Paradise, Hawaiian Style (1966) Poster

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Good for nostalgia, but not much of a story
whiskeysauer8 April 2008
This was a movie that I watched primarily because of the photography of 1960s Hawaii. In the opening scene, there's a great pan of Diamond Head all the way to the Ilikai hotel. If you spend much time in Hawaii, you'll notice hotels that don't exists yet and several that are even being built during the filming of this movie. Specifically, you can see the Outrigger Waikiki under construction as well as what is now known as the Resortquest Waikiki Beach. Ironically, the Resortquest Waikiki Beach is now an Elvis era themed hotel. The Sheraton Waikiki is an empty lot.

Another really neat observation is the scene at the beach park near Chinaman's hat. It is literally timeless! The beach looks the same today as it does in the movie. Almost everything else has changed in many ways.

The film won't be an example of great acting and certainly the plot leaves a lot to be desired. On the other hand, it's fun to see the island from 40 years ago. Even Kalakaua Ave is a two-way street!
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It's no wonder poor Elvis went over to the dark side
blanche-23 March 2006
If you were Elvis and had to make this sort of film time and time again, you'd have been on drugs too. "Paradise, Hawaiian Style" can easily be confused with "Blue Hawaii" - both take place in Hawaii, both are about the travel business, both have women in them. But there are differences. Elvis was drop-dead gorgeous in "Blue Hawaii," there were some great songs, and it had Angela Lansbury in the cast.

By the time this movie was made, Elvis looked out of it and he was stuffed into a tapered shirt. Back in the old days, they used to teach actors to pull their stomachs in when standing in profile. No one told Elvis. In some scenes, he looks as if he doesn't know where he is.

There is no plot, just dazzling scenery. The songs are rotten. Donna Butterworth as the daughter of James Shigeta is excellent - what a voice. James Shigeta is good as well. There are a few good scenes - the one in the helicopter with the dogs is one. I'm sure I can think of more... The excuses for Elvis to burst into song are tragic.

It's amazing how such an important career was peppered with so many unimportant films, thanks to his management, i.e., Colonel Parker. Elvis could have dumped him and gone to anyone in the world, but he was a hillbilly with enormous gifts, belief in his own power not being one of them. He was confident with his music, but he was superstitious and felt he couldn't make without Colonel Parker. It's a shame - as brilliant a career as Elvis had, it could have been so much more. He could have toured Europe and Japan, for instance - if only Colonel Tom wasn't in the country illegally. And he could have made better movies. The offers were there, but Colonel Tom was afraid of losing control.

So Colonel Tom held a tight rein on Elvis. "Paradise, Hawaiian Style" is one example of his brilliant management of one of the greatest talents that ever existed. Proceed at the risk of being hulaed to death.
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An engaging video postcard of Kauai
SurfBrahSC27 January 2007
But that's about it. I would have to agree with most of the posters that this is not Elvis's best Hawaii flick, but it sure shows off Kauai in all its tropical beauty. It can't be denied that the plot lines of the typical Elvis movie are rarely very deep, and this one is no different. But I still find entertainment in all of them. Even "Paradise, Hawaiian Style." As an avid enthusiast of Hawaii, traveling there every year when time allows, I tend to like Elvis movies filmed in Hawaii more than the others. I would have loved to have visited Hawaii in the days of "Blue Hawaii" and "Paradise, Hawaiian Style," and it's cool to see what it looked like in those days. The Polynesian Cultural Center especially. This movie may not be the best Elvis had to offer, but it showcases Kauai in all its amazing beauty. It may be a little silly in its plot line, but it's still fun.
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Here we go again; Elvis in Hawaii with beauties and a helicopter.
Michael O'Keefe19 November 1999
Producer Hal Wallis uses the same formula as "Blue Hawaii" to no avail. Rick Richards (Presley) enters a partnership in a charter helicopter service with his buddy played by James Shigeta. Richards is temporarily ground by the FAA for losing control of his chopper. Meanwhile Shigeta crashes on a flight with his daughter on board. Without a license, Richards to the rescue. Donna Butterworth plays the sweet little scene stealer. The grown up girls that help by just being there are Suzanne Leigh, Marianna Hill and Linda Wong. Nine songs make up a pleasant soundtrack. "This Is My Heaven" and "Stop Where You Are" are hidden among much flirtation with foolishness. Kauai is a breathe taking backdrop; but "Blue Hawaii" this is not.
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Elvis Loved Hawaii
bkoganbing5 January 2006
Paradise, Hawaiian Style is the second of three films Elvis Presley filmed in Hawaii. What a lucky guy, three trips to Hawaii for free at Paramount's expense. Good a reason as any to visit the islands.

