Elvis (1979 film)
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|Distributed by||American Broadcasting Company (ABC)
Scotia (West Germany, theatrical)
|Directed by||John Carpenter|
|Produced by||Dick Clark
|Written by||Anthony Lawrence|
|Music by||Joe Renzetti|
|Cinematography||Donald M. Morgan|
|Production company||Dick Clark Productions|
|Original channel||American Broadcasting Company|
|Running time||150 min.|
Elvis is a 1979 American television biographical film directed by John Carpenter. It is based upon the life of Elvis Presley, and stars Kurt Russell in the title role. It stars Shelley Winters, Season Hubley, Bing Russell and Pat Hingle in supporting roles. Elvis originally aired on ABC.
There are more than one version of this film: a version that starts with Presley's hair being cut when he was called up by the US army, and then death of his mother, with no scenes of his life before this, has been shown on TV in the UK. It runs for about hours including commercials.
- Kurt Russell (Ronnie McDowell, singing) ... Elvis Presley
- Shelley Winters ... Gladys Presley
- Season Hubley ... Priscilla Presley
- Bing Russell ... Vernon Presley
- Robert Gray ... Red West
- Pat Hingle ... Colonel Tom Parker
- Charles Cyphers ... Sam Phillips
- Ellen Travolta ... Marion Keisker
- Charlie Hodge ... Himself
- James Canning ... Scotty Moore
- Elliott Street ... Bill Black
Russell worked with and met Elvis in the film It Happened at the World's Fair (1963). In the film, Elvis wants to meet the fairground's nurse and he pays a young boy (Russell) to kick him in the shins. Later in the film, the young boy sees Elvis and the nurse together on a date and asks Presley if he can kick him again for money. Russell's cinematic involvement with Elvis also includes dubbing the voice of a young Elvis in Forrest Gump and playing an Elvis impersonator in 3000 Miles to Graceland.
Elvis originally aired on ABC opposite two blockbuster films; Gone with the Wind on CBS, and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest on NBC. Despite this, Elvis beat both in the Nielsen ratings, receiving a 27.3 rating compared to 24.3 and 22.5 respectively. Elvis was ranked the sixth most watched program of the week.
Elvis is notable in Carpenter's career for two reasons. It was made after Halloween had wrapped, so it offered him an avenue to try his hand at a film away from the horror genre. It was also the first time Carpenter had worked with Kurt Russell, who became a frequent collaborator of Carpenter's. Russell subsequently starred in Escape from New York (1981), The Thing (1982), Big Trouble in Little China (1986), and Escape from L.A. (1996).
Russell would later marry co-star Season Hubley on March 17, 1979. They were later divorced. Bing Russell, who played Vernon Presley, is Kurt Russell's real father. For several years Bing played Deputy Clem Poster in the TV series Bonanza.