Elvis’ “Colonel” tells a rock myth

Elvis’ “Colonel” tells a rock myth
Elvis’ “Colonel” tells a rock myth

How a musical myth is “constructed” is the subplot that runs through Elvis, yet another film about a great musician – in the past monographs had framed Queen, Elton John, Dalida, Blaze Foley, Edith Piaf, Johnny Cash, Nico, Ray Charles and the list could easily go on – with attention, anything but disinterested in their prestigious repertoire. The biopic on Presley winks at the rock that had seduced generations of very young people in the fifties and sixties but tells the music star from a different perspective, that of “Colonel” Tom Parker, played by a convincing (and fattened) Tom Hanks .

This is in fact the discoverer of the talent of Memphis since he was nothing but an unknown boy who played in clubs in the evening. The friendship, spiced up by more than a few blackmails between the two, brought good bucks into Parker’s pockets and indestructible fame – again accompanied by resounding doubloons – for Elvis whom the few detractors had nicknamed “the Pelvis”. In reality, the film underlines how the fates of both have, so to speak, compensated.

Parker ate a fortune at the money-sucking machines in Las Vegas, Presley left a house museum in Graceland, still a destination for enthusiasts, onlookers, tourists and fans. The Colonel died in poverty in advanced senility while Elvis left when he was not even half the age of his manager, 42 against 88. In short, there is something for everyone, including – indeed, privileged – those of rock lovers. True but unacknowledged reason that pushed Baz Luhrmann, as clever as he is clever, to create a film that, after all, he will like. Like spitting on the plate of a nostalgic rock of yesteryear even if Austin Butler who plays Elvis is an imitator rather than an acting champion and the make-up and hair department is increasingly perfected in making the actors – of Hollywood – what they often are not …


The article is in Italian

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