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Elvis Cinema & Popular Culture Delayed

April 04, 2006 | Book
The release of the upcoming Elvis book "Elvis Cinema & Popular Culture" by Douglas Brode, has been delayed three months until 30 June 2006.


Though Elvis Presley’s music is widely credited as starting a sea change in American popular culture, his films are often dismissed as base marketing vehicles, commercially successful but insignificant. Beyond the formulaic plotlines and increasing reliance on weak songs, however, the films—and Elvis—serve as profound cultural touchstones, revealing changing American aesthetics more than a changing Elvis. Elvis’s rebel image in 1956, as a guitar-swinging incarnation of Brando or Dean, had by 1969’s Change of Habit become safe and sterile.

The book "Elvis Cinema And Popular Culture" demonstrates how Elvis, through his films, reflected a shifting social, cultural and political landscape in America. Encompassing all 31 movies and two 1970s documentaries, it provides a film-by-film study of Elvis Presley and America, and argues that each film reflects the society for which it was made. Throughout his career, most of Elvis’s characters combined rebellion with wholesome, traditional ideals, but the public’s perspective changed, and what was considered radical in 1954 was called reactionary by 1970. Studied sequentially, his films reflect those cyclical ideals, and unconsciously portray America’s process of renewal and redefinition of self.
Source:Elvis Information Network

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MauriceColgan wrote on April 06, 2006
Because of the impact of Elvis's first four movies, 1956 -1958 were perhaps the three most important years in the history of Rock 'n' Roll. The sheer excitement of the time was never again equalled. Never! Even the arrival of the Beatles some years later could not recapture the Golden Age of Rock 'n' Roll when the world was lit up by Bill Haley, Elvis Presley, Little Richard, Connie Francis, Brenda Lee, Chuck Berry, Rick Nelson, Buddy Holly, Gene Vincent, Fats Domino,The Platters, Eddie Cochran, Jerry Lee Lewis, Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers, and all the rest of the musicians and singerss who were involved in those early years of Rock 'n' Roll. Sadly, with a few notable exceptions, Elvis's later movies did not live up to expectations. Nevertheless they did (and still do) bring him to the attention of later generations. No wonder Elvis is on the cover of popular music magazines recently. Even here in Irelandtoo.
dismas wrote on April 08, 2006
I, for one, am very much looking forward to this new book. While he made some genuine clunkers during his film career -- name me a screen star who hasn't -- overall, Elvis' movies aren't nearly as bad as their detractors have portrayed them to be throughout the years. Quite the opposite, really. Granted they're usually slight and a bit on the fluffy side, but they're also mostly genuinely entertaining. Because his post-Army career took a far different path than the Fifties segment of his career (both on record and on film), a lot of people were upset and disappointed, if not flat out disgusted with the obvious mainstream commercial route opted for by Colonel Parker and (complicitly by) Elvis. The fact remains, however, that his career generally flourished for years while most of his Fifties contemporaries saw their fortunes fall. And besides, is there anything intrinsically wrong with aiming to please? With the relative failure of more serious efforts like "Flaming Star" and "Wild in the Country," and the booming success of light musical-oriented flicks like "G.I. Blues" and "Blue Hawaii," the Presley team was simply giving the people what they believed they wanted. I think it's about high time that the Elvis film legacy should be re-examined and reappraised. And I hope that Mr. Brode's new book simply represents the starting point of just such an Elvis film career re-evaluation and appreciation.