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I've never been that big of an Elvis fan but "Jailhouse Rock" has got to be one of the worst movies I have ever seen. I understand why it was chosen...the change in the music of the 1950s & he was a huge musical star. OMG... this movie was bad! I suppose his movies got better with time & color but not by much. His popularity soared with his record sales but he really lacked in the acting department & the script was weak at best.

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I think this movie and a couple more of his early ones showed that Elvis could have been a decent actor. Don’t know if it was his army stint or Tom Parker or a combination that steered him to the fluff movies he ended up doing. 

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Some where Elvis got to act a little:

King Creole (my favorite, directed by Michael Curtiz)

Kid Gallahad

Flaming Star

Wild in the Country

Charro

Roustabout

Viva Las Vegas

 

Remember, Elvis's movie career was hamstrung by the con man and charlatan Colonel Parker who had a death grip on Elvis' creative choices. Elvis was never strong enough to go against the Colonel's wishes. He was even kept from touring overseas because, surprise, the Colonel couldn't get a passport, being in the US illegally.,

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I think it was tossed in simply to show the way Musicals were changing in the 1950’s. And as far as his movies well it was more to showcase his singing and they knew all his fans would pay money to see him dance and sing. No he was not a good actor but his fans did not care. So many ‘silly fun’ movies would come to light in the 50’s and 60’s. All the beach blanket bingo type movies and other than Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon singing they were on par with Elvis movies. Just fun silly musical movies for the teens of that era. It’s all a matter of preference at the time. 

 

 

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They were also relatively cheap to produce... minimal script, set was... a beach?  Or the local soda hangout.   They could shoot at existing locations and not have to build much.  With the emphasis on the musical numbers with teen singing stars, it didn't really matter.  

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I think the problem with "Jailhouse Rock" is that they tried to make it a serious movie with serious acting, and that was just not his strength. I don't dislike it, but I think the later films were better. Elvis was a great personality and  performer, not a great actor. Ridiculous bit of fluff that it is, I still prefer "Viva Las Vegas" to "Jailhouse Rock." That said, the title numbers in both are great.

 

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If MTV had existed back then do you think Elvis or beach movies would still have been made?  Outside of teen dance shows, principally American Bandstand, where could singers plug their songs?  Unless you had a dad with a TV show, like Ricky Nelson, or had your own show, like the Monkees or Patridge Family, the chances for national exposure were slim.  Possibly variety shows like Ed Sullivan, or the Smothers Brothers,  but that was for very popular, or politically relevant, acts. 

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6 hours ago, Pastiche said:

If MTV had existed back then do you think Elvis or beach movies would still have been made?  Outside of teen dance shows, principally American Bandstand, where could singers plug their songs?  Unless you had a dad with a TV show, like Ricky Nelson, or had your own show, like the Monkees or Patridge Family, the chances for national exposure were slim.  Possibly variety shows like Ed Sullivan, or the Smothers Brothers,  but that was for very popular, or politically relevant, acts. 

Radio. Every teenager had a transistor radio when I was young (around the time you are talking about) and that was where you heard the new songs and performers.

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Radio! From the introduction of the portable, battery-operated “transistor radio”, up until the arrival of the internet, radio was king. Everyone listened and that’s where pop stars were made in the 50s, 60s, 70s, and also somewhat the 80s. Less so after MTV, but radio still reigned over all until the advent of the internet. 

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Right, yes, radio.  I grew up with a transistor radio as well.  What I meant was, where could you visually see singers perform their songs, either pre-recorded or live? Locally there were State Fair appearances, radio station promotional events, and concerts.  But what other national opportunities?

I saw the show where Dick Clark introduced the Strawberry Fields/Penny Lane Beatles film clips. And they were weird: bearded Beatles and these disjointed images. According to  this article  the Beatles couldn't "perform" their songs:  

"The British Musicians Union had become sticklers about acts who “mimed” to their records on screen, and so the band took an alternate approach. 

“I was amazed to find that there was a ban in Britain which prevented the Beatles from miming to their record,”  said  Goldman, who has been inspired by Richard Lester and the band’s work in A Hard Day’s Night. “So I had to find settings and ideas which were sympathetic to their songs without turning them into comic actors.... We didn’t have a storyline as such. We were just trying things out, like changing the speed of the camera, and running the film backwards.”

The psychedelic film experiments – like cutting from day to night and having Paul leap into the dead tree by playing the footage backwards – reflected the Beatles’ studio experimentation on the song. The strange aesthetic would provide a window into the sort of music the band was exploring on its new recordings."

 

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As a kid I remember staying in the theater to watch repeated showings of Elvis's first film, "Love Me Tender". I sighed each time he came on the screen & cried each time he died.

That was then.

When I saw it on tv many years later,  I could barely watch his scenes between my open-fingered hands. It was actually uncomfortable, bordering on laughable & broaching pathetic to see his 'acting' again.

Some memories are best just left alone. :(

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