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Can't Help Falling In Love With Hawaii
bkoganbing4 September 2005
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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In Hawaii with The King of Rock and Roll
TheLittleSongbird28 February 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.

While not one of the top three Elvis films, those being 'King Creole', 'Flaming Star' and 'Jailhouse Rock', 'Blue Hawaii' is one of his better overall films. It's proof that his early films were actually pretty good, but unfortunately it was one of his last good ones when the formula started here wore increasingly thin and further suffered from looking less appealing and even the quality of the soundtracks and Elvis' acting wavering significantly.

'Blue Hawaii' could have been better. The formulaic story has occasional draggy spots due to the content not quite being enough to sustain the running time. While most of the soundtrack is great, there is a big difference between the best songs and the weakest, with a couple of songs that don't feel necessary, feel thrown in for the sake of it and are neither catchy or beautiful, particularly "Ito Eats" and "Splicin' Sand". The supporting cast is variable, annoying Jenny Maxwell and dull John Archer coming off worst.

However, Elvis looks natural and is very charismatic, as well as vocally and performance-wise being very much in prime. Personally thought Joan Blackman was appealing, likewise with her chemistry with Elvis, but Roland Winters and particularly Angela Lansbury fare best in support.

Visually, 'Blue Hawaii' is one of the most beautiful-looking Elvis films, along with 'King Creole' and 'Flaming Star'. It's beautifully shot and Hawaii entrances more than it ever has on film. Norman Taurog directs assuredly in by far one of his better outings with Elvis (there were 9 and the first two, the other two being 'GI Blues', are the best).

Most of the soundtrack is simply great, the highlight being the sublime "Can't Help Falling in Love", one of Elvis' most famous songs and it is impossible to not understand why. "No More", "Rock-a-Hula Baby", "Hawaiian Sunset" and "Hawaiian Wedding Song" are honourable mentions. The script is witty and there is enough of the story that amuses and charms.

In conclusion, good Elvis film, one of his better ones without being among his very best. 7/10 Bethany Cox
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Can't help falling in love with Elvis
blanche-224 June 2005
Elvis Presley was in great shape when he made "Blue Hawaii," which was a cut above the typical Elvis garbage films that Colonel Tom arranged for him to make later. This is a really fun film with some great numbers. I have always been partial to Rock A Hula - it's exuberant, it's sexy, it's Elvis. This film also features "Can't Help Falling in Love" and the "Hawaiian Wedding Song." Angela Lansbury has a great turn as Elvis' southern mother.

This film, with its big budget and great soundtrack, laid the groundwork for the Elvis movies made later. Unfortunately, as Parker had negotiated a percentage of each film, it didn't take him long to realize that the faster and cheaper they made them, the more money for him and, by extension, Elvis. In fact, later on, the songs done in the films were not specifically written for the particular film - they were simply unreleased songs that were bundled into an album as the movie soundtrack.

But when you see Blue Hawaii, don't dwell on any of that. Just enjoy the scenery and the young, healthy Elvis, with his whole post-Army life ahead of him. All 17 years of it.
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A Good Film With Great Scenery
jayraskin114 November 2011
Its a little sad that I'm only the second person in 2011 to review this movie. I guess interest in Elvis has really waned in the last few years.

Presley's 28 or so movies are pretty much evenly divided between great, good, fair and poor. This one ranks solidly in the top of the good category. Like "Fun in Acapulco" and "Viva Las Vegas," there's some great scenery, good music, and a plot that holds interest pretty much all the way through.

Cinematography takes top honors. Hawaii has hardly ever looked so good.

Presley interacts well with the natives and does a good job convincing us that he could be a native boy. He seems fit and comfortable with everything and everyone in the movie.

The movie seems more crowded with Presley songs than usual, hardly five minutes goes by before there's another one. Fortunately, they're generally pleasant with an Hawaiian or in one case Jamaican flavor. The song "Can't Help Falling in Love with You" is one of Presley's greatest and unfortunately it is more or less a throwaway here, with Presley singing it to his girlfriend's grandmother more than her.