Elvis plays a pilot who gets together with good buddy James Shigeta to form a helicopter touring and freighting service. Shigeta takes care of the business end of the business and Elvis both flies and charms his way into the hearts of various local beauties to plug his service at the hotels they work at.

Funniest thing in the movie is Elvis trying to fly a helicopter with about five dogs running around with their ditzy owner as well, miracle he wasn't killed. The owner insists they not go in doggie carriers and Elvis, desperate for business, is the only pilot to agree with that insanity.

Paradise, Hawaiian Style is not as good as Blue Hawaii, the songs he sings here are markedly inferior. But I like the film because a lot of it was shot at the Polynesian Cultural Center in Northern Oahu. Some might recognize the film music used when Elvis makes his first appearance there. It's the famous theme from Donovan's Reef, also shot in Hawaii and another favorite of mine.

That center was the highlight of the attractions I saw in the Aloha State and should not be missed by any tourists.

Another reviewer said the film must have been a deal with the Hawaiian Tourism Board with all the beautiful outdoor location shooting. Good a reason as I've ever heard to watch a film.
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Beautiful Hawaii
willrams9 February 2003
I have never commented on Elvis Presley although I like his musical style now more than ever compared to the loud hysterical noise we have today. I saw this movie yesterday on AMC TV and by golly it was a good entertaining movie, songs were good, the thin story line was decent, and the Hawaii scenery beautiful and gorgeous; what a backdrop for any musical! Elvis was the only famous character in it, but it was so enjoyable, I could see it again! I thought Elvis was good also in that movie "Love Me Tender", but all the others were just so-so.
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Blue Hawaii, Part II
Brian W. Fairbanks13 April 1999
If Hal Wallis had produced this little epic 10 years earlier, it might have starred his other contract players, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis (with Lewis in the role of the little girl played by Donna Butterworth). If it had been made 10 years later, after "The Godfather Part II" made it fashionable to number sequels, "Paradise, Hawaiian Style" might have been titled "Blue Hawaii, Part II." It's not an official sequel, but that's a mere technicality. The only real difference between the two films is that this one is infinitely worse. Whereas "Blue Hawaii" was little more than a travelogue, it was professional looking with some decent songs and a star who still seemed to be in touch with some form of reality. "Paradise, Hawaiian Style" is a grubby, grimy, cheap looking thing with a pudgy, seemingly zonked out Elvis warbling tunes so dreadful ("Queenie Wahine's Papaya," "Datin'"), they weren't worthy of the vinyl record on which they were pressed let alone a gold one.

Watching Presley in this wretched vehicle, one can only look on in amazement and wonder if this is, indeed, the same sneering guy who set the world on fire a decade earlier. This is a Twilight Zone Elvis in a movie for those curious to know how the state of mind known as "stunned disbelief" really feels.
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Is this any way to run an airline?
Pat McCurry6 February 2000
Last night, I watched Elvis in "Paradise, Hawaiian Style" for the 20,000th time. It's not one of his best (few movies can be considered 'his best'). It has a silly plot, and the scenery is more of an attraction than story itself. The one actress that steals the show is not one of the bevy of beauties that Elvis woos. It comes more in the form of 10-year old Donna Butterworth. She steals every scene that she is in, and not a bad singer at all. I have roamed heaven and earth to try to find out what has happened to young Donna. If anyone knows, drop me an email. Anyway, if you are looking for a good time killer, watch this film.
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The movie stinks but Hawaii looks great
John Seal13 March 2000
Elvis had clearly had one too many peanut butter and banana sandwiches before making this travelogue that must have been underwritten by the Hawaiian tourist board. The story is minimal, the songs amongst the worst of Elvis' movie career. Watch him try to land a helicopter with four dogs in the cockpit. Watch the happy natives do the hula--endlessly. Watch the cute child actress entertain the tourists. Me, I enjoyed the scenery, and Suzanna Leigh is quite attractive.
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PARADISE, HAWAIIAN STYLE (Michael D. Moore, 1966) **
MARIO GAUCI31 August 2007
This is yet another resistible vehicle for Elvis Presley with a silly plot (here he's an irresponsible playboy pilot who opens up his own helicopter service), tropical setting, a plethora of girls, child interest, and below-par musical numbers (his crooning to a bunch of dogs while up in the air has to be the nadir of his singing career!). Elvis had already done something similar with BLUE HAWAII (1961) – but that's one which I haven't caught up with so far.

