“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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I believe Col. Tom Parker wouldn’t allow Elvis to star in “A Star Is Born” opposite Barbra Streisand – a role that could have not only given him an opportunity to really “act”, but would probably have saved his life as well…there are so many stories of the films that Elvis wanted to do, but Parker said “NO” to, and it’s a shame…a magnetic screen personality wasted….
I am very pleased to report that I have never seen this film. The presence of Mary Tyler Moore would have killed any desire in me to watch it, as I long considered her to be the most sexless and irritating of many actresses who found fame on the small screen.
If I ever need a ‘nun-fix’, there is always this more recent classic.
This film doesn’t mess around!
Best wishes, Dalton Trumbo.