Definitely a must see for Elvis fans and a watchable one for non-Elvis fans.

I watched this on the day that the writer Hal Kantner died. He created two excellent television shows in the 1960's, "Julia" and "Valentine's Day." He was an excellent and intelligent comedy writer as this film shows.
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the start of the end for serious Elvis movies
serpico_usa29 December 2004
While this is one of Elvis' greatest and fun movies it is a great shame that it was so successful, as it ruined the promise of a wonderful movie career for the King. The scenery and songs are unmatched and it is a fairly decent script, even after some sour comments from Angela Lansbury. Ms. Lansbury has constantly degraded this movie but she made a wonderful appearance as Elvis's mother, and I am sure gave her new fans. This movie was also responsible along with Hawaii Five-O as giving tourism to the Islands a big boost, but have the Hawaiian Tourist Bureau ever mentioned this. 40 years on it is still a treat to watch,and still surpasses some of today's so called "hot movies".Due to the popularity of Blue Hawaii El's management told him this was the way to go.Such a shame.
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Pineapples, Peaches and Pearls!
CosmicDwellings9 April 2001
The ultimate Elvis Presley musical of the 1960's-and the biggest box office success of his entire Hollywood career. 'Blue Hawaii' is the one that certainly hit the highs with it's blend of comedy, romance, music, scenery and a bevvy of beauties!

This film laid down the blueprint for the majority of Elvis' other 60's musicals that each and every Company, writer, producer and director, tried to recapture and remake time and again. But, artistically, it never quite happened.

The water was tested with Presley's first post-army movie, the critically acclaimed 'G.I. Blues', the year before, that introduced us to the new Elvis look and feel. The family audience were captured by Tom Parker's crafty, but clever, plans to make his boy appeal to a much wider spectrum of tastes and trends. And, 'Blue Hawaii' established firmly which route 'The King's' film career path was going to take.

It is an absolute must-see for a number of things including the fine direction of Norman Taurog and the beautiful Hawaiian paradise that unfolds like a travelogue. But, most importantly we are treated to a more mature Elvis Presley who handles his character's script with notable impressive comic timing when feeding off the intimidating characterisation by Angela Lansbury who plays his domineering mother.

Elvis seemed to gain a lot of enthusiasm and incentive by working with a fine supporting cast e.g. 'Jailhouse Rock', 'King Creole', 'Flaming Star', 'Wild In The Country', and 'Blue Hawaii' is no exception to the rule. The immediate screen chemistry between himself and his beautiful co-star, Joan Blackman, portraying the couple in love, is quite in evidence here and they both play off each other amicably. Although, rumour had it, it was a different ball game off camera.

An Elvis movie wouldn't be an Elvis movie if he didn't chant his way through a number of songs and with 'Blue Hawaii' this culminated in a total of fourteen that made up a soundtrack that was to become one of his biggest selling albums ever. These songs blended the local islands traditional themes('Aloha-oe', 'Ku-u-i-po', 'Island of Love'), with silly production tunes('Ito Eats' and 'Almost Always True') and a taste of the new movie-style rock 'n' roll numbers ('Rock-A-Hula Baby' and 'Slicin' Sand') through to the beautiful ballads that Elvis' remarkably crafted operatic voice of this time, handles with consummate skill and ease ('Blue Hawaii', 'No More' and 'Can't Help Falling In Love'). The film's finale is a cinematic classic and beautifully filmed with Elvis once again in tremendous form with those golden vocal chords-Wonderful!

This film was made at the start of a different era of the Rock music phenomenon, and afterall it was Hollywood, so not all of the Hawaiian flavoured ditties will suite everyone's taste. But, it just went to prove no matter what kind of song Elvis sang and released it would still boost sales to the point of gold record certified!