Michael Moore (no relation to the controversial documentarist of the same name) had been the assistant or second-unit director of six previous Elvis titles; considering the dire results here, it's no wonder he wasn't called upon to helm another later on! Popular Asian-American actor James Shigeta is Presley's business partner; the female cast includes Suzanna Leigh (later a British horror/Hammer starlet) and Marianna Hill (she had already appeared uncredited in the Elvis film ROUSTABOUT [1964] and would go on to feature in such heavyweight modern classics as MEDIUM COOL [1969] and THE GODFATHER PART II [1974]!). Shigeta's little girl – she even gets to duet with Elvis on a couple of songs – is played by Donna Butterworth, who had debuted in the Jerry Lewis comedy THE FAMILY JEWELS (1965); it was also nice to see Grady Sutton, a favorite W.C. Fields foil back in the day, as the enthusiastic but nervous crocodile-shoe salesman.
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Hawaiian Paradise indeed
tilloscfc19 July 2015
Warning: Spoilers
The only thing that spoils this film, is the soundtrack. I'd say it's a better film than Blue Hawaii (this is understandably nicknamed Blue Hawaii 2) if it had been recorded the other way round (before the "mundane movie formula" had kicked in) and had the songs from "Blue Hawaii" (half of which weren't great themselves anyway) THIS could easily have been Elvis Presley's highest grossing film of his lifetime instead of it's Hawaiian predecessor. English beauty Suzanna Leigh plays the leading "Elvis Girl" in this Movie...what a fabulous figure!! 9 year old Donna Butterworth is arguably the most memorable female in the movie however, with a series of scene stealing performances that makes it hard to understand how this was her final film. She sings two songs with Elvis - the silly "Queenie Wahini's Papaya" and the tongue in cheek "Datin'" as well as a number of her own at a party. Elvis plays out of work pilot Rick Richards (sounds more like a Nascar driver!) who sets up a helicopter tourist business with his pal Danny Kohana (little Donna's dad) and digs himself into a hole by loaning funds to back his business from a bevvie of beauties he'd fled from 2 years earlier. Like most Elvis movies - it's enjoyable. Silly but enjoyable entertainment, never likely to win awards, get nominated for awards or even top anybody's "favourite film" lists, but sometimes it's good - especially for Elvis fans - to just sit back, enjoy some easy entertaining viewing. These films might have been panned in their day - even by the man himself - but now it's great to have so much visual footage of The King singing, talking, romancing, joking and fighting, even though this is the movie where for the first time it looks apparent that Elvis had grown tired of Hollywood and his dreams of being a "serious movie star". His previous few movies had been particularly soft, and heavily criticised and mocked and Elvis doesn't look as good as he had even 6 months earlier in "Harum Scarum" (a trend and a look that would continue over into his next few films, most notably "Clambake").
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absolutely pathetic
kwbucsfan15 August 2001
This has to be one of the top 5 worst Elvis movies ever made. Not only is Elvis overweight and has obviously lost interest in movies (who can clame him?) but the supporting cast stinks and so does the plot. Blue Hawaii II, it is not. This movie is not even close to the caliber of Blue Hawaii.What were the producers thinking? The one saving grace of this movie is that the scenery was very well photographed. This is another movie to avoid unless you are desperately trying to fall asleep.
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"Gee, it's great/to be in that 50th state!"
moonspinner5529 July 2017
Airline pilot Elvis Presley--sacked for fooling around with a stewardess mid-flight--can't find work because of his bad reputation; he returns to Hawaii, his old stomping grounds, to hit up friends for the funding to start a helicopter-shuttle business for tourists. Presley's buddy this time is James Shigeta, a family man with lots of little ones to coo over Elvis and sing with him. Strictly for die-hard Presley fans. The mixture of location shots/travelogue footage with studio fakery and back-projection gives the end results a tatty look, and Elvis just walks through it. There's not even a standout song here, so that the movie isn't even exciting to listen to. *1/2 from ****
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Paradise is very much ironic describing this film
TheLittleSongbird18 March 2017
Elvis Presley was a hugely influential performer with one of the most distinctive singing voices of anybody. He embarked on a film career consisting of 33 films from 1956 to 1969, films that did well at the box-office but mostly panned critically (especially his later films) and while he was a highly charismatic performer he was never considered a great actor.

