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The King of Rock Wanted to be an Actor
 

Article published by Correio da Manhã Newspaper, in 22/10/2001.

Everybody knows that Elvis Presley was – and still is – one of the most popular singers ever. Even after he died, he still sells records as no-one else does and has legions of fans spread all over the world who, literally, adore him. But not everybody knows that the “king” wanted to be an actor. A real actor. 

However, although he has starred – between 1956 and 1969 – in no less than 33 movies, when his career is mentioned, that fact is seldom referred. To tell the whole truth,the Elvis 100% - Still Rockin’! Fan Club’s members have “challenged” Cinemateca to make a cycle dedicated to their idol. 

“We were surprised with the receptivity we got,” Célia Carvalho, one of the fan club’s founders, tells Correio da Manhã. “They called us saying that they were interested in organizing the cycle – they had inclusively already received letters from their regular customers asking the same.” The mini-cycle starts next Saturday, 27th, with King Creole, which is considered by most people as the best Presley movie. 

“Critics praised this movie went it premiered. It is an adaptation of a known novel to the big screen  and initially was to be starred by James Dean. As he died, the part was offered to Elvis, who felt delighted. He loved Dean.” Directed by Michael Curtiz, King Creole also presents Walter Mathau who, at the time, praised his partner’s performance. “Mathau said that Elvis was a natural actor, very intelligent and sophisticated, and I think the movie shows what he could have been, if only he had been given a chance.” 

The second movie of the mini-cycle, on the 29th, is Spinout, and it’s a light comedy, in which the singer gets involved in the racing cars’ world. “Generally speaking, critics applauded the most dramatic roles of Elvis’ career, but the public always preferred comedies. People wanted to have fun and, above all, they wanted to hear him sing. As in the 60’s the tradition of making tours hadn’t been quite established yet, the movies served as a vehicle to promote his career worldwide.” Elvis Presley starred on his first movie when he was 21 and on his last when he was 35. At 40, he received an “unrefusable proposal”: Barbra Streisand invited him to portrait the males main role of the legendary A Star Is Born, which ended up on Kris Kristofferson’s hands, making him win an Oscar for Best Actor. Elvis had wanted to make the movie, but his manager – who controlled his career very strictly – didn’t allow it. 

“It was a big frustration for Elvis. It could have been the beginning of a new phase on his life, the renewal of his career as an actor, now with other perspectives. But it didn’t happen. I think he died frustrated for having been able to prove his talent as an actor.” 

In Portugal, the last time Presley’s face was seen on the big screen was in 1981, some years after he died, in a documentary titled This Is Elvis. Now his fans and the public can see him again, on the Sessions Room of Cinemateca, at Palácio Foz in Restauradores, on the 27th and 29th, always at 09.30pm. Célia Carvalho says it is even possible that, if things turn out okay, something similar might be done next year. “We hope so. As for us, we will be present in both sessions, available for any explanation that the public might need. We’re going to hang a few Elvis posters at Palácio Foz and, eventually, manage to get more members to the fan club. We’ll see.” 

The contact of the Elvis 100% - Still Rockin’! Fan Club is: Apartado 930, 2795-996 Queijas, the phone number is 21 417 32 40. The fan club hopes to put its web site on the Internet still during this year  and, from January onwards, its magazine will have an English edition. The goal is that the fan club might grow beyond our frontiers.

A.M.R.

Note: This p.o. box and phone number, which were active at the time, no longer exist. Please, do not use them.

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