Elvis' performance as homecoming G.I. turned 'beach bum', Chad Gates, is flawless in this movie and obviously shows us that he has a flair for this kind of comedy setting. The film itself when viewed today is still as fresh and feel-good as it ever was which is more than can be stated of the much later so-called sequel-'Paradise Hawaiian Style' and other such Presley vehicles as 'Girl Happy', 'Tickle Me', 'Harum Scarum', 'Easy Come, Easy Go', 'Double Trouble' and 'Clambake'. All of which try to recreate the 'Blue Hawaii' formula albeit in a bad way with Elvis displaying his acting and singing talents in a mediocre sort of way.

But, finally, for all it's class and high points, 'Blue Hawaii', in the long run, was certainly the 'Kiss of Death' for 'The King', and his acting ability and enthusiasm for the big screen would never be portrayed as consistently ever again.
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Blue Hawaii (1961) **
JoeKarlosi30 January 2007
Elvis is a G.I. returning home to the Hawaiian islands after a 2 year stint in the service, but remains a kid at heart who doesn't want to grow up. His parents would love him to work a sensible job at his father's pineapple business (!) but all Presley wants to do is have a good time, so he becomes a tour guide (ho-hum). G.I. BLUES was fun and, when we consider all Presley's films in production order, it worked well as a romantic comedy on its own. But BLUE HAWAII was really the film that would take Elvis into a silly direction for most of his future movies in the '60s. He doesn't seem as interested as he was in previous roles, and now we also get a heaping helping of corny twangy throwaway Hawaiian songs from "the King", with embarrassing titles like "Ito Eats". One saving grace music-wise is his featured classic tune "Can't Help Falling in Love", but unfortunately it's an abbreviated version and is sung to an old lady. Angela Lansbury puts in a good effort as Presley's flighty mom, but it doesn't help matters any. I do, in fact, enjoy some of Elvis' later goofy 1960s fun flicks for what they are, but this one was just too standard and aimless. ** out of ****
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Not by-the-numbers
Boyo-221 February 2000
There is something about Elvis in Hawaii that makes so much sense to me. The fact that several of his movies were made there is not surprising at all. I enjoyed this one very much - he has some great chemistry w/his co-stars and Angela Lansbury gets to overact as his possessive Mother. All in all, I liked the movie very much and who can resist hearing the King sing "Can't Help Falling in Love With You" on more time?
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Pretty good but...
ODDBear23 April 2004
While this is an O.K. film is most respects, sadly this turned out to be the route which Elvis's later film followed. Elvis is always likable in films like these, but when you've seen most of his later movies, you find out that they all follow a similar formula and it's hard to distinguish them from one another. Here, Elvis playes the same role as he did in practically every film after this one; a charming, womanising lad who happens to sing well. I should however note that I haven't seen all of his 33 films, but I've seen like 20 or so. Blue Hawaii is fondly remembered because of it's beautiful music and terrific scenery (Hawaii always looks enchanting). It's quite a lovely scene when Elvis sings "Can't help falling in love" to the old lady. Who wouldn't be charmed by that? 6 out of 10.
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His best musical
MichaelMovieLoft3 July 2003
In 1959, Hawaii became recognized as a station in the Union. In 1961, Elvis went there to film the first in his trilogy to Hawaii, Blue Hawaii. I wrote the plot summary, so I won't go through what it is about. I will say that it is the only musical he is really good at because it was the original that was then followed by several imitations...all done by Elvis.

Elvis wanted to be a real actor in a film with bite, but this was as close as he would come. The script is light and fun, the acting is good and there are a few songs that aren't that embarassing to The King. Joan Blackman is great as his girl, Maile (I couldn't picture Juliet Prowse in the role since she looked too strong for the character). Angela Lansbury is hilarious in the role of his mother. She says it was a low point in her career, but in truth the chemistry she has with the rest of the cast is good. It is also full of breathtaking scenery. Even the interiors that were filmed in Hollywood don't look bargain budget.

