THE KING. 2018. Unorthodox Doc about Elvis

Smaller films and documentaries.

THE KING. 2018. Unorthodox Doc about Elvis

Joe Stemme
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Joined: July 16th, 2013, 6:38 pm

July 2nd, 2018, 6:49 pm #1

Unorthodox documentary not so much "about" Elvis Presley, but about how Elvis affected --and was affected by -- American culture. The gimmick Director Eugene Jarecki employs is that he purchased Elvis' actual Rolls Royce, and then films interviews of a wide variety of folks in that vehicle as it travels across the places that Elvis himself stayed at various points in his life, from his hometown in Tupelo Mississippi to Memphis (although, curiously, Graceland is barely mentioned) and places in between.


Even though Jarecki doesn't give us a straightforward biography of Presley, THE KING does a pretty fine job of covering the bases, even if indirectly. The most effective part of the Doc comes early on in a discussion of whether Elvis was a cultural appropriator of black music, culminating in his early crowning as The King Of Rock And Roll. The movie gives a fair-minded balance of pro and con with people like Presley's guitarist Scotty Moore, Emmylou Harris and John Hiatt on one side and rapper Chuck D on the other (he, of the infamous song lyric: "Elvis was a hero to most. But he never meant sh*t to me you see."). There's also a clip of Big Mama Thornton's blistering original version of "Hound Dog". Jarecki then follows Elvis' travels to NYC and even bigger fame and riches. Then, it's off to the Army and Presley's decline into B movies and Vegas schmaltz. The clips of 'fat Elvis' at the end are truly shocking even all these decades later.


Where Jarecki over-reaches is that he isn't satisfied just showing Elvis' effect on the public, but then tries to tie it in with today's culture wars. Shot during the 2016 campaign with such guests as Alec Baldwin, Van Jones and James Carville, Jarecki makes tenuous connections. VERY tenuous connections. No question that Elvis was a seismic force when he hit, but, save for the brief glory period after the '68 Comeback Special, Presley can hardly be looked upon as a central artistic force after the very early 60s. While significant figures can certainly have a long influence, the fact that Elvis passed on in 1977 makes it a stretch to say that he is symbol of our Red-Blue state America today. If anything, Elvis is the very definition of 'Purple' celebrity - equally loved by all demos.


Even with this central flaw, there is no question that THE KING is a dense, engaging Documentary. One can't help but feel that they have gone on some sort of journey itself, much like Elvis's well-traveled Rolls itself.
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Robert Summit
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Joined: January 11th, 2005, 12:21 am

July 3rd, 2018, 5:33 am #2

Rappers.  Bwahahahahah!  Rappers aren't fit to string Elvis' guitar!
"Mom! Don't bother me now! I'm posting on the Classic Horror Film Board!"
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amanaplan1
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Joined: February 9th, 2013, 2:18 am

July 3rd, 2018, 10:03 am #3

I'm sure Elvis enjoyed opening candy wrappers, burger wrappers...
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Joined: July 21st, 2009, 9:30 pm

July 3rd, 2018, 1:18 pm #4

Any mention of Elvis and monsters? Or Elvis and MAD?

THIMK.jpg 29d3b4057901933fe238df83750b2bd7.jpg 34pbd74.jpg
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blufeld
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Joined: March 21st, 2017, 4:34 pm

July 3rd, 2018, 6:23 pm #5

I finally saw the Elvis movie that I'd never seen last week:  JAILHOUSE ROCK.  I see why a lot of the critics say it's his best movie.  Elvis could act.  He's no Lawrence Oliver, but he could act, if he wanted to.  JR reminded me of the Andy Griffith FACE IN THE CROWD, with Elvis a little softer than Ange.
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Grant
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Grant
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Joined: August 23rd, 2017, 6:28 pm

