Saturday, September 15, 2007

DVD Pick:-->"King Creole" (1958)

"Well I wonder who knows...if anyone knows...
Where lovers go in their sleep.
And what if they meet. Dream the same street...
And she passes obliviously?"
Freedy Johnston

NO SPOILERS:
"King Creole" (1958) is the DVD pick this week. And NO, this is not the anniversary of Elvis' death. Or the anniversary of his birth. Or even of his first haircut.....ad nauseam. .....This is simply some tasty borderline film-noir. And it's good stuff!

In this movie, directed by Michael Curtiz (of legendary "Casablanca" fame), Presley is not especially likeable... nor is his character particularly sympathetic. But that is exactly why this film works. Curtiz obviously sees Elvis as an actor first, and a pop idol/singer, second. And this is perhaps the closest Elvis ever came to being taken seriously as a Hollywood actor.

Elvis still performs his proverbial musical numbers, of course...and they are arguably his strongest set. But more importantly...the songs are performed in context with the story rather than his usual "break-out-into-song-for-the-helluvit" manner as he was wont to do. Nicely done!

"King Creole" revolves around Danny (Elvis Presley), a hot tempered dropout with a heart...who lands himself a job as a singer in a New Orleans nightclub against his father's wishes. Danny soon gets dragged into the seedy side of the show business sewer and is forced to make a stand.

A young Walter Matthau is deliciously cast as a mob boss...and his performance is surprisingly dead-on. Very, very cool.
Boss Matthau & Elvis
And a tasty Carolyn Jones (nice legs and all) is the foible vixen and makes for some extremely good chemistry with ..."The King".

Finally...cult favorite Vic Morrow (stereotyped, again) portrays the delinquent street-rat. But...as always...Morrow brings his own shtick to the table. And he nails it!
Elvis & Carolyn Jones
Elvis would unfortunately never again have the opportunity to work with such a talented and colorful supporting cast. Nor would he ever get the chance to participate in such a dramatic and engrossing story. (Based on the Harold Robbins' novel, "A Stone For Danny Fisher.") And if only Col. Tom Parker had allowed Elvis to pursue more challenging roles like this one...
Good Stuff!

MUST SEE MOMENT:
Watch the strong acting performance Elvis delivers near the conclusion of the film.
Never has Elvis's potential been so apparent...as in this small scene.
Watch for the appearance of..."The Banana Girl". Double entendres abound.

Casey

Freedy Johnston is a songwriting treasure. Gorgeous voice. Unusual slants on familiar subjects. Small town boy made good. And I own every CD he has recorded. Good stuff!
Here is Freedy performing one (of his many) signature tunes.


For a most underrated gem of a CD to add to your collection...Pick up this offering by the fantastic Freedy Johnston!
Freedy Johnston:-->"Emily" (Blue Days Black Night) (1999) (Must Own)

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