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Press Release Warner Archive Collection Announcement: Harum Scarum (1965) (Blu-ray) (1 Viewer)

John Hermes

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When you view the earlier pictures, like Kid Creole, you have to admit there was potential there, left unmined once the Parker influence kicked into high gear and Elvis pics became little more than juke box catalogs and travelogues, designed as mere tie ins to sell more albums.

Could Elvis have been as good as James Dean? We'll never know. He was working on it when his career was derailed by Parker and a system that just saw him as a meal ticket, capable enough to ring registers and fatten their coffers.

I enjoy some of the latter Elvis efforts, not as great acting or even good picture making, but just as a lot of disposable fun to be had by all. Blue Hawaii is one of my all-time favorites. Ditto for Viva Las Vegas. But I draw the line at pics like It Happened at the Worlds Fair, Double Trouble and Harem Scarem. Horrendous fluff. Not even the songs are memorable.
I could not disagree more than about It Happened At the World's Fair. I think that is a very good family movie with some fine songs. Elvis still had his awesome early 60's voice and a song like "They Remind Me Too Much Of You" shows that off as well as others.
 

Robert13

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I could not disagree more than about It Happened At the World's Fair. I think that is a very good family movie with some fine songs. Elvis still had his awesome early 60's voice and a song like "They Remind Me Too Much Of You" shows that off as well as others.
It is a wonderful family movie! I was very happy it got a BD release and pre-ordered as soon as I could. The transfer is also gorgeous on this one. The colors really pop! It's another feel-good movie from Elvis and I'll take all of the feel-good movies I can in the current climate of our world. Not to make this political at all... but I would choose a movie like IHATWF and feed myself some good feelings over absolutely anything that is considered a movie by today's standards.
 

timk1041

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When you view the earlier pictures, like Kid Creole, you have to admit there was potential there, left unmined once the Parker influence kicked into high gear and Elvis pics became little more than juke box catalogs and travelogues, designed as mere tie ins to sell more albums.

Could Elvis have been as good as James Dean? We'll never know. He was working on it when his career was derailed by Parker and a system that just saw him as a meal ticket, capable enough to ring registers and fatten their coffers.

I enjoy some of the latter Elvis efforts, not as great acting or even good picture making, but just as a lot of disposable fun to be had by all. Blue Hawaii is one of my all-time favorites. Ditto for Viva Las Vegas. But I draw the line at pics like It Happened at the Worlds Fair, Double Trouble and Harem Scarem. Horrendous fluff. Not even the songs are memorable.
You mean King Creole.
 

timk1041

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I could not disagree more than about It Happened At the World's Fair. I think that is a very good family movie with some fine songs. Elvis still had his awesome early 60's voice and a song like "They Remind Me Too Much Of You" shows that off as well as others.
"One Broken Heart For Sale" is a good tune too.
 

Nick*Z

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What's frustrating about Elvis is the almost instant and incredible downward spiral of his career prospects. That's not the same as profitability. Clearly, Elvis pics made money or no studio would have been eager to continue to employ him.

RE: the comment about 'other' stars making bad pictures too. That's not what we're talking about here. Every star who sticks around Hollywood long enough will make a stinker. That's just the nature of a career - ANY career! You can't always hit the bull's eye.

What's particularly tragic about Elvis' career is that, at least from an artistic standpoint, he never made a truly great picture after 1961's Blue Hawaii. Instead, his career was systematically being dismantled after the mid-fifties, the skew towards making him a predigested/presold product, manufactured with the consistency of a bottle of milk or orange juice, rather than cultivating his innate talent to broaden those horizons, which he so obviously possessed and could have done a lot more with, arguably, suppressed in the reshaping of that image.

RE: Robert 13's comments about 'good actor/bad actor' and some of us having a problem when stars don't give Oscar-winning performances. Rubbish! No one can ever confuse Elvis with Oscar-worthy. And that's not the argument or the focus here.

We have no barometer to gauge Elvis' potential as a contender for the little gold bald guy because he was stripped of even that opportunity to pursue the dream by Parker and studio-meddling, mismanaging his opportunities, merely to capitalize on his iconic success as an early rock n' roller.

Had Elvis begun life as a film star, not a rock star, he might have been able to turn that ship around. But the enticement of making movies merely to sell more gold records was too tempting. Even so, listening to 50's Elvis recordings is an entirely different experience than listening to Elvis' 60's catalog.

The homogenization of his skill, the decision to make him a more 'mom-friendly' and 'wholesome' guy, suitable for The Ed Sullivan Show really did wreck the raw throb of masculinity you hear in his voice in those early years and recordings. It's the un-refinement of that early tenure, the danger factor, that made him, Elvis Presley.

But the transformation, from 'hard-edged', hip-swiveling stud in a movie like Jailhouse Rock, to a pancake-made-up fashion plate who wanders through hapless fun in flicks like Spinout and Double Trouble, happens right around 1961. Elvis' last hurrah as an amiable all-American guy pretty much ends after Blue Hawaii. He then morphs into a more antiseptic congeniality.