July 6th, 2018, 4:12 am #6

Robert Summit wrote: Rappers.  Bwahahahahah!  Rappers aren't fit to string Elvis' guitar!
I'd definitely say that about X AMOUNT of rappers. Like the ones who are HOOKED on a certain word I hate coming from whites and blacks alike. (I hate it partly for being nasty, but partly for just being DUMB.)
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amanaplan1
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Joined: February 9th, 2013, 2:18 am

July 6th, 2018, 10:16 am #7

Grant wrote:
Robert Summit wrote: Rappers.  Bwahahahahah!  Rappers aren't fit to string Elvis' guitar!
I'd definitely say that about X AMOUNT of rappers. Like the ones who are HOOKED on a certain word I hate coming from whites and blacks alike. (I hate it partly for being nasty, but partly for just being DUMB.)
Is the word "dandruff"?
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Wich2
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Joined: September 12th, 2007, 10:09 pm

July 6th, 2018, 2:41 pm #8

(Or, connecting to that other thread about odd pronunciation, the thing that Cary Grant calls in NORTH BY NORTHWEST, "DAN --- druff.")
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amanaplan1
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Joined: February 9th, 2013, 2:18 am

July 6th, 2018, 2:47 pm #9

Sounds like a '70s TV cop show, like BRONK or GRIFF:

DAN DRUFF
Private Eye
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Joined: July 21st, 2009, 9:30 pm

July 6th, 2018, 6:00 pm #10

ELVIS IN A HAUNTED HOUSE! (OR THIS JUST IN OVER THE TRANSOM!)

Excerpt:
It’s at this point that you start to have fun imagining Elvis playing the Nick Adams role in DIE, MONSTER, DIE! (1965) or any number of full-on horror movies of this vintage? And why not? People would have gone to see them and how cool would it have been to pit the King of Rock and Roll against Boris Karloff, the King of Horror? (I’ll answer that for you: very cool.) But anyway. Lonnie and Pam bed down for the night (in separate rooms, of course) and all kinds of crazy Old Dark House stuff begins to happen, such as empty rocking chairs rocking themselves and sinister shadows appearing in ajar doors. Rain lashes at the window and lightning splits the sky.

More at
http://streamline.filmstruck.com/2013/1 ... e-transom/
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Wich2
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Joined: September 12th, 2007, 10:09 pm

July 6th, 2018, 6:55 pm #11

amanaplan1 wrote: Sounds like a '70s TV cop show, like BRONK or GRIFF:

DAN DRUFF
Private Eye
"...and his happening sidekick from Athens - Sue Riasis!"
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Grant
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Grant
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Joined: August 23rd, 2017, 6:28 pm

July 6th, 2018, 7:20 pm #12

amanaplan1 wrote:
Grant wrote:
Robert Summit wrote: Rappers.  Bwahahahahah!  Rappers aren't fit to string Elvis' guitar!
I'd definitely say that about X AMOUNT of rappers. Like the ones who are HOOKED on a certain word I hate coming from whites and blacks alike. (I hate it partly for being nasty, but partly for just being DUMB.)
Is the word "dandruff"?
No - I'd rather hear a MARATHON of the N-Word than that one. And I hate the N-Word.
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Dr Kelp
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Joined: November 27th, 2016, 2:34 am

July 6th, 2018, 9:49 pm #13

There's also a doc. called Elvis Presely the Searcher which came out this year, but I haven't watched it yet
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bromstaker
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Joined: March 26th, 2008, 12:51 am

July 12th, 2018, 8:39 pm #14

Dr Kelp wrote: There's also a doc. called Elvis Presely the Searcher which came out this year, but I haven't watched it yet
Huge Elvis fan here. I can say without hesitation that Elvis The Searcher is the best documentary on the man ever! The reason being that, rather than focusing on Elvis the icon or on his career it focuses instead on Elvis the human being and by doing so humanizes the icon - something long overdue. Most folks who watch Elvis The Searcher should come away with a sympathetic understanding of the man. My sister-in-law, who prior to watching ETS could take or leave Elvis, has become a fan from having watched it.   
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