dir. George Sidney, 1964)
But! Am I the only cinéast out there who firmly believes Donna “Elly May” Douglas played a much luckier leading Elvis lady in Frankie and Johnny than Ms. Olsson ever did in Vegas ??
6. GIRLS! GIRLS! GIRLS! (dir. Norman Taurog, 1962)
Although it also delivered “Return to Sender,” for some reason it’s one of these girls’ wholly Fellini-worthy “The Walls Have Ears” scene I keep rewinding back to.
7. EASY COME, EASY GO (dir. John Rich, 1967)
Similarly, the “Yoga Is As Yoga Does” sequence remains as utterly eye- and ear-boggling today as it must have played during that otherwise supple Summer of Love.
8. FUN IN ACAPULCO (dir. Richard Thorpe, 1963)
This particular patently-packaged “Elvis travelogue” (as most of his subsequent films would soon be categorized) I hold in a purely sentimental soft spot as, double-billed with Follow That Dream – or was it Annette in Beach Party ? – my Cub Scout pack was marched to the neighborhood B-movie palace to view as a Christmas present late in ’63.
9. PARADISE, HAWAIIAN STYLE (dir. Michael D. Moore, 1966)
Featuring [sic?] that bit with E.P. trying to pilot a helicopter whilst feeding Bowser Biscuits™ to a herd of ballbusting pooches …and Julie Parrish. Unless I’m imagining things. Hopefully though, this wasn’t the day Herman’s Hermits, of all people, visited the set.
10. DOUBLE TROUBLE (dir., you guessed it, Norman Taurog, 1967)
No, this isn’t the one displaying twin Elvii courtesy of the miracle of split screen (and blonde wigs). That’s Kissin’ Cousins. But D.T. does contain Elvis’ appropriately back-o-the-poultry-truck rendition of “Old MacDonald Had A Farm,” one of the stand-out tracks on a favorite bootleg which decorum prevents me from ever repeating the name of here.