And that's when you either have to go with the trade-off or recognize that the guy whose image you bought into in the fifties will never be the same again. Had either the plots or the songs of these disposable entertainments been even a couple of notches better, the legacy would have endured so the argument could be made about, good vs. bad.

You'll not find too many 'new' Elvis fans today who prefer 60's Elvis to 50's Elvis. Even on this forum, we're mostly apologetic rather than celebratory about our 'appreciation' of this latter-age stuff and fluff. And that's very telling about Elvis' post-50's legacy. Because we're fans, we accept it, we forgive it, and we run with it.

But that's not where Elvis, himself, actually wanted to be. His displeasure with the bulk of his movie career after 1961 is duly noted in studio memos, biographies, etc. from the period. He knew he was being sold as a prize bull, with a money counter around his neck. But contracts are contracts. And so, he went along with the status quo, while not particularly enamored with anything except, perhaps, the paycheck, which Parker took far too great a cut off the top.

Anyway, Elvis on film is problematic. Most of the movies don't hold up as anything except fan-based fun. If you love Elvis, you tolerate the movies and occasionally find nuggets of enjoyment in some of them to be mined with a warm, fuzzy feel good for the good old days. But if you're honest about even that nostalgia factor, then you have to admit, it could have been a lot better, and, realistically, is a lot less so than any of us choose to admit at a glance.
 

Keith Cobby

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I'm a casual Elvis fan, enjoy some songs and a few films. I think Viva Las Vegas is his best (paired with Ann-Margret), and like John Hermes and others, I really like It Happened at the World's Fair. Good songs and a vivacious leading lady in Joan O'Brien, and a brilliant ending which sums it all up, a real feel-good film.
 

Robert13

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RE: Robert 13's comments about 'good actor/bad actor' and some of us having a problem when stars don't give Oscar-winning performances. Rubbish! No one can ever confuse Elvis with Oscar-worthy. And that's not the argument or the focus here.
Ok, you got me. I won't enjoy his movies any longer because you say so. Happy? :rolleyes:
 

Nick*Z

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Ok, you got me. I won't enjoy his movies any longer because you say so. Happy? :rolleyes:
I don't know how you got this out of what I said.

Enjoy what you want. It's your time. Your interests. Your pleasure.

I'm happy if you're happy with the way you spend your time. Period.
No judgment call's been made on my part on what you should watch, how you choose to watch it, or even why you prefer it over something else I might consider more worthwhile - for me - not you - me.

Your comments were directly suggesting that I was somehow implying if any actor gives a performance most of us would not consider worthy of an Oscar (a horrendous barometer by which to judge artistic merit, by the way...just FYI) then somehow it was a colossal waste of anyone's time, and, a failure of effort on the part of the player who didn't get into contender status for the little gold bald guy.

Again, I don't know where this comment was coming from.

You are clearly a fan of Elvis movies. I am not...not most, anyway.

Never said there wasn't room for both. Never judged you for being a fan. Don't think less of you because you are one. Wouldn't want you to think less of me because I'm not.

Any inference beyond that has never been directly, indirectly or even remotely implied by me - not even through osmosis.
 

Robert13

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Your comments were directly suggesting that I was somehow implying if any actor gives a performance most of us would not consider worthy of an Oscar (a horrendous barometer by which to judge artistic merit, by the way...just FYI) then somehow it was a colossal waste of anyone's time, and, a failure of effort on the part of the player who didn't get into contender status for the little gold bald guy.

Again, I don't know where this comment was coming from.

You are clearly a fan of Elvis movies. I am not...not most, anyway.
I think my entire comment was entirely misunderstood. I never inferred it was a colossal waste of time nor a failure on the part of the player if any actor gives a performance that isn't considered Oscar-worthy. I was actually stating just the opposite... that if someone doesn't consider an actor's performance Oscar-worthy, it shouldn't deter from enjoying a film. How can an actor be a failure in their performance if I actually enjoy watching it. For me alone, it would be a successful performance. Elvis has NEVER disappointed me in his films. However, I DO believe with some audiences that it does, undoubtedly, deter from their enjoyment of a film because they spend so much time disliking anything that doesn't get the Oscar nod. Not directly pointing my finger at you because, honestly, I don't know you. LOL But there are audiences out there who do let "Oscar" tell them what's good and what's bad. I don't hold ANY regard for critically-acclaimed "Oscar-worthy" performances. Personally, I don't even think I own any major Oscar-winners in my collection.
 

moviefanatic1979

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I feel sorry for people watching "Oscar" movies only.
Doing so they'll miss thousands of great movies and/or performances.

I'm an Elvis fan. He never was Oscar material, but he had an easy going style and charisma which was an asset to those films.

I consider Pat Boone a much better actor. I've watched only April Love (1957) and State Fair (1962).
Boone's acting was natural and more at ease, compared to Elvis' self aware acting.