Sadly, Elvis would make more of the same after this. Viva Las Vegas comes close to the greatness Blue Hawaii had, but Tom Parker didn't care as he just wanted to hear 'cha-ching'. Elvis just wasn't strong enough to say 'no' to Parker. Elvis was better than the movies he was in, and if he did the remake of 'A Star Is Born', that would've changed everything.

Everytime I watch this, I get happy but also sad at the same time. His performance is very good and it makes me wonder what might could have been if he didn't do all those formula films.
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The beginning of the end....
dbdumonteil2 July 2006
.... as far as Elvis's adventures in the movies are concerned.All that he did before is worth a watch :"love me tender" "flaming star" "jailhouse rock" "king creole" are exciting movies even if you are not a big Elvis fan."Wild in the country" was inferior but it had at least a decent screenplay.

The slump begins with "Blue Hawai" .The talented directors (Richard Thorpe,Don Siegel...) were replaced by Norman Taurog who would become Elvis's regular one.

OK,Hawai's pictures are nice,there is Angela Landsbury.

The songs are weaker than in the previous flicks:the only memorable tune is "can't help falling in love" based on an old French folk song "Plaisir D'Amour" (=joys of love).

You'd better take one of the movies I mention above,particularly Don Siegel's "Flaming Star".
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Elvis Presley makes Blue Hawaii all go down as passable entertainment
tavm19 November 2020
This is the first of Elvis Presley's trio of Hawaii movies. It's also his first with Joan Blackman as his leading lady. It's also the only time Angela Lansbury and Roland Winters-a former Charlie Chan-played his parents. And the second time he's directed by Norman Taurog. In summary, Blue Hawaii has Elvis singing many songs including his hit "Can't Help Falling in Love with You", some jealously between his girlfriend and some of the ladies he tours the island with, an unusually lame performance from Ms. Lansbury as a stereotypical Southern matriarch, a pretty amusing one from Howard McNear as Presley and Ms. Blackman's boss, and a thin plot that is extended by all those numbers! I'll just say that this movie was pretty entertaining despite all that....
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Woefully underrated ode to Hawaii
TVholic28 April 1999
There's quite a bit to like about this pleasant if unoriginal musical. Hawaii has never looked better before or since, showcased by beautiful, panoramic shots in this movie. Here, it's a relentlessly wholesome place, a mirror image of the seamy underside shown in "Hawaii Five-O" years later. Tourist-trap "native traditions" are given special attention. Day or night, it's so intoxicating that it almost makes you want to immediately hop a plane to Honolulu or to Kauai, the "island of love."

The soundtrack is quite possibly the best of any Elvis movie, with such gems as "Can't Help Falling In Love," the toe-tapping "Rockahula," "Hawaiian Wedding Song" and an abbreviated but still enjoyable rendition from Elvis of the traditional Hawaiian classic, "Aloha Oe." Unlike virtually every other musical, they never break into song for no good reason. Whether it's to change the subject, serenade a grandmother on her birthday, or liven up a party, there's always a radio or band present rather than having the music come out of nowhere.

Elvis was in top form here - handsome, slim, and boyish. A far cry from the overweight, ostentatious, muttonchopped, rhinestoned, caped and bell-bottomed joke he became a decade later. The rest of the cast was good, with the exception of an over-the-top Angela Lansbury and a cold, unmusical Joan Blackman. Still, the love story was one of the better ones, with the relationship established before the movie opens instead of the ridiculous whirlwind romance of most other Elvis movies.

