HomeMovieKurt Russell Excels as “Elvis” 1979

Kurt Russell Excels as “Elvis” 1979


Kurt Russell, within the function that modified his profession: 1979’s “Elvis.”

Elvis
was a career-changer for Kurt Russell for a number of causes. First, this was
Russell’s huge dramatic break as an grownup actor. Like Ron Howard, Kurt was a
fashionable baby and teenage actor, and each moved on to grownup roles, however forged as
bland boyish sorts. Nicely, after Blissful
Days
Ron Howard discovered his comfortable ending in directing. And after a slew of TV
roles in cop exhibits and westerns, Kurt Russell was forged by director John
Carpenter in Elvis. Raves for Russell
as The King of Rock then paved the way in which for his film profession. Kurt and Carpenter
went on to work in 4 function movies collectively, together with the cult basic, Escape from New York. Lastly, Russell
and Season Hubley met on the set of Elvis
and married shortly afterward, for 4 years.

I’ve
learn whereas John Carpenter was excited by the prospect of constructing the Elvis
Presley story, he was disenchanted by the shortage of inventive management he had over
the undertaking. Whereas his Halloween was
a shock film smash, apparently it didn’t translate to community TV. ABC and
their long-time artist/producer Dick Clark have been in cost and possibly
answerable for a few of the extra questionable decisions concerning this three hour
TV movie. Nonetheless, Elvis was such a
scores smash that it was later launched abroad as a function movie.

Kurt Russell labored with the actual Elvis Presley in “It Occurred on the World’s Truthful.”

Whereas
there’s rather a lot to love about this Elvis,
there are undoubtedly shortcomings. The primary challenge is that this telling is
overly discreet in delving into Presley’s private points.  As a highschool grad the yr Elvis died in
’77 at age 42, I recall how shocked the general public was by Presley’s sudden loss of life.
Sure, there had been hypothesis about Elvis’ bodily look the final
a number of years of his life. Elizabeth Taylor Warner was taking place the identical path
throughout this era, however the public simply chalked it as much as fried rooster and Jack
Daniels. And whereas the press was far much less hands-off towards public figures
post-Watergate, we didn’t have social media and cell-phone cameras documenting
their each transfer. So, it was a double whammy when Presley handed, that his big
prescription drug dependency was then revealed.

Kurt Russell as Las Vegas Elvis, the place the movie begins and ends.


There’s
no point out of Presley’s drug downside in Elvis.
Carpenter cleverly makes allusions to it by means of his mom Gladys. She suffered
from despair, drank and took drugs to calm her nerves. Gladys died at 46
when Elvis was simply 23. Many, together with myself, imagine this was an enormous blow
that altered his life. Gladys died Aug. 14, 1958; Elvis died Aug. 16, 1977 at
age 42.

Kurt Russell in a scene as Elvis Presley, with little Lisa Marie.


A
criticism leveled on the 2022 Elvis
is that it doesn’t cope with Presley’s later ladies. Neither does this model,
which awkwardly ends along with his 1970 dwell performing comeback. Additionally, I’m undecided
why nation/Elvis tribute performer Ronnie McDowell was chosen to sing for the
Elvis soundtrack. Was this over doable authorized points with document corporations or
supervisor Colonel Tom Parker? McDowall does a high quality job imitating him, however most of
the time you’re conscious it’s not Presley singing.

Kurt Russell as pre-stardom Elvis Presley, with lighter hair.


Of
course, Kurt as Elvis IS the present. And I’d give Russell an A- as Elvis. Kurt
Russell is likely one of the most participating of actors, so he’s good for Presley, who
was famend for his heat and appeal. His first time up at bat in a giant dramatic
function, and Kurt just about hits it out of the park. In a difficult function that would
come throughout like an impersonator, Russell brings his sincerity to the function of
Elvis. Presley was open in his feelings as a household man and entertainer, and
Russell embraces this wholeheartedly. His personal boyish humor matches Presley’s.
Kurt additionally has the benefit of wanting a very good bit like the actual Elvis, with the
similar primary construct. When Kurt’s Elvis dyes his hair jet black, the impact is
placing. And later, Russell fills out the required jumpsuit simply high quality.

Kurt Russell as Elvis in motion. 


The
movie’s stylists do an excellent job in creating Kurt’s look as Presley, going from
soiled blond rockabilly to Hollywood GI to ‘60s famous person. They solely get forward
of themselves once they have Kurt wanting like huge hair and shades Elvis when
he’s nonetheless in late ‘60s mode, when he and Priscilla are first married.

