RE-Thinking Elvis

I would like to see a movie that focuses on Elvis later years – Elvis and the Beauty Queen notwithstanding – but there needs to be a balance between the good and bad in terms of story – but the Don Johnson bio pic was a bad we all could have done without.


Don Johnson as Elvis


I think that no matter how much any person achieves and especially if they are admired, that they feel more like a fraud waiting to be exposed while imaging being a better, more powerful, more helpful or “whatever value they have” more than were they are in their life at any given point.

To us, Elvis seemed to have it all, to Elvis, not so much – and perhaps that cost of losing his Mom, never having a true partnership in any relationship, and generally being so out of everyone’s league and alone no matter what he accomplished was part of why drugs were an attractive escapism.

In the Million Dollar Quartet recordings, Elvis impersonates Ernest Tubb and sings a few lines of “I’m in a crowd and oh so alone.”
Elvis was rarely physically alone, but on many other levels, he was extremely isolated. Which is part of why he resonates so deeply – Elvis was a study of contrasting extremes – so can be referenced as an uplifting story of poor boy made good or a tragic figure of a successful person who burns out too early. And every story in between.


Elvis' first girlfriend and the marriage certificate he forged

Elvis’  adulthood was the polar opposite to his childhood where he was alone, isolated and girls didn’t give him the time of day, so fell for any girl who did – to rich, famous and girls loosing their minds over him making it impossible for him to choose.

Famine, Feast was the common theme of his life.
I think Elvis was at a critical time in the late 70’s, and, had he lived, he may well have made sweeping changes – he seemed to long to be able to help people on an individual level more than using entertainment to let people forget their troubles for a while.

Perhaps the childhood comic book heroes that inspired his clothing and his personality a lot are what later in his life, inspired all his roadside stops to break up fights or help at accident scenes.


Elvis and Captain Marvel Jr


The problem with focusing a movie on Elvis’ last years is that the events are more understandable in the context of understanding his childhood.

But neither his childhood or his final years have ever been fully explored as a film.

There’s thousands of books about Elvis – usually a life/career overview or focused on a particular aspect of Elvis’ story. But few really explore his formative or final years.

Perhaps that’s the movie we need to see to really begin to understand Elvis and why he impacts us so strongly decades after his death.