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Harum Scarum
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Reviews & Ratings for
Harum Scarum More at IMDbPro »

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14 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

Quite depressing, really

3/10
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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9 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Elvis' movie career hits rock bottom

3/10
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 he 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 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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10 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Not bad, despite the hokum **

5/10
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

3/10
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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7 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

An exotic middle east styled Elvis movie definitely worth watching

Author: inripaxtecum from United States
21 July 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I am an amateur Elvis impersonator and a big time fan. Judging by the remarks, I am in the minority regarding a positive feeling about this film. I agree, King Creole was probably Elvis' best dramatic role but Flaming Star, Kid Galahad and Jail House Rock were good also.

I believe E was offered roles in West Side Story and other big name movies from the 60's but the Colonel put the kibosh on all of them.

I can't agree with everything the Colonel did for E but he did make him rich and famous. Considering E was a truck driver from Tupelo, he did bring him a long way, probably more than Sam Phillips (a good man with few contacts) could have done. One thing about the Colonel, and this is just my opinion as controversial as it may be, I believe he was right about the movies that E was doing. Many of them were fairly predictable; beautiful ladies, lots of songs, pretty scenery and plots that did not strain the brain. People who went to the theaters back in the 60's to see these movies wanted this special mix. The bottom line is, it amounted to 90 minutes of light comedy escapism. Relax, have some popcorn, drink a coke, watch the King and forget your troubles for awhile.

Everyone knew the Colonel had E in a box and he felt stymied and bored at times and unfortunately it showed in some of these movies. But through it all, there was always that kind, award winning smile, the music and he did the best he could delivering his lines convincingly.

I know many of his movies were a recycle job, from a race car driver to a speed boat racer. But they were still fun to watch, at least for me. I am really not sure if people wanted a steady diet of serious or dramatic films . He had the talent for it but I'm not too sure about the market or audience. Everyone can decide that for themselves.

H.S. had a plausible script. The costumes were colorful, plenty of good looking ladies, one of his few films that incorporated karate moves, some good songs and the sets came out of storage from the 1925 Cecil B. DeMille production of King of Kings. I have it from a video pack and watch it from time to time when I just want to chill and have something fun (adventure and comedy) to watch. Again, for me, it's a good choice.

Lastly, I want to comment about a scene that seems to have drawn a lot of attention, the dance by the young girl. Maybe it's just me but I don't see the pedophile or pornographic connotation that some people alluded to. As the story goes, the young girl and her brother were orphans being reared by a dance troupe (3 women and one man) that traveled around trying to earn a living. The little I know of Arabian dancing, it does seem to have a sensual element to it. So what did you want her to do? The twist, tango or moon walk? Let's keep it in context and not magnify it into another Herod and Salome routine. Elvis acted as a father figure to her and he did nothing that could be construed as inappropriate.

Enough said. Elvis, God rest your soul, we miss you man.

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8 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Its music will win you over

6/10
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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10 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Go East Young Man

10/10
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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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Faux Parody, Middle East 'Hilarity'

4/10
Author: hazardaus 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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6 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

above par

10/10
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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8 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

You guys are going a little overboard!!

10/10
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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