Kurt Russell as Elvis at Graceland.


On
the minus aspect, Russell’s musical impersonation of Elvis does go away a bit to be
desired: energetic however unmusical, clearly lip-synching, and sporting fairly
pretend guitar strikes. A lot of that is hidden with digital camera angles, in order that helps. To
everybody’s credit score, this movie was shot in 30 days, in contrast to the newest “Elvis”
extravaganza. He additionally didn’t have the musical background of the present Elvis, Austin Butler, or the equal time
to musically hone his Presley. Curiously, the ’79 Elvis runs simply 10 minutes longer than the 2022 Elvis! Total, Kurt Russell offers one
of probably the most plausible Elvis Presley display performances.

Bing Russell as Elvis’ dad Vernon Presley was Kurt’s real-life father.


Most
of the casting is sort of good. Veteran character actor Bing Russell is the
long-suffering Vernon Presley, who occurs to be Kurt’s dad! And he offers a
strong efficiency. Shelley Winters is completely forged as Gladys Presley. Winters
is extra restrained right here than different roles of this era. Her trademark doleful
demeanor and woeful, whining supply are good for Gladys, who suffered a
lot in her brief life and located Elvis’ cataclysmic fame laborious to take. Shelley
additionally brings working class heat to her awe at Elvis’ lavish presents and their
new house at Graceland. Winters and Russell’s mother-son scenes collectively are a
spotlight.

Shelley Winters is well-cast as Elvis’ mom, Gladys Presley. With Kurt Russell.


 What a disgrace that Pat Hingle has so few scenes
as Colonel Tom Parker. Hingle, usually forged because the crass villain, is used for
that persona, apparently. I’m certain the producers knew in the event that they went too far in
depicting Parker, they’d have a regulation go well with on their arms.

A missed alternative: Pat Hingle as Colonel Tom Parker, who was diminished
to a cameo. That is most likely as a result of Elvis’ notorious supervisor was nonetheless alive!


‘80s
actor Robert Grey, who performs life-time Presley pal Pink West, is superb right here.
Joe Mantegna has one among his first roles as highway supervisor Joe Esposito. Ellen
Travolta is the gal at Solar Information who believes in Elvis. Ed Begley, Jr. is
musician D.J. Fontana. And Breaking Away’s
Dennis Christopher has a cameo as actor Nick Adams.

Season Hubley as Priscilla Presley, who did not get the identical makeover as Kurt Russell
did portraying Elvis!


Nevertheless,
Season Hubley is tough to imagine as Priscilla for a similar purpose the present
actress, Olivia DeJonge, who performs her now: each are slim and angular, the place as
younger Priscilla was curvy and mushy, very Elizabeth Taylor-esque. And the
stylists, who get Russell’s Elvis
fairly nicely, again off on the large hair and make-up that Priscilla wore at
Presley’s request. So it’s laborious to purchase Hubley as Elvis’ child doll bride. Plus,
she appears uptight all through, whereas the actual Priscilla appeared extra laid again
in images and movies. Additionally, each Hubley and Russell have been 27 once they performed
the Presleys. The distinction was Priscilla was simply 14 when she met Elvis, who
was then 24. So Hubley in a pinafore is a little bit of an eye fixed roll.

Hubley because the 14-year-old Priscilla Presley, pinafore and all.


Some
of the scenes in Elvis drag on a lot
longer than they should. An ideal instance is when Hubley’s Priscilla makes it
plain to Russell’s Presley that she will be able to dwell on her personal, if want be. That is
adopted by a scene together with her training karate by herself. This scene capper
doesn’t construct in any respect, it simply goes on and on, and at last simply goes to the following
scene.

There’s
most likely by no means going to be the definitive Elvis Presley movie. To inform the entire
fact, it’s going to take a significant documentary or mini-series about Elvis. In
the meantime, the 2022 Elvis provides a
visible wow about Presley the performer who acquired crushed beneath stardom, and the
1979 Elvis is extra a straight up however
muted take a look at the lifetime of Elvis. Backside line, each movies boast two high quality Elvis Presleys.

An important shot of Kurt Russell as early Elvis Presley.


Right here’s
a tribute I wrote about Elvis Presley and one among his finest automobiles, Loving You:
https://ricksrealreel.blogspot.com/2019/08/elvis-presley-fans-still-loving-you-1957.html

 

The three hour TV movie was such successful that it was launched theatrically abroad.

 

 

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