I watched the movie “Jailhouse Rock” last night. It’s older and fun. I enjoy movies like that. I’m not a huge Elvis fan, even in the scheme of Elvis fans, but “Jailhouse Rock” is one of my favorite songs. One of the things I liked about the movie was Elvis, which might sound like a contradiction. One of the descriptions of the movie said this was a younger, more “dangerous” Elvis that won the hearts of many people. It was an early introduction to Elvis for a lot of people. I knew how much he influenced some other artists. I think it was also because I was fresh off of seeing “Nowhere Boy” and seeing how influenced John Lennon was by Elvis. There’s a scene where John and his mother are watching a news reel of Elvis and John just sits up. He wants that, everything Elvis was creating and embodying, the screaming girls, the swagger, the attention, the presence.
I hadn’t really seen any of Elvis. I was familiar with his music, but what made this guy the King? I think a lot of people my age are more familiar with the jokes and parodies of Elvis than actual Elvis. I’ve seen Bye Bye Birdie, which was influenced/a parody on Elvis. We’ve seen old Elvis in Las Vegas, impersonators and catchphrases, and people convinced he’s still out there. We forget he was one of the first of his kind. He was something different, a catalyst that set a whole new world in motion.
One of my favorite quotes about sex appeal is “Sex appeal is 50% of what you have and 50% of what people think you have,” said by Sophia Loren. Elvis owned that. I found myself thinking he is most unattractive attractive person and I cannot take my eyes off him and when he started to sing…There were some scenes where someone who is not a die hard fan like me goes,”Goodness.” Presence is such a gift. The hotness was also in the details. Little things. Little looks, a sigh, a murmur, him taking something in with his eyes.
I was startled by his gruffness. When I saw “this was a dangerous Elvis” I thought sure, in the cotton candy world of the ’50’s the man with the scandolous hips would have been deemed dangerous. But oh no, he was genuinely a bad boy in some scenes. I found myself going no you’re supposed to be a rebel in quotes, not genuine jerk. I know some punks that would name him their god of sneers and venom.
The movie also could have given birth to independent music. When no one will sign Elvis’ character, he creates his own label. I don’t think thatwas done too often when this movie was made. They then have to market it themselves, get it in stores, and on the radio. I enjoyed that part because that’s what my dad does. On his days off, he trucks into the city and gets the bands he represents into stores and venues that wouldn’t give them the time of day if they were late. There was something comforting about those scenes, like this is what you do.