Saturday, August 7, 2010

Got A Lot O' Livin' To Do

A couple of days ago I was lucky enough to find a copy of Ger Rijff's book Inside Loving You (2003) in a second-hand bookshop. This photo-journal is packed with impressive photographs from the making of Elvis' second picture, most of them in black and white.

Leafing through it, the photos that fascinated me the most were the candid shots, especially those taken of Elvis together with his parents during breaks in the filming. As you may know, Gladys and Vernon visited their son at the movie lot, and it's clear looking at the pictures, just how much Gladys adored and loved her son.

The shots from the grand finale of the movie, where Elvis is performing "Got A Lot O' Livin' To Do" in front of the TV cameras, also caught my attention. "The best rock 'n' roll footage ever captured on the celluloid," the author writes, and he's probably right. This is how Peter Guralnick describes the scene (where Gladys can be seen in the audience, sitting on tha aisle) in Last Train To Memphis:

"It is perhaps the musical high point of Elvis' career in films, yet another reprise of "Got A Lot O' Livin' To Do" which combines illusion and reality in such a way as to heighten the attraction of each. Elvis swivels his leg sharply, then good-naturedly drags it behind him. He stands at the lip of the stage and, along with the Jordanaires, who are dressed in matching cowboy outfits, leads the audience in hand clapping, then jumps down and comes dancing up the aisle. Gladys' gaze never wavers. For a moment he is standing to her left, and as she claps along she never takes her eyes of her son. Then he backs away, climbs back up on the stage, and the number is over, the studio audience is still applauding."

After reading Guralnick's words, I had to watch the scene myself, and it's indeed a great moment for Elvis on the big screen. For his mother, the experience must have been an ever greater one. As Guralnick writes, "For her it is the pinnacle of everything she has ever dreamed or imagined, Her gaze in transformed by love."

Inside Loving You also includes an interview with Hal Kanter, the director of Loving You, where he has this to say about the rumour that Elvis never watched the film again after Gladys died:

"That's what I've read, I don't know whether that's true or not. I would really sort of doubt that, but it's a good story."


Anonymous said...

Wonderfully written entry today (and every day) Thomas. Many thanks.

Thomas said...

Thank you, I'm glad you enjoy my blog. It really means a lot to me!

All the best,