Watch this on the biggest screen TV to get the feeling you're actually in this Hawaii that never was, at least during the outdoor scenes, not when they retreated to the studio. Better yet, make it a double feature with "Gidget Goes Hawaiian" and you can luxuriate in the Hawaii of 1961, only two years after it had become the 50th state.
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one of his best
kwbucsfan16 August 2001
This is one of his all time best movies. The plot is great and so is the scenery. Young man who wants to make it oh his own. This movie also has a strong supporting cast with the lat Howard McNear, Joan Blackman playing opposit Elvis and the heralded Angela Lansbury. This was his best musical and second only to Charro! as his best. Unfortunately this movie and GI Blues (both good movies) were so successful that this became the formula.
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extra for the music
SnoopyStyle16 July 2021
Chad Gates (Elvis Presley) has come home to Hawaii after getting out of the Army. He is greeted by his girlfriend Maile Duval (Joan Blackman). He reunites with his surf buddies. His mother Sarah Lee (Angela Lansbury) wants him to take over the family business but he resists.

Before watching any of the his movies, Blue Hawaii would be my guess as the quintessential Elvis movie. The title, the song, and the sunshine are what I envisioned. It's slightly exotic but safely well within middle America. The songs are amazing. Blue Hawaii is already a good song and his Can't Help Falling in Love is an all-timer. The movie has Hawaii and its great locations. It's sunshine and waves. The story is nothing. The romantic chemistry is pedestrian. As a movie, it barely passes but I have to give this extra points for the iconic music.
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Lots of Fun on the Beach with Elvis!
gavin694230 January 2016
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.

While I can't say I'm a huge Elvis fan, nor have I seen almost any of his movies, I rather enjoyed this one. It is just so laid back and fun. Sure, it makes little sense that he just breaks into song and sounds absolutely perfect. But does it matter? Amovie like this seems perfect or the era that brought us Frankie Avalon and such movies as "Beach Blanket Bingo". They just do not make good beach movies anymore. Heck, do they even make bad ones?
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A tutorial on drama
bwaynef27 March 1999
Drama, as many of my college English instructors have said, is dependent on conflict, of which there are several types: conflict with society; conflict with another person; and conflict with oneself. In that case, is there a better example of drama than "Blue Hawaii"?

Chad, played by Elvis Presley, has just been discharged from the army, but for him the war is only beginning. Like all Presley heroes, Chad wants his independence, to make it on his own. His parents, however, want him to go to work for his father's pineapple business. Chad is torn between the desire to honor his parents and to follow his own dream of freedom. He is also subjected to the wrath of society which demands that the individual suppress all notions of rebellion and toe the line.

What is Chad to do? Can he forfeit his dreams of independence without also forfeiting his happiness? And can he spurn his parents' wishes without forsaking the love of his mother (Angela Lansbury)? It's all very intense. If not for the 12 toe-tapping tunes, watching "Blue Hawaii" would be an emotionally draining experience. (There are 14 songs in all, but the wonderful "Can't Help Falling in Love" and the title tune aren't toe-tappers.) Did you know that another of the songs, "Moonlight Swim," was first recorded by Anthony Perkins (who named one of his sons Elvis)? Go forth and spread the news!

Brian W. Fairbanks
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Elvis the Lounge Singer
JamesHitchcock3 September 2010
After leaving the Army, former G.I. Chad Gates returns to his home in Hawaii, where his wealthy parents want him to go to work at his father's Great Southern Hawaiian Fruit Company. Chad, however, would rather spend his days surfing and hanging out at the beach with his friends and his pretty half-Hawaiian girlfriend Maile (pronounced "Miley"). He realises, however, that he needs to take up some sort of occupation, so he starts as a tour guide at the travel agency where Maile works. His first assignment is to show a schoolmistress and a group of her teenage students around the island and complications ensue when both the teacher, Abigail, and Ellie, one of her pupils, fall for Chad.

It has been said that this film set the tone for Elvis Presley's future film career; a musical romantic comedy featuring pretty locations, prettier girls, mediocre songs and banal plots. Several of his later films would also fit this formula, including his two others set in Hawaii, "Girls! Girls! Girls!" and "Paradise, Hawaiian Style". (Presley did not spend all his time working for the Hawaii tourist board; he was equally ready to offer his services to other prime holiday destinations, hence the likes of "Fun in Acapulco" or "Viva Las Vegas"). None of these films made any great demands on his acting skills, and in "Blue Hawaii" he is (as he often was) so laid-back as to be practically horizontal.

