Filmmakers often turn to the work of great musicians and singers of the past in their films. This makes it possible to take a fresh look at their work, assess its relevance, resurrect interest in slightly forgotten names.
The film “Elvis”, filmed in 2021, is dedicated to the life and work of the famous American singer and composer Elvis Presley. The filmmakers successfully use the technique of flashback so that the actual characters themselves can look at their past and evaluate it.
What is the movie “Elvis” about
Tom Parker, nicknamed The Colonel, former manager of Elvis Presley, after suffering a stroke and assuming that he will not get up from his deathbed, recalls his work with the famous singer.
As a child, Presley lived with his parents in the poorest neighborhood of Mississippi, he had no friends, and he entertained himself only with comic books and singing. After moving to Memphis, where his father got a job, Elvis began to be persecuted and ridiculed by his peers for his passion for African-American music.
At this very time, Parker himself worked at the fairs as a “stuntman” and an illusionist, and also tried to promote country singer Hank Snow in the musical field. One day he heard a white guy singing with a completely “black sound” and realized what a powerful potential he had. That same evening, he meets the same guy again at a music festival, evaluates him as a talented performer with powerful sexual charisma.
Parker concludes an agreement with Presley and begins to promote him to the musical Olympus. Thanks to the young musician, his family is knocked out of poverty and settled in a rich estate. But not everyone supports the art of Elvis, there is an opinion that his music promotes racial segregation and incites ethnic hatred.
Senator James Eastland of the Southern Democrats in Mississippi invites Parker to his place for a conversation and tries to find out his dark past, as well as ways to influence him and his protégé.
Once, at a concert in Russwood Park, Presley performs fiery Negro dances, for which he faces a prison. But Parker convinces members of the government to mobilize Elvis in the army. So the musician ends up in West Germany. During the service, his mother died of alcohol addiction. Elvis was crushed by this news. BUT love helped him recover. HE met a very young girl, Priscilla Beaulieu, the daughter of an officer. After the service, Presley marries a girl and is again engaged in creativity.
Tragic events in the USA: the assassination of Martin King and President Kennedy make Presley turn to political themes in his work. But he is allowed to perform only cheerful festive compositions at the Christmas concert. This time, Elvis did not listen to his manager and performed the song “If I Can Dream”, which uses King’s quotes, and the song itself is assessed as a protest against the existing system.
Sponsors furiously threaten legal proceedings, Parker himself is outraged by the behavior of his ward, but the show is very popular with viewers.
After that, Presley performs in the largest concert hall in Las Vegas. He asks Parker to arrange a world tour for him, but he does not want to listen to the desire of the musician and forces him to sign a bonded contract for permanent performances in a Las Vegas casino.
Elvis’ family life was in ruins. Constant problems with the manager, sponsors, the government led to the fact that Elvis began to abuse prescription drugs, which made him unbalanced and aggressive. Priscilla could not stand this pressure and divorced her husband, taking their daughter Lisa Marie with her.
At this time, Presley found out why his manager could not leave the United States. It turns out that he is an illegal immigrant named Andreas Cornelius van Kees. As a result, Elvis in 1973 refuses his services. BUT their official calculations never end. As a result of checking all the financial documents, it turns out that Elvis owes the amount of eight million dollars to the record company. Parker convinces him that their union will be beneficial to both. Meetings between Parker and Presley become rare, but their collaboration continues.
Presley continues to work hard, a busy work schedule leads to the fact that he has a serious nervous exhaustion, his health is undermined. In a private conversation, he confesses to his ex-wife that he is afraid of oblivion after death. HE does not want his work to be in vain, useless to anyone. Presley does not consider himself an outstanding musician at all.
In 1977, at one of the last concerts, Elvis Presley, severely exhausted and sick, performs his composition “Unchained Melody” and leaves the stage to a furious flurry of applause.
The closing credits report that after the death of Elvis, Parker, sick and unneeded, wandered through the Las Vegas macabre and gambled away the money that Presley had earned him. Litigation revealed his abuses against the great musician, who is still considered the best-selling solo singer in history, and his influence on the development of macal art continues to this day.
The meaning of the film “Elvis”
The film “Elvis” is dedicated to the biography of the famous American singer and composer Elvis Presley. The history of the formation of the musician is shown through the perception of his manager Tom Parker, nicknamed the Colonel.
At the very beginning of the film, Parker, after a stroke, tells the story of meeting Elvis and his ascent to the musical Olympus.
This is a rather unusual way of presenting the biographical data of the King of Rock and Roll, but creates a unique portrait of him, not yet known to the general public.
Throughout the film, the viewer follows Elvis from his childhood and the first successes in the performance of musical compositions to his struggle to maintain his own creative identity, ups and downs and, finally, to his full world recognition.
Of course, the portrait of the singer is somewhat idealized by the creators of the film, his image is a bit fabulous, all human flaws are hidden, smoothed out. BUT for sure, they did not set themselves the goal of accurately recreating the biography of the singer, they rather wanted to show a talented musician who has achieved a lot, but does not consider himself a true star. A person who is afraid that he will soon be forgotten, and no one will need his work.
By this they emphasize that true geniuses always doubt and seek, experience the throes of creativity and do not get tired of creating, and only artisans are always satisfied with themselves.
Movie ending explanation
The film, which tells about the difficult life of the King of Rock and Roll, ends on a rather positive note. One of Elvis’ last performances in 1977 ends in triumph. HE is already sick, greatly exhausted by suffering, but his singing brings tears to the eyes of the listeners. It touches the most sensitive strings of the heart.
And the closing credits say that the legal proceedings have exposed Tom Parker’s numerous abuses against Elvis. Parker himself, sick, forgotten after a stroke, wanders around the casino and loses his last money.
Elvis himself remained in the history of musical art as the best-selling solo artist. His influence on the art of music today cannot be overestimated.
The performance of one of the best songs at the end of the film focuses the attention of the audience on the imperishable work of Elvis. We better understand why he is remembered and loved so far.