Director: John Carpenter
Writer: Anthony Lawrence
Cast: Kurt Russell, Ronnie McDowell, Shelley Winters, Bing Russell, Robert Gray, Season Hubley, Pat Hingle, Melody Anderson, Ed Begley Jr., James Canning, Charles Cyphers
Seen on: 22.5.2016
[During the Carpenter retrospective, they did show Elvis as well, but unfortunately, they were only able to get a print of the German version that was cut from a length of 160 minutes down to a sleek 100 minutes. And since Maynard does own the DVD with the entire film in English, we decided to do a private screening instead – so that’s the version I saw.]
Elvis (Kurt Russell, with Ronnie McDowell singing) dreams of becoming a musician. Born in poor circumstances and without connections, he doesn’t stand that much of a chance. But when he goes to record a song for his mother (Shelley Winters), the studio is impressed by his voice, hearing the gospel background he comes from (and that comes without him being black). From there, his rise is quick and very high, but it does come with its dark sides as well.
The film was made only very shortly after Elvis’ death and it shows in its unfiltered adoration of Elvis that doesn’t really dare to go near the darker chapters of his biography – like the drug use. That means that the film becomes overly sweet and remains oddly flat in places. Nevertheless it wins with the amazing performance by Kurt Russell and Ronnie McDowell’s great singing.