Elvis Movies' Cycle at Cinemateca - How it Was
It was quite nice to arrive at Cinemateca and see the banner dedicated to Elvis, with a photo of the King, placed over the building façade. Everyone that passed by the street could see it. I still hadn't been at Cinemateca since they did refurbishments and it is indeed a very nice space. Inside there was some information and posters on the King, too. The invitations that Cinemateca was kind enough to reserve for us were always waiting. We also had authorization to distribute advertising leaflets to the Fan Club in every session. And how nice it was, to get there and listen to Elvis singing in NBC TV Special, 1968, which was being screened in continuous sessions, completely for free...!
Before the beginning of the first session, a representative from Cinemateca, Ms. Antónia Fonseca, did an introduction of Elvis 100% at the microphone (they had already warned me in advance that I would have to make an opening speech of the movies' cycle):
“Good evening everyone. Today we are going to start a movie cycle dedicated to Elvis, which we have organized in partnership with Elvis 100% Fan Club. Every Saturday a movie of the King will be screened. And now I will pass the mike on to the President of the fan club, since no one better than she to speak about Elvis!"
“Hi there, good evening. My name is Célia Carvalho and I belong to the Board of Directors of the Portuguese Elvis Fan Club, Elvis 100% - Still Rockin'! This Fan Club was founded in 2001 and still during that year, by suggestion of a reporter who interviewed us, we contacted Cinemateca, since it was something that we hand't yet thinked about. At the time we have suggested a mini movie cycle of Elvis movies and our suggestion was accepted, which was a pleasant surprise. And in November of that year two Elvis movies were screened, still at Foz Palace, in Restauradores. This year - and because 30 years over Elvis' death have gone by on 16 August - we contacted Cinemateca again, this time to suggest a longer cycle, which was also accepted. I'm seeing many young faces in the audience, people who'll probably only see Elvis in the big screen for the very first time today. Speaking for myself, I know that we, from the younger generation, could never go and buy a movie ticket to see an Elvis movie and, therefore, we are so grateful for this type of initiative. The first time I saw Elvis in the big screen, was abroad. So, we are very glad and thankful for a Cinemateca! Today a movie from the fifties will be screen, which is already considered a classic toda and I really hope you'll enjoy seeing it in the big screen, as well as the others that will follow. Thank you so much to Cinemateca and also to you, for being here tonight!"
It was delightful to watch the movie being screened, to see the people so attentive and interested, to enjoy the intermission and the replacement of the movie reel, just like old times! When the movie was over, there was an ovation from the audience. It was a very different evening and a very pleasant one, too.
Just like it had happened in the previous week, a group of members of the Fan Club joined before the screening to have dinner together. Only then we went to Cinemateca. A very pleasant evening, in the company of good people and nice weather.
There was still time to meet a new face, Mr. Francisco Pinto, already "known" to me by email, but who I hadn't met in person yet, as well as his daughter, Sofia (who I found out is also an Elvis fan, together with his grandaughter, Raquel). The conversation was so nice that Cinemateca had to ask us to leave from their bar! But we kept talking outside. Only then each one of us went separate ways, making plans for the following weekend.
The movie for which I had been most waiting for, Flaming Star, was the one that had less participation from the public and the members of this Fan Club. The open air screening area was quite empty. But this was, without any doubt, the best movie from the whole lot. I couldn't stop wondering over that old tabu that Elvis movies were not well advertised and people didn't accept very well when they went to the movies and didn't see Elvis singing... I don't know. The years have gone by, the advertising is now being correctly done. And people don't participate that much just the same. I thought to myself: could it be that people, in spite of their criticism, really enjoy to see Elvis in movies without much plot, much story and all they care about is nice sceeneries, good looking women and lots of music...?
The last movie of this cycle, which was supposed to be Harum Scarum, was replaced by Blue Hawaii. The reason was because the movie reel supplied was in very bad shape to be screened. The President of Cinemateca, Mr. João Pedro Bénard, called me on 7 September (before the screening of the first movie) to tell me that he had bad news for me. But when I found out what the news were, I even welcomed the change with satisfaction since, for all of us who have seen it and for all of us who know, Harum Scarum is one of the worst Elvis movies! I couldn't help commenting just that with Mr. Bénard and he told me why hadn't I told him about it before. However, as I know of the difficulty to get Elvis movie reels, it is obvious that I wouldn't make any demand on that regard. At the beginning of our joint partnership, what I did was sending a list of the best Elvis movies.
The weather on this day didn't help much, since it rained during the whole day. Therefore, the movie had to be screened in a closed room, named Félix Ribeiro. It couldn't be screened in the open air area like the others were. Maybe also due to the bad weather, very few people attended, which is sad and/or regretful just the same.
Just like it has also been usual, very few people from the Fan Club also attended. However, the ones who did always thanked me a lot for this chance and for my committment in going through with this project together with Cinemateca. Therefore, here I leave my deepest thank you to the members who joined us in this initiative.
I would just like to thank Cinemateca and all the nice personnel of the screening, bar/restaurant and open air area and, especially, to the President, Mr. João Pedro Bénard, Ms. Sofia Cardoso and Ms. Antónia Fonseca. - Célia Carvalho