Jailhouse Rock (1957)

Jailhouse Rock
Directed by Richard Thorpe
(number 495)

I feel like I should preface this with a disclaimer: I kind of hate Elvis. I mean, I have some bad associations with some of his music and I just never really got the appeal of him. Because of this I have never watched an Elvis movie before and I don’t really know what to expect. Star vehicles of the 50s and 60s aren’t a genre I’ve investigated at all really, so that’s the background I’m coming from with this film.

In the first five minutes Elvis punches a man to death and is then convicted for it. Intense! Like, shit got real super fast in this movie. Also I super love how Elvis had to fix his hair the second after a girl touched it and one of the things the punched-to-death guy threatened was to mess with his hair.

Shot in black and white, you can see how pretty Elvis was, the happy-go-lucky-scampiness of him.

I have to say though, that as soon as he got into prison things got extremely homo-erotic. The burly, older cellmate was grumpy for about three sentences and then started looking after Elvis (Vince is his character name actually), and they sang love songs to each other and he taught him how to play guitar.

Once he’s spent a rather fast year in prison he walks out to become a famous singer. As this is Elvis, and it’s his movie, it appears to be pretty easy for him to achieve.

There’s a little bitterness along the way, some success, some epic melodrama and a lot of panicking from me and Blair because Elvis would get angry and then we’d be like “DON’T PUNCH!! KILLER FISTS! OH NO!” which was actually pretty hilarious.

Best line: “That’s the way the mop flops”

It is as Blair says, very much a product of its time. I found the melodrama a bit hard to swallow at the end, and the characters were pretty shallow. It is beautifully made and the music is classic, etc but yeah. I dunno. I liked the jail stuff at the start more than the music career stuff in the second half. I’m not sure, I might watch it again some day, but I won’t be rushing out to do so.

State of Mind: Ehhhhh…. eh?


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