Although Elvis was, in chronological terms, still young (only 26) when he made this film, he was, in career terms, already middle-aged. Gone was the hip-swivelling Elvis the Pelvis of the mid-fifties, the wild young rock-and-roller denounced from pulpits all across America as a danger to the morals of the nation's youth. In his place was Elvis the lounge singer, a younger, better-looking version of Frank Sinatra or Bing Crosby, crooning a string of bland, middle-of-the-road easy- listening numbers, in this film often with a vaguely Hawaiian flavour. Only occasionally does he break into anything resembling rock-and-roll. The only memorable song here is his well-known hit "Can't Help Falling in Love", and even that is a gentle romantic ballad, unlikely to be denounced from the pulpit of even the most censorious preacher.

In some of Elvis' films his leading ladies were well-known actresses, such as Ursula Andress in "Fun in Acapulco" or Ann-Margret in "Viva Las Vegas", but here his love interest is the attractive but obscure Joan Blackman. The only other actor of any celebrity in the movie is Angela Lansbury who plays Chad's mother Sarah Lee. Lansbury started her career in the mid forties playing pretty young things, but by the time of "Blue Hawaii" she had settled down into what was to be her normal niche of playing women considerably older than her actual age. (In 1961 she was 36, only ten years older than Elvis himself). She plays Sarah Lee with an exaggerated, stagey southern drawl; the Gates family are supposed to have moved to Hawaii from Georgia, a detail presumably inserted to explain away Elvis' own southern accent, but Sarah Lee ends up speaking with a quite different accent from either her son or her husband. Lansbury later rated her performance here as one of the worst in her career and it is hard to disagree with her.

"Blue Hawaii" was clearly intended as wholesome family entertainment, but there are two points at which it might cause some raising of eyebrows today. The first is the (presumably) unintentional double entendre which occurs when Maile asks Chad whether he can satisfy a teacher and four teenagers. The second comes when Chad picks Ellie up, puts her across his knee and gives her a good spanking. Ellie is, admittedly, an obnoxiously spoilt and sulky little brat, seventeen going on six- it is not hard to see why Chad prefers the more placid Maile- but even so such behaviour would today count as either sexual harassment or criminal assault. Perhaps in the early sixties there was a clause in Hawaiian state law permitting tour guides to administer corporal punishment to unruly teenagers.

My copy of "Blue Hawaii" is a DVD recently given away free as part of a newspaper promotion, which suggests that there must still be a market for this sort of thing, as they are hardly going to give away films that nobody wants to watch. Presumably that market consists of die-hard subjects of King Elvis, especially the older generation who can still remember him in his prime. I suspect that were it not for the presence of the great man "Blue Hawaii" would be just another long-forgotten cheesy sixties beach movie. 5/10
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Blue in paradise!
moonspinner5517 December 2006
Fairly weak outing for Elvis Presley, here playing a soldier returning home to Honolulu and fighting with his parents over the direction of his life (seems EP wants to be a guide for tourists, but his folks would rather have him go into the family business--pineapples!). Angela Lansbury, as Elvis' rock 'n-roll-hating mother, is always an asset but doesn't have much of a character to play; she's forgettable this time, as is Joan Blackman, one of Presley's dullest on-screen love-interests. The star himself looks bored, and most of his songs here are mediocre. Very popular in 1961, mostly with Presley-fans who were celebrating his own return from service, also with viewers who never got to Hawaii themselves. ** from ****
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The Blueprint for Mediocrity
wes-connors18 April 2010
Fresh out of the U.S. Army, singing and guitar-strumming Elvis Presley (as Chadwick "Chad" Gates) returns to his Hawaiian island home, and pretty sweetheart Joan Blackman (as Maile Duval). "On you, wet is my favorite color," Mr. Presley tells Ms. Blackman, but he is tempted by other beautiful women in bathing suits. Presley also resists settling down as heir to his family's pineapple business, much to the chagrin of mother Angela Lansbury (as Sarah Lee). Ms. Lansbury cries, "What did I do wrong?"

