August 11, 2022 by Blogfinger
Paul Goldfinger, Editor. Blogfinger.net. 8/10/22
ELVIS is a new movie about the life and times of Elvis Presley. Under the marvelous direction of Baz Luhrmann, the film recreates the excitement and glitter, as well as the deep sadness, surrounding this great performer.
The creation of this movie is an unbelievable accomplishment by a director who is an expert at this sort of film. The life of Elvis who was a one-of-a kind entertainer leaps out at the viewer.
Elvis Presley was not only a spectacular performer onstage, but he was an accomplished song writer, show arranger, musician, singer, movie actor, and musical innovator of such magnitude that live audiences, mostly young women, would literally melt into hysterics at his feet, and ELVIS re-creates all that.
But, like so many such biopics. (eg Ray Charles and Johnny Cash), his life story in this film, from childhood to his early death, focuses too much time and energy on his addictions, marital problems, his crooked manager, his erratic personality and his life failures. But it does succeed, in a remarkable way, in capturing the glitz and glamor of his life as a performer.
In addition, ELVIS is too long; we watched it at home. ($25.00 to buy on Amazon.com.) We saw it in two parts.
All of this probably satisfies his many fans, but I was hoping for a more serious study of his artistry, music and how he created and innovated that Elvis personna.
Elvis Presley worked closely with other musicians and he was influenced by African-American stars including B.B. King and Fats Domino, and those interactions were fairly presented in the film. The movie also covered the deaths of the Kennedys and Martin Luther King, events that profoundly took their toll on Elvis.
Elvis wrote over 50 songs, but the movie fails to reveal much about that.
His roll in our society as an artist and as an influence on our culture was glossed over. If you are looking for a artistic point of view, which Elvis did achieve, you will have to read about it. There are a number of books about him.
One of my favorite aspects of ELVIS is the discovery of the new audio album where many of his songs were performed by him, but the amazing lead actor Austin Butler, did some of them, and other artists did also.
I find this collection of performers to be excellent. Note that the real Elvis’ voice changed over time, and some electronic geniuses were used to recreate that.
We can’t leave this review without mentioning Tom Hanks who did a brilliant recreation of Elvis’s long time manager Col .Tom Parker, and kudos as well to those makeup geniuses who transformed Hanks for this role.
AUSTIN BUTLER (who plays Elvis in the movie ) from the ELVIS music album: “Hound Dog.”
Wiki: “His recording of “Hound Dog” incorporated a fast tempo, prominent drumming, and a heightened vocal energy associated with the emerging Rock and Roll sound. As a white artist, Elvis released a version of “Hound Dog” that quickly reached the top of the R&B, Country, and Pop charts.”
My friends and I were caught up in the birth of rock and roll, but Elvis was in a place of his own apart from the Doo Wop crowd. One of my regrets is that we didn’t pressure the director of the Rutherford High jazz band to play something by Elvis. We did that on our own with our little 45 rpm machines at home. PG