Blue Hawaii

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After arriving back in Hawaii from the Army, Chad Gates (Elvis Presley) defies his parents’ wishes for him to work at the family business and instead goes to work as a tour guide at his girlfriend’s agency.   14 Terrific Songs on RCA’s Blues-Chasing “Blue Hawaii”

ACTORS :  Elvis Presley, Joan Blackman, Angela Lansbury

YEAR OF RELEASE : 1961

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Blue Hawaii  Chad Gates (Elvis Presley) has just gotten out of the Army, and is happy to be back in Hawaii with his surfboard, his beach buddies, and his girlfriend. His father wants him to go to work at the Great Southern Hawaiian Fruit Company, but he is reluctant. So he goes to work as a tour guide at his girlfriend’s agency.

Woefully underrated ode to Hawaii

 Blue Hawaii  There’s quite a bit to like about this pleasant if unoriginal musical. Hawaii has never looked better before or since, showcased by beautiful, panoramic shots in this movie. Here, it’s a relentlessly wholesome place, a mirror image of the seamy underside shown in “Hawaii Five-O” years later. Tourist-trap “native traditions” are given special attention. Day or night, it’s so intoxicating that it almost makes you want to immediately hop a plane to Honolulu or to Kauai, the “island of love.”

The soundtrack is quite possibly the best of any Elvis movie, with such gems as “Can’t Help Falling In Love,” the toe-tapping “Rockahula,” “Hawaiian Wedding Song” and an abbreviated but still enjoyable rendition from Elvis of the traditional Hawaiian classic, “Aloha Oe.” Unlike virtually every other musical, they never break into song for no good reason. Whether it’s to change the subject, serenade a grandmother on her birthday, or liven up a party, there’s always a radio or band present rather than having the music come out of nowhere.

Elvis was in top form here – handsome, slim, and boyish. A far cry from the overweight, ostentatious, muttonchopped, rhinestoned, caped and bell-bottomed joke he became a decade later. The rest of the cast was good, with the exception of an over-the-top Angela Lansbury and a cold, unmusical Joan Blackman. Still, the love story was one of the better ones, with the relationship established before the movie opens instead of the ridiculous whirlwind romance of most other Elvis movies.

Watch this on the biggest screen TV to get the feeling you’re actually in this Hawaii that never was, at least during the outdoor scenes, not when they retreated to the studio. Better yet, make it a double feature with “Gidget Goes Hawaiian” and you can luxuriate in the Hawaii of 1961, only two years after it had become the 50th state.

 

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