Am of the opinion that his early efforts pre-'Kissin' Cousins', his first mediocre at best film, ranged from decent to very good, while his films between 'Kissin' Cousins' and 'Harum Scarum' were more variable. Of his films 'King Creole', 'Flaming Star', 'Jailhouse Rock', 'Viva Las Vegas' and 'Loving You' fare best. Those films, and most of his late 50s-early 60s films, looked good, had great soundtracks, great supporting casts and showed that Elvis could be a very capable actor when his material allowed it, even when the dialogue and stories were in a few of them were not strong suits ('King Creole' was a notable exception though). Am also of the opinion that Elvis' film career was an uneven one, while there were good films and performances there were also bad films where he looked bored, where the films had not so good soundtracks and looked cheap, a notable example being his previous film 'Harum Scarum' (widely considered one of his worst for good reason).

Worse efforts than 'Paradise Hawaiian Style'? Marginally yes, it is a little better than 'Harum Scarum' and some of his later films. It is still a lesser effort in his career though. Not terrible but very much mediocre, and most components even less than that.

There are good things with 'Paradise Hawaiian Style'. It looks pretty good, with suitably exotic scenery beautifully photographed. It is not as cheap-looking as his later films or previous efforts like 'Kissin' Cousins', 'Harum Scarum' and 'Frankie & Johnny'.

Of a pretty poor cast generally, Donna Butterworth is the one good standout, sweet and charming with a great voice. The soundtrack is one of the overall worst for an Elvis film, but the title song just about passes muster as a nice enough song.

Otherwise, there is very little to recommend it. The material throughout is not up to par and it is abundantly clear that Elvis himself knows it. He is the most uncomfortable he's ever been up to that point and looks utterly bored and like he wasn't even trying to act. The supporting cast are no better, with the girls having sex appeal but nothing more than that, and the rest having little to do and doing nothing with it. Chemistry is non-existent.

As for the songs, to say that they are unmemorable and sub-par is being far too kind to these adjectives. Quite frankly, apart from one they are a complete embarrassment with the titles and lyrics to make one groan, feel thrown in, are sloppily lip-synched, indifferently staged and performed with no engagement. The direction is throughout dull.

Have no better news to say about the script and story. The script will make the toes curl of even people not expecting much from the script in the first place, after all people don't watch an Elvis film for the script or expecting it to be good, in even some of the best efforts the dialogue is a weak link. The story is like a retread of 'Blue Hawaii', and by now is well shopworn, it's also paper thin, sluggishly paced and goes well overboard on the silliness. Complete with naff, being annoying and far too saccharine, scenes with children that just drag the film down even further.

