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Rick Richards is a helicopter pilot who wants to set up a charter flying service in Hawaii -- along the way he makes some friends, including a young Hawaiian girl and her father, romances Judy Hudson, and sings a few songs.
Michael D. Moore
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Chad Gates has just gotten out of the Army, and is happy to be back in Hawaii with his surf-board, his beach buddies, and his girlfriend. His father wants him to go to work at the Great Southern Hawaiian Fruit Company, but Chad is reluctant. So Chad goes to work as a tour guide at his girlfriend's agency. Written by
Pat McCurry <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Blue Hawaii, the title song of this film, was originally from the score of another Paramount film Waikiki Wedding which starred Bing Crosby in 1937. Bing sold a few records of that one, albeit they were 78s back then, and Elvis nicely revives it and sells a few more.
Crosby's film was made to take advantage of a whole lot of publicity he received for a trip to Hawaii. But Paramount as they usually did with his films back they made them on the cheap and Hawaii for Waikiki Wedding was recreated on the back lot.
Bing must have been a little jealous and who could have blamed him when Paramount did this film completely on location in Hawaii for the King. And Elvis got to go back to Hawaii for another film in Paradise, Hawaiian Style.
Elvis got a whole lot of musical numbers here including the title tune which he sings over the opening credits. He does a rockabilly version of the French song Alouette and with different lyrics, the Mexican love ballad, La Paloma. And he borrows a hit from Andy Williams when he reprises the Hawaiian Wedding Song.
Of course no film set in Hawaii is complete without Aloha Oe. But the big song from this film is one of Presley's greatest Can't Help Falling In Love With You. He sings it during a scene for a birthday party for Joan Blackman's grandmother. It's sort of done in a throwaway manner like the producer's didn't think it would be the big number in the film.
It might surprise Presley fans that this blockbuster hit was also recorded by another RCA Victor artist named Perry Como for one of his albums. Perry does a nice job with it, but it ain't a patch on the King's version.
Elvis is a rich young kid who'd like very much to get out from under Mom and Dad and prove himself. He's even done a hitch in the army, but that doesn't help. Parents are played by Roland Winters and Angela Lansbury.
Angela Lansbury recounted a story where she and her husband had dinner with Colonel Tom Parker and Elvis when they were casting Blue Hawaii. She said Elvis was a nice, polite young man who barely said three words during the dinner. The talk was all from Colonel Tom who was making all kinds of offers to the future Jessica Fletcher to be in this film.
Angela's career was somewhat in a dry spell, she hadn't made The Manchurian Candidate yet or appeared on Broadway in Mame. So she was quite willing to appear.
I gained some insight into how Colonel Parker handled Elvis with that story. If you look at the cast and even the behind the camera credits of his films, you'll see them populated with a whole lot of Hollywood veterans. I'll bet there were many such dinners during Elvis's film career.
To be sure Presley was certainly the Colonel's meal ticket. But I would have to say that he made every effort to see that Elvis and his films were given the best possible production values. I think that's why the King had a long sustained film career until public tastes change which they inevitably do. Also musicals, even Elvis's became too cost prohibitive to produce any more.
Blue Hawaii marks the height of Presley's singing and film career. The Beatles hadn't come on the scene yet, the King was still ruling the roost on the record charts and his films were grossing big box office.
And unless your Bing Crosby and feel a twinge of jealousy that his Hawaii film was done on the cheap, you'll like Blue Hawaii very much. It's nice entertainment from a great entertainer.
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