Wednesday, July 27, 2022

#2,790. Blue Hawaii (1961) - Elvis Presley Film Festival


Blue Hawaii delivers everything you’d want to see in an Elvis Presley film, and everything you’d expect from a movie set on the picturesque isles.

Elvis plays Chadwick “Chad” Gates, who as the movie opens is returning home to Hawaii following a 2-year stint in the Army. He’s met at the airport by longtime girlfriend Maile (Joan Blackman), but instead of going home to see his parents (Roland Winters and Angela Lansbury), Chad spends a few days hanging out at the beach with his island buddies.

Knowing his parents will pressure him to join the family business – a lucrative fruit company – Chad instead gets a job as a tour guide, working for Maile’s boss, Mr. Chapman (Howard McNear). Chad’s first customers are school teacher Abigail Prentice (Nancy Walters) and four of her teenage students, including bratty Ellie Corbett (Jenny Maxwell). As Chad spends his days showing the attractive Miss Prentice and her charges all that Hawaii has to offer, Maile can’t help but feel a little jealous, convinced that Chad and Miss Prentice are doing more than just seeing the sights together.

Directed by Norman Taurog, Blue Hawaii is breezy, lightweight entertainment, but make no mistake, it is entertaining. Elvis belts out a number of catchy tunes, including “Aloha Oe” and “Can’t Help Falling in Love (With You)”, the latter of which would go on to become one of his all-time biggest hits, going platinum in 1962. There are some 14 songs in all throughout Blue Hawaii, and each and every one of them is a winner. Blue Hawaii also takes advantage of Hawaii’s beautiful locales, with scenes shot on-location in, among other places, Waikiki and Diamond Head.

As it is with most of his movies, Elvis is more convincing when he’s singing in Blue Hawaii than when he’s trying to act, though the supporting cast makes up for his shortcomings. Lansbury is especially memorable as Chad’s airhead Southern Belle mother, while a late scene featuring Jenny Maxwell’s Ellie, where she steals a jeep and runs away, gives the film its lone dramatic moment (and an effective one at that).

Sun, sand, music, and pretty girls; that sums up Blue Hawaii in a nutshell, and while it won’t linger in the mind long after its over, it’s plenty of fun while it lasts.
Rating: 7 out of 10

1 comment:

MrJeffery said...

Will have to check this one out! Elvis movies are a blind spot for me.