In conclusion, mediocre at best film where describing it as paradise is very much ironic. 4/10 Bethany Cox
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If this was the first Elvis movie, it would be my last
TC-411 April 2000
I watched this movie because a friend of mine who also has Irish Setters said I have to watch it because there is an Irish Setter in the helicopter with him all the time. Well, that turned out to be about 3 minutes. The rest of the movie was dreadful. When he came out of the ocean from a swim he looked like he was wearing a girdle and quickly put on a bathrobe. None of the songs I ever heard again. None of the leading ladies could act or perform. This was not Viva Las Vegas. The only good thing was seeing John Doucette who was one of my favorite character actors. This is only for the diehard Elvis fans.
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An easygoing film with a great star in a fabulous location.
Alf Riley31 May 2015
I liked it. OK the songs weren't up to much, although I did like the Hawaiian song also showcased to some extent on Donovan's Reef. I can't understand why Elvis' films were criticised so much. His acting was fine and the scenery breath taking, and I don't just mean the location which really does take some beating, especially from where I am, which is in the UK. I was always jealous of his looks and voice, and the film did nothing to diminish either. The plot was also plausible and when you've got lots of friends, as Elvis' characters always have, there's plenty of scope to build plots and sub plots around them. I think people should lighten up before finding fault with his films. He was a singer first and foremost who did a good job in combining his musical talent with acting to present himself as different people in different situations. Not a lot of people can do that!
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Decent plus
SanteeFats21 February 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Okay this a typical Elvis movie. He sings a lot of songs, the bikini clad women chase him and he plays the roue. Until of course he meets the ONE. In my opinion Donna Butterworth (what a name) comes close to stealing the movie. She is a cute tyke, can sing and dance a bit, and she can act. What is that old show biz adage: Never act with children or animals, they will always steal the show. Most of the movie revolves around Elvis's character trying to get a flying service off the ground :) in the Hawaiian Islands. Of course things get off to a rough start and just go down hill from there. Until the end of the movie when everything works it's self out and all becomes good.
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Elvis flies helicopters
mike_cable11 July 2010
Paradise, Hawaiin Style is a film about a pilot who is thrown out of his old job for being a sleaze-bag. He comes back to his island buddies in Hawaii to start a new helicopter charter business with his pilot friend. It seems to be working out well for them until his old ways start catching him… Apart from throwing into a song every 10 minutes, the film features a nice cast who play the various friends of Elvis Presley's character, Rick. Of particular note is Donna Butterworth, a young girl with a great voice who looks like she had a lot of fun making this 1966 film.

The film also features a pair of ever-present Bell 47J Ranger helicopters, quite often seen making max. performance takeoffs and hasty landings. The film is a real treat for aircraft and helicopter enthusiasts who get to see these old machines in great detail, up close. A lot of back-projection is used for the flying scenes featuring close-ups of Elvis and the other cast members, and the scenery is beautiful.

One particular scene has the chopper flying through a mountainous valley with dives and climbs not usually seen performed by such helicopters. Another scene has a bunch of canine passengers causing havoc for Elvis as he tries to fly the chopper, getting low and fast, scaring locals and crashing a car.

The legendary Elvis is particularly wooden in this film, just going through the motions to make a film with no real depth to his role, otherwise it is an enjoyable film for the entire family.
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sorry..this one's lousy
beauzee5 November 2014
his box office was clearly it was ..back to Hawaii..and recovered fame and fortune like with BLUE HAWAII and GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS. not really.

except for a couple of awful songs esp. written for the movie, the soundtrack is good, although the best song ("Sand Castles") was used only on vinyl! > in fact, the soundtrack album was shockingly well produced! how did that happen? guess we can say something good did come out of this mess.

nice touch that a real local celebrity, the young Donna Butterworth, got to act and sing with Elvis and they have a nice chemistry. but that should send up the proverbial red flag...this ain't gonna be a serious drama or groovy comedy with Presley but yet another, light hearted romp, where Elvis dodges aggressive chicks and finds solace in entertaining a kid.

storyline is okay..Elvis has shifted from boats and cars to helicopters. but he is overweight and obviously disgusted. the noticeable gut on his short-sleeved aviation shirt and black house paint on his sprayed coiff make him look anything but cool.

not worth it even for deep fans. how much money did Hal Wallis waste on this? who knows? instead of making a great drama with 3 songs, with Elvis doing karate and anything he wanted to do, it was business as usual. let's assume he *lost* fans with this.
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Good 2nd Unit Stuff
aimless-4624 December 2009
"Paradise Hawaiian Style" is a somewhat bizarre mix of Guy Lombardo and "Magnum P.I.". Younger viewers seeking an answer to why the British Invasion of the mid-1960's was almost instantly successfully need look no further than this film. By 1966 Elvis Presley had gone from a target audience of teenagers looking to scare their parents with his sensual style of rock and roll, to being the heartthrob of the nursing home circuit; electing to skip entirely the huge demographic between these two groups. The British Invasion was able to hit our beaches almost unopposed.

