Movie Review: ‘Elvis’

Posted 7/1/22

Elvis, a terrific film, tells the story of the legendary artist through the eyes of his mentor and manager, Col. Tom Parker (Tom Hanks).

Starting out in the carnival business, the immigrant Parker …

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Movie Review: ‘Elvis’

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Elvis, a terrific film, tells the story of the legendary artist through the eyes of his mentor and manager, Col. Tom Parker (Tom Hanks).

Starting out in the carnival business, the immigrant Parker moved into the country music business, working with Hank Williams. Looking for a novelty act to “bring in the young folks,” he goes to see a young Elvis Aaron Presley (Austin Butler).

“In a flash of lightning I watched that boy in the pink suit transform into a superhero.”

Elvis mesmerizes the audience, especially the women, with both singing and movement.

“I don’t know nothing about music, but I could see in the girls’ eyes he was the forbidden fruit. He was the best carnival attraction I’d ever seen. He was my destiny.”

Flashbacks reveal Elvis’ growing up poor in Memphis, Tennessee, raised by a single mother and falling in love with “Beale Street” music, African American jazz. “He was running from the day he was born. I just opened the door,” Parker recalls.

With one hit record after another, Parker is a master at marketing, including with “I Hate Elvis” buttons, which are huge sellers. There is a petition to bar Elvis and his gyrating hips from television.

“Elvis a pelvis, one of the most childish expressions I’ve ever heard,” the young man says.

There is a short-lived attempt to create a “family Elvis” without dancing. “The way you sing and move is God-given, so there can’t be anything wrong with you,” his mother, Gladys (Helen Thomson), tells him.

Elvis defies the Colonel and gyrates onstage, causing the audience to go out of control and riot. To keep him out of jail, it is agreed that Elvis go into the army for two years.

“Let them cut your hair. Show them you’re a clean cut All-American boy. When you come back, you’ll have your pick of pictures.”

When his mother dies, Elvis is consoled by Parker.

“Whatever she would have done for you, I will do,” he says. “I protected Elvis, even from himself.”

The Colonel guides Elvis to becoming the highest paid star in Hollywood history. He is also accused of fraud and mismanagement.

“With all the people around him, the money would just melt away.”

The film charts Elvis’ meteoric rise and his career detours against the turbulent times, including the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy, and his cultural influence as one of the most popular entertainers in history.

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