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Blue Hawaii - A Classic DVD Pick

By Staci Hermann/ SF Examiner, May 31, 2009 | Video

The most perfectly realized piece of pop culture confection is Blue Hawaii, the seminal Elvis Presley vehicle.

When looking back at his large catalog of mostly forgettable fluffy movies, usually the most recognizable are Love Me Tender, Jailhouse Rock, and Viva Las Vegas. Blue Hawaii, sadly, sometimes gets lost in the shuffle. But this movie expertly combines great music, gorgeous locales, and a fun story into a great cinematic experience.


Elvis plays Chadwick, a G.I. returning home to his rich family who own a pineapple plantation on the island of Oahu. All that poor Chadwick needs after returning from the service is to lie on the beach and play with the locals who understand his need for fast cars and loud music.
All his Southern Belle mother (played in great form by Angela Lansbury, who was probably only two years older than Elvis at the time) wants is for her Chadwick to stop hanging out with his “island girl” girlfriend, get a job at the family business, and give her some sugar on the cheek. Of course there is friction. Elvis at first hides from his family and his responsibilities, until his girlfriend Milea convinces him to get a job at the travel agency where she works. That is where the fun really starts.

Elvis’ first job is to show a smoldering hot teacher and her four teenage girl students around the island, which spells trouble. While crooning “Rockahula Baby” at a Luau and teaching the girls how to surf, one of the girls falls for Elvis while Milea gets her hackles raised. Many fun and innocent hi-jinks ensue.
Elvis is at his peak of physical attractiveness and the scenery is amazing.
The songs are absolute classics, the movie even has him singing “Fools Rush In” to Milea’s grandmother.

This is the best movie to introduce casual viewers to the magic that is Elvis Presley.

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circleG wrote on May 31, 2009
didn't he sing 'can't help falling in love' to her grandmother ? I always thought that scene as odd as he really should have sung it to Milea. I read that E and Joan Blackman didn't get so maybe 'fools rush in' may have been more suitable ...
RonBaker wrote on May 31, 2009
Sorry to disagree, but this is one of my least favorite Elvis films. The 'acting' is way over the top from Angela Lansbury, the story seems to have been thrown together around the edict to put in 14 songs. Song after song...little room for the story that's strung along between musical passages. Elvis looks bored. Filming the concert he gave in Hawaii and releasing it theatrically would have been less expensive and far more worthy of Elvis' talents. On the other hand, this movie is probably responsible for the Frankie and Annette beach movies...Plus side...we get to see Annette in a bikini...minus side...we get to see Frankie Avalon.
Steve V wrote on May 31, 2009
I once approached Angela Lansbury to have her sign a photo from Blue Hawaii. She did so begrudgingly saying it was the low point in her career. She is probably right. I can't watch this film anymore for more than 10 minutes.
Danny_F wrote on May 31, 2009
It's had a bit of a bashing of late so i wont carry on with the negativity. Everybody has their favourites but to describe the songs as classics is stretching it a bit. Surely those fans who love it wouldn't rate them as classics.
Natha wrote on June 08, 2009
Most of the movies are to be seen as musicals, rather than serious movies. Unfortunately, yes. I also think Elvis deserved better. On the other hand it might have contributed to what came after that. His Come Back special etc. I don't watch his movies regularly, but when I do (apart from a few) it is just for the fun and relaxation. At least there is no violence in it. A nice break, in my humble opinion. And in that same line I must add that to me Lansbury is also not a worthwhile actress anyway; not in this movie and also not later on. Every one his/her taste. And so goes for these movies. Indeed, DannyF, no need to bash or being negative.
Steve V wrote on June 08, 2009
Angela Lansbury NOT a worthwhile actress? She has 33 nominations across the boards for Oscar, Tony, Golden Globe, Emmy with several wins (just won the Tony again last night for new Broadway play). Wow, I am truly amazed at some of the comments I read on this site. Watch the Manchurian Candidate (1962) with her & Sinatra, then tell me she is not worthwhile. Elvis' film career might have gone in this direction if not for the fat man.
Deke Rivers 6 wrote on June 20, 2009
It wasn't very gracious of Miss Lansbury to make such a comment,my estimation of her has diminished somewhat after her comment. Not a great film by any means,but the music is reasonable "Beach Boy Blues" "Rock A Hula Baby" Elvis danced well to this.
Steve V wrote on June 20, 2009
Deke - I dont it was a put down of Elvis. She never even mentioned him, but from a trained actor's perspective you cant argue with her statement. Out of all the films she's been in she probably finds this one the least satisfying from a cinematic point of view. Some of the acting is very bad as is the plot. I don't think she was considering Beach Boy Blues, and other 'other' reasonable music as you mentioned. Its a film I cant sit thorough myself anymore either.