″ Elvis: A Cinematic Monument to the King of Rock On Roll | culture | DW

Following on from Bohemian Rhapsody (2018) with Freddie Mercury and Queen and “Rocketman” (2019) with Elton John and Aretha Franklin biopic “Respect” (2021), “Elvis” is the next award-winning film about a musical legend – and that from a well-known director With his lavish productions: Baz Luhrmann. Movies like Romeo and Juliet (1996), the grandiose feudal musical “Moulin Rouge” (2001) and “The Great Gatsby” (2013) prove that the Australian doesn’t do things with two halves.

“Elvis” has been planned since 2014, but the project has been stalling. Finally, filming did not begin until January 2020. The Corona pandemic forced the next break, but Baz Luhrmann was undeterred and posted on Twitter in November 2021 that the film would be shown in cinemas in June 2022. Keep his word: “Elvis” celebrated its world premiere at the festival Cannes Film Festival in May 2022, the audience honored the screen’s composition with a twelve-minute standing ovation.

Actors, directors and Priscilla Presley celebrate in Cannes

Why is a resume so interesting?

Because everyone knows the story. Because it is known how it began and how it ended – and yet legends were formed around the main character. Because it’s mostly about deceased heroes, about idols that have been revived through movies like this. This seems particularly exciting for musicians.

Even composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) was the main character in Milos Fuhrmann’s 1984 film. The eight-Oscar-winning action was more fantasy than realism, but since Mozart was long dead, there were no immediate descendants to object to the portrayal of Mozart as a mad genius and a clown.

Tom Hulse as

Between Genius and Madness: Tom Hulse as Amadeus (1984)

But if there are still living relatives or grandchildren, then things are completely different. When Walk the Line was released in 2005, a movie about country idol Johnny Cash, his daughter Kathy left the cinema in a rage because, in her opinion, her mother’s portrayal of Vivian Liberto, Johnny Cash’s first wife, was completely exaggerated. And not according to reality.

Austin Butler is the right man

Priscilla, Elvis Presley’s ex-wife, their daughter Lisa Marie and granddaughter Riley Keough were thrilled about the choice to perform as the King of Rock and Roll. Austin Butler doesn’t really look like Elvis. But the longer he watches it in the movie, the more the 30-year-old actor becomes the person to embody him, complete with swinging hips and a defiant look over his shoulder — and finally as a failed star with alcohol and drug problems and who in the days of the Beatles and Rolling Stones once again tried to gain a foothold . Butler sings the songs himself – only in the older Elvis stage is Presley’s original voice mixed.

Elvis Presley and Austin Butler Photo Collection.

Elvis and Austin

For Austin Butler, preparing for the role was “like climbing Mount Everest,” as he said on Jimmy Fallon’s American Show. When he got close to the character, he felt very small at first. The more he got to know Elvis, the better he could empathize. And when he discovers that he and Elvis lost their mothers when they were twenty-three years old, he opens the door to Elvis’ spirit. On a visit to Graceland, the former king’s home, he not only met Elvis’ ex-wife Priscilla – he also played Gibson’s guitar for Elvis in a clip on social media. The rest was hard training until he picked up the star’s slang, vocals, and moves.

Energy, Zest for Life, Rebellion

Because a biographical film is more exciting when it is not limited to telling a well-known life story, Luhrmann focused primarily on the relationship between Elvis and his mentor and director, Colonel Tom Parker.

Movie scene from Elvis: Colonel Parker talking to Elvis.

Tom Hanks plays the shady boss, Colonel Tom Parker

Without Parker, there would be no rock and roll – a bold, but perfectly conceivable thesis, in which the first main scene appears in the film: Elvis appears on the stage in a pink suit, and the audience sits silently in front of him and shows no interest. Someone insults him: “Cut your hair, lard!”

Then Elvis lights the fireworks. He sings his first notes and shakes his hips a little. A previously unimaginable sight in America in the fifties of the last century. The girls in the audience get high and start screaming hysterically.

Colonel Parker also attended. He noticed the boy from Memphis, Tennessee, and decided to make him a world star. Lots of sensuality, lots of sex – this is totally new and exciting. This young Elvis embodies what will forever define rock ‘n’ roll: energy, love of life, rebellion.

Elvis movie scene (2022): Elvis on stage, excited teenage girls in the audience.

The happiest Elvis “trough” teenagers and angry parents, the press and the church

Fast paced theatrical scenes

All this perfectly orchestrated by Baz Luhrmann. The director has experience in dance and music, so every performance that Austin Butler did when Elvis was young becomes a great visual and rock ‘n’ roll scene. But the story is told by Colonel Parker, who – played by the gorgeous Tom Hanks in a fat suit with a sticky double chin – faces a questionable and somewhat greedy character with the fact that his money cow is increasingly rebelling against her. for him.

Elvis and Priscilla in a kissing scene from the movie Elvis.

Olivia de Jong as Priscilla, who meets Elvis as a soldier in Germany

Critics already praise the thrilling parts of the movie’s two-and-a-half-plus hours of length, but are a bit disappointed about the lack of depth in the second half – when Elvis starts talking about his fame, his psychedelic problems and his love-breaking addiction to audiences. From June 23, movie audiences can form their own impression of her.

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