Blowing all previous Presley pictures out of the water at the box office, "Blue Hawaii" pretty much set the stage for the "Elvis travelogue" movie, unfortunately. It isn't the best of the lot, but the combination of the lush locales and Hawaiian-flavored soundtrack has an undeniably intoxicating effect. It's positively sleep-inducing.

The soundtrack spent a whopping twenty weeks at #1 on the charts. Classic single "Can't Help Falling in Love" / "Rock-a-Hula Baby" hit #1 around the world. Though not a single in America, "No More" followed it to #1 in a few areas, also. Presley's rendition of "Hawaiian Wedding Song" and the title track are classics in their own way. It's too bad all the financial success didn't embolden anyone to take a few more chances with Presley as an actor - although, to be fair, he looks neither willing nor able herein.

**** Blue Hawaii (11/22/61) Norman Taurog ~ Elvis Presley, Joan Blackman, Angela Lansbury, Roland Winters
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Fun, sun, songs and the beautiful Hawaiian scenery.
michaelRokeefe20 October 1999
Arguably the most successful of Elvis' movies. Chad Gates (Elvis) returns from the army to his beautiful hawaiian sweetheart (Joan Blackman). Angela Landsbury plays Chad's ditsy and domineering mother. She wants her son to take a position in his father's pineapple business. Chad decides to become a tourist guide. There is always time to party, sing and romance. The movie soundtrack still remains one of the biggest selling Presley albums. Fourteen songs featuring "Hawaiian Wedding Song", "Rock-a-Hula Baby" and the classic "Can't Help Falling In Love" support this light comedic musical.
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too many songs
sandcrab2775 December 2020
This film wasn't advertised as a musical yet its chock full of it ... angela landsbury is over the top as the mother and jenny maxwell does her beast as a spoiled child ... i really enjoyed joan blackman as the loyal girlfriend and the local hawaiian boys were terrific ... steve brodie put in one of his obnoxious performances as a horny tourist
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Some of the best musical numbers in an Elvis movie. Watched this as a kid when it came out first and enjoy it even more as a senior citizen!
daswitzer21 September 2020
Colorful and magical! Some of the best musical numbers in an Elvis movie. Enjoyed it as a child when it was first released enjoying it now as a senior citizen just as much if not even more.
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Hawaii Tourism Owes Elvis Big Time
LeonardKniffel29 April 2020
Happy to be out of the army and back home in Hawaii with his surf board and his beach buddies, Elvis Presley--playing as in all his films a version of Elvis Presley--hits new levels of wholesomeness as he sings "I Can't Help Falling in Love with You." The film is hilarious for its depiction of the mores of the day, before the sexual revolution. The Hawaiian visitors bureau owes a big debt to Elvis for popularizing the state as a tourist destination; Hawaii became a state just two years before the film's release. And watch for Angela Lansbury's turn as his snobbish Southern belle mother. "Ito Eats" is Presley's blatant Harry Belafonte imitation. ---from Musicals on the Silver Screen, American LIbrary Association, 2013
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gkeith_126 May 2022
Warning: Spoilers
Spoilers. Observations. Opinions. Reflections.

Older snobs in 1950s-1960s used to abhor Elvis, but are many passed away by now. Elvis got to be extremely popular, however. His memory has outlasted a lot of never-weres and also-rans.

This film: Elvis/Chad back from Army. Can't stand working in father's pineapple company, so gets position in travel company and leading tourists.

Interesting story. I liked the wedding, and the wedding song. Liked the other songs.

Long Live The King!!

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