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Harum Scarum
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Harum Scarum More at IMDbPro »

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15 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Quite depressing, really

Author: capnpisslog from Under a poodle
22 September 2006

Elvis returns, this time he is slightly weathered, quite a bit more lethargic, and desperate to escape his captors. But, his captors are not the oil paint smeared Arabs, nor the fairly innocuous women that surround him. His captors are much bigger than one motion picture could possibly describe. They are the entire industry he has found himself immersed in. They are the money-hungry culture vultures that readily devour a popular figure like him until he is but a bloated pasty corpse. This film shows them as they are through their sinister machinations. They can be seen with invisible marionette string as they force Elvis to march around in costume, as they prod him with sharp knives into doing little lackluster dances that turn into morose forced marches across the barren tundra of his once mighty career. This is not the Elvis of folklore, nor is it the Elvis that will return one day and save us from mediocrity. This is the dry Elvis, milked fully, udders raw, yet ever sedated. The Elvis that might have died on the screen in front of your eyes and you might have not even noticed it. Don't let the bright lights and forced smile fool you. It is your duty to lament this vision before you, because it is an ugly one.

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11 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Elvis' movie career hits rock bottom

Author: Dave from Ottawa from Canada
19 July 2008

Widely considered to be Elvis' dumbest movie ever and the source of many prime gags in Top Secret, Harum Scarum is worth watching only for those Elvis fans interested in answering the question of what went wrong with his movie career. The answer was quite simply that, to Colonel Parker, Elvis was a carnival concession. He was getting million dollar offers to keep at the same old formula junk and since Parker had no idea how good movies were made he kept agreeing to the deals while the money was there. Harum Scarum shows the formula at its most derivative. Elvis himself looked bored and distracted at times on screen and even messed up some of his lip synching! The bulk of the songs are strictly for the Pat Boone set and badly out of date before the movie even came out. At a time of rapid change and great excitement in the music world (the Beatles made HELP around the same time) the music in Elvis' movies did not evolve or change, it just got recycled. The sets are also retreads, studio back lot leftovers from earlier better movies which look about as authentically middle eastern as a Moroccan restaurant in Brentwood. The costumes are a bad joke, and look like I Dream of Jeannie cast-offs. Elvis himself spends most of the movie looking foolish (and a bit like a Popsicle) in lime green pants. Add in a ridiculously predictable hand-me-down story about intrigue in the palace of the sultan and a few unfunny minor characters, and there is not much to like here, even for die hard Elvis fans. Even Elvis haters looking for a cheap laugh will find themselves bored by this exercise.

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11 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Not bad, despite the hokum **

Author: JoeKarlosi from U.S.A.
17 August 2004

It's very easy to dismiss an Elvis flick with a goofy title like HARUM SCARUM just by hearing it. But I was actually rather surprised by this colorful and unconventional Presley romp. It turned out pretty good for a Presley knock-off, despite the hokum.

Taking Elvis into the odd world of the Middle East is in itself a fresh change of space considering the formulaic nature of his films. It's not high art by any stretch of the imagination, but it's fun. And leading ladies Mary Ann Mobley and Fran Jeffries are gorgeous to behold.

None of the songs are very strong, but there are plenty of them to go around this time.

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11 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Maybe Elvis needed Bob Hope

Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York
22 August 2005

Colonel Tom Parker who usually took great care in the movie properties acquired for Elvis Presley must have cringed with the lemon he got Elvis stuck in here. IMDb says that Colonel Tom thought that Harum Scarum might have needed a talking camel so that there would be no question this was a comedy. Obviously the Colonel had the Road to Morocco in mind. But I'll go one better. Elvis the singer may have needed a comedian along with him, like Bob Hope.

Back when the Road to Morocco was made it was satirizing those sword and sandal desert epics that were popular back in the day. Usually those were about some mythical kingdom. We don't have mythical kingdoms any more, they're not in vogue in Hollywood. Poor Elvis was stuck in genre that was way out of date.

Also I don't think anyone had any doubt that when they went to see the Road to Morocco they were seeing a comedy. The gags here just fall flat. Now I doubt Elvis could have gotten Bob Hope, but a comedian of Elvis's generation to co-star might have brought off the comedy, but only might have.

Elvis is in good voice, but none of the songs from here are especially memorable. Certainly not like Jailhouse Rock or Blue Hawaii.

Harum Scarum belongs at the bottom of Elvis's movie credits. Only devoted fans of the King will like this and maybe not even them.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Faux Parody, Middle East 'Hilarity'

Author: AndrewGHickey from Burn City
10 January 2010

Now this was something, not really a good something but it was something nonetheless. Being a novice when it comes to the filmic work of 'The King' I approached this film and his others from a fresh perspective. I guess I was put off by the stigma of corniness that plagues his filmography. After checking out Jaihouse Rock, Paradise Hawaiian Style and Spinout I thought I'd give this relative b-movie a look.

