Friday, May 27, 2011

Retro Matinee Double Feature: Viva Las Vegas and Rebel Without a Cause

My new favorite four letter word: king. As in THE king!

Sometimes, all your Friday night needs is spaghetti, and a little Elvis Presley.

Immediately after watching Viva Las Vegas, I:
...felt like I've lived a fuller life.
...Could not believe I've never seen this before, and immediately wanted to watch it again. Several of the musical numbers I did watch again. I adored the dance scenes, and always think it's sad that though we're increasing watching dance on television, we don't dance socially really like we once did.
...Had red hair envy looking at Ann-Magret. I colored my brown hair blonde and then red over a decade, and could pay for an all expenses paid trip to Vegas with a stay at the Palms for a weekend with the money I spent (ahem, wasted).
...Wanted to go to Vegas! (which isn't high on my list usually, and I've never been to).
...Went straight to the library for an Elvis documentary and greatest hits. I do have one album of his number one hits in my CD collection. Must get more!
...Above all else, longed for days when Elvis and not Gaga (who doesn't seem very lady-like!) ruled the charts.

Save for maybe seeing some Elvis movies as a child on television which I barely remember, I haven't seen any of his films.

Have you seen many Elvis films? Are there any you think I must see? Moviefone listed its picks for top 10 Elvis favorites, and King Creole took its number one spot.

I didn't know Elvis idolized James Dean (imagine Elvis - idolizing someone!) and just happened to see Rebel Without a Cause around the same time. At 35 years of age, in less you really seek these films out or we exposed to them by someone, this just wasn't my generation, which is precisely why I'm exploring films trough this column (and to run, run far far away from today's reality-crazed culture). I still need to see Dean's other greats, like Giant and East of Eden. With so much bullying in the news lately, I couldn't help think of this film.

What was most eerie was a studio promo that came with the film, in which Dean was interviewed about reckless driving and looked into the camera and said something like, Be careful kids, the life you will save might be mine). It was chilling given his fate of death by automobile accident.

I also found this Wikipedia item curious when researching Dean:

Dean avoided the draft by registering as a homosexual, then classified by the US government as a mental disorder. When questioned about his orientation, he is reported to have said, "No, I am not a homosexual. But, I'm also not going to go through life with one hand tied behind my back."

I'm always finding reminders like this about not romanticizing the past, but if only we could take some of past back. Can't we have some of the innocence but not the ignorance?

Do you enjoy watching old films? Do you have any favorites you'd like to share?


  1. Hi Catherine, Thanks for the welcome reminder of the great older films. One of my favorite classics is "The Rose Tattoo", with Anna Magnani and also her "The Fugitive Kind" opposite Marlon Brando. She's just great.

  2. Hi Jennifer. Thanks so much for sharing these! I'd love to see both, and am completely unfamiliar with Anna Magnani. While I always considered myself a film lover, I'm realizing how ignorant I've been about so many great movies and actors/actresses. So much great film history to look back on for time travel, comparisons of the culture then and now, and just appreciation of great art.