Elvis: Films That Rock contains three of the King's early screen efforts: Love Me Tender (1956), Flaming Star (1960) and Wild in the Country (1961). It's pointless to suggest that they aren't among Elvis's best movies (you'll have to look elsewhere for King Creole and Jailhouse Rock, which probably are), partly because any fan's going to want them all anyway, but also because all three are interesting in their different ways. Love Me Tender, made in black and white in 1956, was Presley's first stab at acting, and this story of a family split by the American Civil War--one... brother goes off to fight, the other doesn't--sees him short on screentime and being upstaged by pretty much everyone else. That said, it was a reasonably brave move for Presley to begin his movie career by dealing with this kind of subject matter, however sentimentalised. Four years later, Flaming Star took the steer by the horns with Presley portraying a young man of mixed parentage caught up in the ethnic conflict between Native Americans and the white race. Again, a brave choice of subject; this was a landmark movie insofar as it showed Presley certainly had enough acting ability to create a credible parallel career along the lines of, say, Sinatra. It wasn't to be, though, as even then his talents were being manipulated by others, which is why all his later movies--even the best ones--were little more than advertisements for his records. Wild in the Country, from the following year, saw Presley as a young tearaway who finds redemption in his talent for writing. It's pure melodrama, but the moralising is kept under control. This is a nice little collection, all in all, and an essential for any fan. On the DVD: Elvis: Films That Rock presents the three pictures in positively radiant transfers, which are absolutely gunge-free and make the very best of the beautifully stylised lighting and cinematography of the period, while the classic Cinemascope presentations translate perfectly into widescreen. Special features include trailers for all three movies. --Roger Thomas [show more]
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