Elvis Birthday Collection
7 Movies on 7 Discs, released on June 1, 2010
Love Me Tender
Classic brother goes away to war and comes back to find his girlfriend married to...Elvis. Through a misunderstanding, the brothers fight over the girl. Elvis's first movie is also the only movie where he didn't get top billing, didn't get the girl, and didn't have a happy ending. Gotta start somewhere, right? I watched this film first and movie by movie, I realized how awesome this one was by comparison since it had the most actual acting in it. Elvis got MAD! Elvis was in love! Elvis's heart was torn out and he went on the road for vengeance! This is the best of the group so check this out.
Wild in the Country
Elvis is a player who courts three different women over the course of the film, but is really in love with his therapist helping him with anger management issues. His issues lead him to punch a man in the nose, killing him. He faces trial where the psychiatrist is exposed trying to help him. He is very moody here and jumps around between different women unable to make up his mind, but there is just no emotional connection here for the audience in this strange melodrama.
This is another one of the better movies of the group where Elvis since he has a great tan plays a guy descended from a white man and an Indian (not PC, but as they call it in the movie) woman and has to figure out what side to choose when both factions go to war in his local area. There is a lot of back and forth here as one side does something bad so he sides with the other and then the reverse happens. Several main characters get taken out affecting our main character emotionally and again, Elvis actually gets to ACT. There is a song early on during a surprise birthday party so he can at least get one in, but it doesn't fill his usual quota with this movie's refreshing focus on story and not just showcasing the talent's musical ability.
Elvis is a ski instructor who falls in love with a girl who has come to Miami specifically to land a rich man. Can he fix up a broken boat and win the race and her attention to show her there is more to life than money? Elvis sings to little kids about confidence on the playground, picks up a guitar and parties down at the Clambake, and has a group of scantily clad girls come help him repair the boat while singing and dancing. His best friend is a player who courts every girl with nice legs because he is rich. This whole movie is definitely light fare! It's so flighty and ridiculous at times, Elvis himself looks slightly tired of it.
Follow That Dream
Elvis in this film is such a good ol' boy that he almost seems mentally handicapped. He and a host of other orphans have been adopted by this man and are squatting on some beautiful land that they feel they have the right to as a homestead. The logic is bewildering. People in town try to break up this happy family with different legal tactics including trying to prove the old man an unfit father. Elvis is practically an adult and is proud to recite his times tables for a social worker while she attempts to seduce him and he doesn't really catch on. Elvis is pigeon-holed into becoming a sheriff (?!?!?!) and when local mafia hoodlums try to put the hurt on him, he accidentally beats them all up. After a "Mr. Smith Goes To Washington" type day in court, good prevails though for the life of me, I couldn't figure out why. It boggles the mind! This plot was out there.
"Kid Galahad" gives Elvis his early Rocky moment as a gallant fellow picked up and trained to be a boxer with some animosity between him and his boss when he wants to marry the boss's sister. This is one of the better movies in the collection even if the timeline isn't always clear on when the next match is and when is the last match Kid Galahad intends to box in. Elvis is surrounded by a better troupe of actors than usual and characters who are willing to stand up for him and bleed for him instead of kicking him down. This is also one of Elvis's better falling-in-love sequences and is more believable than some of the others. Songs are more naturally laced in throughout as Elvis sings along amazingly well with the radio while driving in the car.
Frankie and Johnny
This one I couldn't even finish. Elvis and a friend of his are gamblers and need to go to counseling but both just keep bumming money of each other and their significant others for the next big bet. Elvis's character decides he needs his fortune read by a gypsy who tells him a certain red-headed woman will bring him luck. Unfortunately that woman is married to someone ELSE, uh-oh! That doesn't stop him from trying to get her to blow on his dice. He is also a performer for this establishment so there are several campy numbers with various women that get old FAST.
The only disc with bonus features besides trailers for these movies is "Love Me Tender." The features explore Elvis as a movie star and the impact the song "Love Me Tender" had on Elvis's career and people who had written him off for his inappropriate dancing and lyrics found a reason to consider him a good ol' boy and got him recognized by established artists like Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra. His manager, The Colonel had an exploitative relationship with Elvis and also was a brilliant merchandiser and negotiator. Fascinatingly, "Love Me Tender" cost $1 million to make...and the film recouped those expenses in three days once it was released. What a big push off for his movie career!