Saying that Presley's movie career was stuck in a rut, and all downhill, post Blue Hawaii is a major generalisation and misconception.

Follow That Dream (1962) is considered by many fans as one of his best movies, period. Especially among the 1960's movies. Cinematogrpahy was by the pro Leo Tover.

Roustabout (1964) has Elvis playing a tougher character remincent of 1950's characters in Jailhouse Rock and King Creole, though not equal to those.
This movie was shot on location with a top notch cinematographer in Lucien Ballard. Leif Erickson and Barbara Stanwyck was no slouches in the acting department either!
In addition to this: director John Rich was quite inventive in his directorial choices and was a more demanding director.

That's a couple of films worth mentioning.

Harum Scarum, though, is bottom of the barrell dreck. Not, even as an Elvis fan can I find much enjoyment in that movie.
It's a total bore. A few of the songs are good, but that doesn't help much.
The movie is statically filmed on the studio lot. Elvis looks bored too.
Mary Ann Mobley was beautiful, but that's it.
Sam Katzman, the producer, was called The King of the Quickies and it really shows in Harum Scarum.

The Sam Katzman stamp is all over Kissin' Cousins (1964) too, but I kinda enjoy that one.

Stay Away, Joe (1968) and Charro! (1969) is also the pits. I'm hard pressed to choose the worst between HS and Stay Away...
 
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Nick*Z

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I feel sorry for people watching "Oscar" movies only.
Doing so they'll miss thousands of great movies and/or performances.

I'm an Elvis fan. He never was Oscar material, but he had an easy going style and charisma which was an asset to those films.

I consider Pat Boone a much better actor. I've watched only April Love (1957) and State Fair (1962).
Boone's acting was natural and more at ease, compared to Elvis' self aware acting.

Saying that Presley's movie career was stuck in a rut, and all downhill, post Blue Hawaii is a major generalisation and misconception.

Follow That Dream (1962) is considered by many fans as one of his best movies, period. Especially among the 1960's movies. Cinematogrpahy was by the pro Leo Tover.

Roustabout (1964) has Elvis playing a tougher character remincent of 1950's characters in Jailhouse Rock and King Creole, though not equal to those.
This movie was shot on location with a top notch cinematographer in Lucien Ballard. Leif Erickson and Barbara Stanwyck was no slouches in the acting department either!
In addition to this: director John Rich was quite inventive in his directorial choices and was a more demanding director.

That's a couple of films worth mentioning.

Harum Scarum, though, is bottom of the barrell dreck. Not, even as an Elvis fan can I find much enjoyment in that movie.
It's a total bore. A few of the songs are good, but that doesn't help much.
The movie is statically filmed on the studio lot. Elvis looks bored too.
Mary Ann Mobley was beautiful, but that's it.
Sam Katzman, the producer, was called The King of the Quickies and it really shows in Harum Scarum.

The Sam Katzman stamp is all over Kissin' Cousins (1964) too, but I kinda enjoy that one.

Stay Away, Joe (1968) and Charro! (1969) is also the pits. I'm hard pressed to choose the worst between HS and Stay Away...
Yes, Pat Boone - definitely. I even like the remake of State Fair because Boone's in it. Wonderful performance. Great talent. I'd add Bernadine and Journey to the Center of the Earth among my favorites of his.
 

moviefanatic1979

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You mentioning it, I now remember that I have the Blu-ray of Journey to the Center of the Earth.
That's a great movie.

I'd like to watch Bernardine, but a quality release is nowhere to be found.
 

DarkVader

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This is an interesting conversation regarding Elvis' movie career and the dynamics of a rock star transitioning to films. His early films showed promise. His performance in "King Creole" is one of my favorites. I also enjoyed his performance in "Wild in the Country" - which as originally written was a strictly dramatic film. A couple of songs were added because the powers that be felt that the public only went to see an Elvis film to hear him sing, which is a shame. The songs they carelessly stuck in the film did nothing to enhance the story and were completely unnecessary. Bobby Darin, another recording star of the time was afforded greater opportunities on film. He went on to make some good films and stretched himself as a dramatic actor. His performance in "Pressure Point" opposite Sidney Poitier was riveting and unnerving. He even managed to score an Oscar nomination for his role in "Captain Newman, MD". His film debut in "Come September" is one of my favorites. If only Elvis had been given the same opportunities that were given to Darin or even Sinatra who knows what he could have accomplished as an actor on film.
 

moviefanatic1979

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Wild in the Country (1961) is a rare drama movie from Elvis.
Elvis could've done better in it, but he was quite green as an actor even this many films into his career.
Maybe it was a bit too challenging a role for Elvis.

He definitely pales beside Hope Lange.
She's one of my favourite actresses and seems so natural in her acting style. Her film output was limited, but she shines in every movie of hers that I've seen.

They had to change the depressing ending of the movie when fans didn't like it.
The re-shot ending rings a bit false, but it's uplifting.

I like the songs he performs and think they fit quite well. But, being an Elvis fan might color my opinion.
 

Ronald Epstein

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