Sometimes, when I sit down to drink my coffee at the kitchen table, I like to leaf through old Elvis magazines. The other day I did just that, and stumbled across an interesting article in Elvis Monthly from September 1994.
Under the heading "Lost in the vault" a certain Ernst Mikael Jorgensen writes about the possibility of movie outtakes. For example, he believes that 20th Century Fox has the original ending of Love Me Tender and also "Summer Kisses Winter Tears" from Flaming Star.
Also, he questions the official explanation from Paramount that they have no film outtakes and no tapes because they returned everything to Hal Wallis’s production company. How then, wonders Jorgensen, could Paramount deliver "Plantation Rock" and "Danny" to Joan Deary? (According to Jorgensen these recordings sound like they have been lifted from magnetic film reel.)
The most interesting part, however, concerns MGM/Turner, and the research Ernst Jorgensen did while working on the documentary Elvis In Hollywood. At first he was told by the Turner people that they had no film outtakes, either.
But studying borrowed computer print-outs from Turners vault, the one in the saltmine in Kansas, he came to the conclusion that there did exist outtakes from Jailhouse Rock in the vault. Turner checked the reels in question and, sure enough, the footage featured outtakes from the movie.
Jorgensen then writes that there were more outtakes than the ones that went into Elvis In Hollywood, and asks himself the obvious question - what do they have on all the other movies? The question is as valid today, 14 years since the article was published.
Of course, after reading it, I just had to watch Elvis In Hollywood and realised there were a lot more outtakes from Jailhouse Rock in it then I remembered. I counted to at least seven of them, such as the first take of the famous title song dance sequence, Elvis getting a haircut ("a fresh fish special") and a scene from the fight in the prison. There's also footage of Elvis being whipped (for a split second you see a stand-in for Elvis).
And then it hit me where I had seen even more footage from Jailhouse Rock that didn't make it to the final version of the film. But that will have to wait until my next posting.