Rock ‘n’ roll icon Elvis Presley made 31 movies between 1956 and 1969, of which 27 were produced in the 1960s. Almost all of Presley’s movies have been box-office smashes that made him, his supervisor and film studios a lot of money. However, these movies have been critically derided, and Presley disdained most of them. After he left Hollywood behind, he said in personal, “It was just that Hollywood’s image of me was wrong, and I knew it and couldn’t say anything about it.”
When Did Elvis Go to Hollywood?
By 1956, Elvis Presley had change into a musical phenomenon. Amid screaming, adoring followers, he’d ushered in a brand new period of rock ‘n’ roll. He had hit information, and his tv appearances have been scores bonanzas. Putting Presley in motion pictures was the following logical step.
Presley was excited about Hollywood. He’d grown up watching motion pictures and, impressed by singers who’d transitioned into movies like Bing Crosby and Dean Martin, dreamed of film stardom. He told Life journal, “I want to become a good actor because you can’t build a whole career on just singing. Look at Frank Sinatra. Until he added acting to singing, he found himself slipping downhill.”
Presley’s first screen test came about in April 1956. It didn’t display a lot uncooked appearing expertise, however that did not preserve his supervisor, Colonel Tom Parker, from touchdown Presley a take care of Paramount Studios. The contract additionally reserved Presley’s proper to work with different film studios.
Presley made his movie debut in Love Me Tender (1956), a Civil War western. He took the job critically sufficient to memorize the whole script earlier than taking pictures. The film grew to become successful and was shortly adopted by different movies, together with Jailhouse Rock (1957).
Elvis Leaves Hollywood for the Army
In 1957, the U.S. Army drafted Presley. He was in a position to delay his enlistment to complete King Creole, a movie during which he portrayed a younger singer who should overcome poverty and arranged crime.
Presley was concerned that being away within the military would harm his profession. Parker, his supervisor, reassured the star: “Elvis, you have records that haven’t been released and a movie in the can. We can stretch out the product we have. There’ll be a certain dark period, but that will only double the demand for your records and movies once you get out of the service.”
In March 1958, Presley started serving within the military. In the meantime, his motion pictures helped preserve him within the public eye. King Creole was launched in 1958, then was re-released along with Love Me Tender in 1959. And whereas Presley was in Germany, he got the script for his subsequent film, G.I. Blues (1960). Producer Hal Wallis additionally organized for footage to be filmed in Germany—although Presley himself did not movie any scenes.
Elvis Returns to Hollywood
After Presley’s discharge in 1960, Parker wanted the star to deal with motion pictures, which provided the most important paychecks. The solely query was: What form of movies was Presley going to make? He’d acquitted himself well in King Creole. Costar Walter Matthau later said, “He was intelligent enough to understand what a character was and how to play the character simply by being himself through the means of the story.”
For the 1960s movie Flaming Star, Presley took on a role that had been written for Marlon Brando and delivered a respectable performance as a half-white, half-Indian man. After making Flaming Star, Presley said, “I’d like to do a little more of a serious role. Because my ambition is to progress as an actor.”
However, Flaming Star was not as profitable as G.I. Blues, which got here out the identical yr. As a end result, Parker encouraged Presley to deal with the profitable film formula that known as for him to sing in varied unique places; this resulted in a huge success with Blue Hawaii (1961).
Elvis Was Disappointed by His Films
Presley was conscious that footage like Girls! Girls! Girls! (1962) weren’t nice cinema and dubbed his movies “travelogues.” He wanted higher roles, however Parker reportedly turned down elements in motion pictures resembling West Side Story and Midnight Cowboy. However, Presley never took appearing classes and was maybe not fully targeted on altering the arc of his profession.
Presley continued to seem in formulaic motion pictures, for which the studios paid him properly. He earned $500,000 or more per image and a proportion of the online earnings. The lackluster Kissin’ Cousins (1963), which starred Presley in twin roles, demonstrated that an Elvis movie would earn cash even when manufacturing was rushed. The film shot in 17 days below the aegis of a producer nicknamed “King of the Quickies.”
Though nonetheless a part of the “Elvis genre,” Viva Las Vegas (1964) was a higher-quality affair. However, that shoot ran lengthy, which minimize into the film’s earnings. After this, Parker pushed for short productions, with simply two or three weeks of filming, as a result of it boosted the underside line. This resulted in footage like Harum Scarum (1965), which exhibitors deemed “Presley’s worst movie yet” (and that was with out the speaking camel that Parker had unsuccessfully tried so as to add to the movie). Still, being seen as a nasty film did not stop it from being profitable.
Elvis Movies Made Hollywood Money
Presley’s motion pictures carried out so properly that they spared the studio Allied Artists from chapter. Producer Wallis additionally mentioned Presley’s movies have been bankrolling extra “artistic pictures.” Presley didn’t like listening to this, however he needed Hollywood money to fund his life-style.
Hollywood had Presley compromise his artistic integrity in different methods. Though he made a number of non-film recordings, most of his musical expertise was used to create soundtracks with subpar songs. He stopped giving live performances round 1961. As rock music changed in the 1960s with the Beatles, the Beach Boys and Bob Dylan, Presley’s creativity floundered.
In 1965, Presley met with the Beatles. In one model of their encounter, John Lennon asked, “Why don’t you go back to making rock ‘n’ roll records?” Presley supposedly answered, “It’s my movie schedule. It’s so tight.”
Why Did Elvis Stop Acting?
By 1968, box-office income declined as audiences lastly uninterested in Presley’s low-quality movies. Presley, who’d change into dissatisfied along with his Hollywood profession, told Parker he wished to re-focus on music. In December 1968, Presley’s TV Christmas particular demonstrated the expertise and musical skill that had made him a star within the first place.
Change of Habit (1969) was Presley’s last characteristic movie. He was later offered a starring function reverse Barbra Streisand in A Star Is Born (1976), however the half fell via. It’s uncertain what precisely went incorrect; in a single model of the story, Parker undermined his star by making unreasonable calls for.
Presley spent a lot of the 1970s singing to devoted crowds. Yet as the last decade progressed, there have been increasingly more cancellations. Presley died on August 16, 1977 on the age of 42. His time spent in Hollywood, good and dangerous, is now one of many methods his legacy lives on.
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