A rather tired looking Elvis plays Rick Richards, a sweet-talking womanizing airline pilot who finds himself unemployed and back in the islands. Rick teams up with his old island buddy Danny Kohana (James Shigeta of "Flower Drum Song" fame) to open a helicopter charter service. Shigeta is pretty good in this role as a responsible family man who must ride herd on his philandering partner. Rick's female conquests prove useful in drumming up charter customers; while these arrangements can be blamed for the repeatedly lame joke (and song) about "scratching each others back".

Setting back women's lib by several years is female pilot Judy Hudson (played by Suzanna Leigh) who is relegated to receptionist duties as the boys do all the flying. Leigh is a staggeringly untalented actress and could be a source of many mockfest moments if that's your idea of a good time.

Marianne Hill (a good actress who a couple years later turned in a memorable guest performance on "Star Trek") plays Rick's main love interest. My guess is that the two female parts were originally combined and that the producers owed some favors; so they split up the character. A disservice to the movie as there is not enough remaining in either part to connect with an already unengaged audience.

A touch of cuteness was added by casting Donna Butterworth as Rick's 10-year old daughter. She and The King have a couple decent numbers together, the only songs worthy of your attention. As in "Blue Hawaii" there are island themed musical productions but no actual island songs or music. And the geriatric garbage Elvis sings is surreal in its wholesomeness. Just a few years before, many parents had been reluctant to let the television appearances of this dangerous predator into their living rooms.

One thing to note is the total absence of close-ups. Elvis had gone all Frank Sinatra by this point and was strictly limiting the amount of time he spent on the set. Since he appears in most of the movie this meant that the director had to make do with wide master shots and second unit stuff. A bad thing because point-of-view, acting for the camera, and character identification are all casualties of this Minnelli style of film-making. Yet a good thing as the second unit does a great job with the aerial sequences, the scenery, and the natives (all of which is nicely showcased on the DVD which was made from a excellent original).

Also worth watching for from a film school perspective is one of the worst directed sequences you are likely to find in any mainstream production. Midway through the film Elvis and some unknown and eager looking starlet are placed in a scene with about a half dozen dogs. This is supposed to be a comic moment as the misbehaving dogs cause the copter to fly wildly around the island (studio shots of Elvis cut into 2nd unit outdoor flying sequences) and when it finally lands Elvis and the bubbly actress emerge looking completely disheveled. But they can't get much action from the sedated dogs and the director can't get much energy from the bored Elvis. So you have shot after shot of this overeager starlet mugging for the camera and overreacting to the phantom disruptions of the dogs; who were too sleepy to be a factor.

Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.
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Poor Film
Michael_Elliott27 February 2008
Paradise, Hawaiian Style (1966)

* 1/2 (out of 4)

Elvis plays a pilot who travels to Hawaii to start up his own business but he ends up falling for a woman (Suzanna Leigh) and this might just cost him more than his little bitty heart. I guess I should start off by saying that Elvis gives a truly bad performance here but considering the script I guess you can't blame him nor can you blame him for doing so many drugs. It's strange but it's easy to tell that he's not interested in the film as he pretty much sleepwalks through the entire thing but I also noticed that a lot of the scenes seemed to be rushed by him as if he was wanting to get the film over very quickly and to do so he read the lines extremely fast. It also seems like he might not have even known the lines as he's constantly looking to the side of him and appears to be reading some of the lines. I wouldn't bash him too hard because the film is stupid from the opening titles to the very last scene. The supporting players are all pretty lousy and Dona Butterworth didn't impress me either. There's one incredibly silly scene with them two singing on a beach but there's an even worse scene with Elvis flying a helicopter while singing to a bunch of dogs who eventually get into a fight. There's some nice locations but that's pretty much it. I was also shocked to see that David Hess from The Last House on the Left wrote one of the songs.
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