Having never been a big Elvis fan, although admiring some of his music, I was expecting an entertaining but far from great movie. “Elvis,” with an incredibly strong breakout performance by previously little-known Austin Butler, debuted this past weekend with a $ 30 million box office. If it isn’t nominated for best picture this year, that will be a miscarriage of film justice.
Virtually the entire Presley family says it is an accurate biopic portrayal of the complex dynamic between Elvis and manager Col. Tom Parker, noted for taking significant financial abuse of the rock and roll king and perhaps contributing to his early death in 1977 at age 42.
Enough positives can’t be said about Australian director Baz Luhrmann’s artful weaving of this emotional story along with spectacular film editing making it difficult to turn away from the big screen. Wearing a fat suit, Tom Hanks advances a memorable Southern accent as Parker, whose eventual fate is a sharp contrast to Elvis’s musical immortality.
Parker was country star Hank Snow’s manager until hearing Elvis and jumping on a much more lucrative bandwagon. One of numerous little known aspects of Presley’s life brought to light in this exceptional film where Butler’s voice is used to sing early Elvis songs while the real Elvis’ voice is featured as the movie moves along in time. It’s a lengthy movie, two hours and 39 minutes, with filming in Australia interrupted by COVID for several months before finishing the $ 85 million production.
Four out of a possible four stars for “Elvis,” showing at Hutchinson’s B and B Theaters and worthy of movie-goers time even if they were never excited by Elvis’ gyrations and threats of jail time for what 50 years ago was considered obscene by some but hardly an eye-blink in today’s society.
Dan Deming, former general manager of Hutchinson radio station KWBW and former Reno County Commissioner, can be reached at 620-960-6733 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The opinions expressed in this column are that of the opinion writer and not necessarily The Hutchinson News.