I was completely stumped for an idea for this week’s theme this week. But as I walked past Scarecrow’s music section I found inspiration and on a whim picked Elvis Presley.

I won’t say that I was ever Elvis’s biggest fan though growing up on classic hits I certainly knew what I liked. As for his film career the only one I was really familiar with as it showed up in many of my movie textbooks was the first film on my list. Jailhouse Rock.

jailhouse_rock_60To my surprise Jailhouse Rock was nothing like what I expected. All I knew about it was the title song and the over the top performance with Elvis dressed in prison stripes dancing with his fellow prisoners. This turned out to be a scene near the end of the film with Elvis’s character Vince Everett in his first televised performance.

  What it turned out to be was a drama about a young man who learns how to be a musician during a stay in prison for manslaughter when he gets out he becomes an overnight sensation. The rest of the film deals with his rise to fame in fortune and the consequences this creates.

Elvis gives a surprisingly strong performance along with his great musical numbers but what I liked best was the supporting cast led by Judy Tyler, and Mickey Shaughnessy.

As I said Jailhouse Rock was the only Elvis film I had even heard of so for my second pick I pretty much went with the film with the songs I liked the best whether this was a good strategy is anyone’s guess. (a good friend of mine has been chastising for not picking Blue Hawaii.)

220px-Viva_Las_Vegas_1964_PosterAnyway in my second pick, Viva Las Vegas Elvis plays racecar driver Lucky Johnson who comes to Vegas to compete in the city’s first annual Grand Prix Race. This is complicated because his car needs a new engine and he looses the money while pursuing the hotel’s swimming instructor Rusty Margaret played by the wonderful Ann-Margret

Unlike Jailhouse Rock this is pretty much just a fun romp and a framing device for the musical numbers. This is definitely a double act with Ann-Margaret’s numbers being just as entertaining as Elvis’s. This is all done to the fantastic choreography of David Winters.