I enjoyed the pseudo middle eastern soundtrack and expected the visual equivalent here, which essentially is what I got. The faux parody element of the film falls by the wayside pretty quick unfortunately and ultimately becomes another vehicle for Elvis' kung-fu, romancing and spontaneous song performances. Shake Your Tambourine and So Close So Far are the performance highlights and there is some overlooked snappy dialogue. The less said about the creepy Hey Little Girl sequence though the better. My favourite song, the Garage-lite Animal Instinct was sadly not featured in the film.

Its universally looked at as the bottom of the barrel in the career of Elvis but I think its a pretty fun 80 mins or so, there are far worse movies out there.

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12 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Go East Young Man

Author: Christopher Mercurio from United States
21 September 2002

This movie is one of my favorite Elvis Presley movies. This movie is about a famous karate chopping actor in the United States. Assassins from a Middle Eastern country see how skilled he is with his hands and they kidnap him. When he arrives in their foreign land he learns he has been brought there to kill their king. Along the way he even meets and falls for the king's daughter.

I very much disagree with the negative reviews about this movie. This movie has very good action and music. Songs include; Go East Young Man, Shake That Tambourine, So Close Yet So Far, Harum Holiday and much more. This movie won't disappoint you and it will most definitely not disappoint Elvis Presley fans like myself.

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12 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Very good Presley movie

Author: Christopher Mercurio from United States
19 September 2002

This movie is one of my favorite Elvis Presley movies. I watched it for the first time and couldn't even take a break from watching it I liked it so much. It is a great movie with a great soundtrack. Elvis once again shows he is a great singer and a great actor. This movie is about a famous actor in the United States, sort of like Rudolph Valentino, he dresses like a sheik; sword fights and beats all the bad guys with his karate in his most recent movie. He rescues the girl and then rides off with her. Assassins from a Middle Eastern country see how skilled this actor is with a sword and his karate so they kidnap him and bring him to their foreign land to kill their king.

One reviewer on this site said that this was Elvis's worst movie since King Creole. Don't listen to him. That guy doesn't know what the heck he's talking about. King Creole is were Elvis first showed he could be in a dramatic film. He also sings the best in King Creole and it's his greatest triumph as an actor. For someone to say that a great movie like this isn't good and then say King Creole isn't good, something has to be wrong there. This movie is action packed fun and has great music in it. Don't miss this Elvis movie.

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7 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

above par

Author: racat58 from adel.aus.
2 October 2001

One of the oddest of Elvis movie's but for some reason it works. The settings with Elvis ala Valentino warbling away in the desert are actually pretty good. Songs ain't so bad either.

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9 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

You guys are going a little overboard!!

Author: Adam Ropp from Dewey, Oklahoma
29 July 2006

You guys are going a little overboard with your harsh criticisms! OK, so you say the plot is very predictable……….can you name off every movie that's not predictable and maybe list over one percent of every movie ever made??? To verbusen: "The times left Elvis behind with the British invasion already 2 years in the go" Yeh, and it was 2 years after this that Elvis came back and killed everyone once again with number singles left and right, right in the middle your British invasion. Yes, the movie had cheap outfits and props and many actions sequence/effects were not so great, but it was 1968 people!!! I'm not exactly watching a lot of 1968 movies that have 3d and cg effects blowing me away here. And to the other people saying it had typical "Elvis music". You must mean some of his filler songs for his movies because if you mean typical as in elvis's music in general you have another thing coming with 30 number 1s and over 1.2 billion records sold!!! Look people it's very simple, Elvis and the people making were not making this movie with the expression "ok, this is our talents at their best and this is the max of our acting, writing and directing skills". Yes, even in those days and for thousands of years before movies the main thing is MONEY!! The people making the film simply said "This is not our best by any means; we are so better than this, but since Elvis is in it people will buy it regardless so lets make it cheap and quick because were getting the money anyways" They had the "spit it out" attitude which is what they did so they could move on to the next project and do the same thing to get their money! You can't have the attitude, "man these people suck!!" They knew it sucked when they made it, they simply didn't care because they knew the same people who said it sucked while leaving the theater would have just payed to see it. And what do ya know…….they were right. The movie made double it's money!! Elvis doesn't suck, non of those people sucked, they just didn't care!

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9 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Its music will win you over

Author: samspin from United States
16 July 2006

Harum Scarum may not be Elvis's best movie, yet this Elvis movie is very much worth watching because it is a good movie. But more importantly the movies soundtrack is definitely the greatest album ever recorded, and its percussions are still being felt at the present time. For some reason they failed to play "Wisdom Of The Ages" in this Elvis movie and that is so wrong, because if there is one song from the 1960s that represents the 1960s rock & roll sound, its Elvis's song "Wisdom Of The Ages". Elvis's Harum Scarum soundtrack Middle Eastern infusion changed the world of rock & roll forever, and placed Elvis and his band, among the greatest of rock & roll teachers, who include John Lee Hooker and the most important Howlin Wolf. Yes, the Elvis movie Harum Scarum is worth buying to watch and so is that movies soundtrack.

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