“CHANGE OF HABIT” (1969)
One of the disillusioning truths of the American film industry is its cavalier willingness to disregard genuine and unique talent in favor of convenient formulaic utilitarianism; a primary example being the rather woeful filmography of Elvis Presley, which reflects a distinctly consistent and painful misunderstanding of the performer’s stimulative appeal. If one’s intention is a continuous process of neutering the elemental characteristics of the performer’s persona which attracted the audience in the first place and shook the censorial establishment of the entertainment executive suite to its core, that personality then becomes subject to a plasticizing transformation, homogeneous to the widest demographic as seen through the calculating lens of Hollywood bean counters, but offers little substantive value to an audience hungry for a germ of rebelliousness. Upon making his debut on television’s “Ed Sullivan Show”, Elvis was filmed from that waist up, so that his gyrating pelvis would not inflame the hormonal balance of America’s youth as feared by the network censors and the watchdogs of decency (why have someone deemed indecent on the air in the first place?), and it is evident from the long, undistinguished roster of films featuring this prodigious but constricted star, that virtually all of his films have metaphorically shot him from the neck up. Who wants a “safe” Elvis?
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