' ' Cinema Romantico: Friday's Thursday's Old Fashioned Has Been Cancelled This Week

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Friday's Thursday's Old Fashioned Has Been Cancelled This Week

Back on the anniversary of the passing of Elvis Presley, Turner Classic Movies, as it does each year on that date, ran an Elvis movie marathon. I have stated before that I have a deep affinity for Elvis movies, that they are my ultimate guilty pleasure, and that each year I try to partake in at least one of his films I have not yet viewed. Truth is, I have seen a lot of his films by now and I had seen almost all of those scheduled for the marathon. Well, save for one.

"Stay Away, Joe" it was called and it featured Elvis as a rodeo rider. Yes! A rodeo rider! Jackpot, I said, and set my DVR to record it so I could catch up with it at my heart's content. Last week I had just finished watching "Last of the Mohicans", which I always try to re-watch at some point on or around my birthday, and when it ended, well, it was late but not TOO late and I was in such a good mood I thought: "Hey! Why not sneak in that viewing of 'Stay Away, Joe?!'" So I cued up the DVR and, uh, well......

Bear in mind I had just watched "Last of the Mohicans", which is not simply My All Time Favorite Movie but a movie that takes great care to pay honor to the plight of the American Indian. "Stay Away, Joe", on the other hand, features Elvis as, ahem, an American Indian. A Navajo Indian, to be exact. A Navajo Indian named Joe Lightcloud who boozes and brawls and then boozes some more. "Stay Away, Joe" features Burgess Meredith - yes, the Burgess Meredith of "Rocky" fame and native of The Cleve - playing Elvis's Najavo father, Charlie Lightcloud. The makeup job done to Meredith is so terrible and so offensive I don't even want to say anything else about it. I barely even made it 20 minutes in. I was so uncomfortable I had to stop watching. I had to. I immediately erased it from my DVR. I'm sure Elvis wishes it could be erased from the world itself.

I read a little bit about the movie afterwards and the esteemed New York Times noted that Elvis's legendary 1968 comeback performance on NBC directly followed this film. Therefore I don't think it's a stretch to say that "Stay Away, Joe" at least in some small way added to Presley's desire to get back to doing what he did best. At least, SOMETHING came out of it.


Anonymous said...

Ahah, I hope he wasn't singing as he's ridin' that horse!

Derek Armstrong said...

Elvis has left the teepee.

Andrew K. said...

There is some joke to be made about the title "Stay away, Joe" and Elvis' acting ability. But I won't make it.

(And I guess just pointing out the existence of a joke is enough.)

Nick Prigge said...

Ruth: I didn't get that far, but I can only assume that he did.

Vance: I wish he'd never gone in the teepee in the first place.

Andrew: As much as I love Elvis movies, I admit Elvis wasn't the greatest actor. Even in the movies where he was TRYING to act - like "King Creole" - he's still not that great. His best performances - such as "Viva Las Vegas" & "Blue Hawaii" - are ones where he's having a good time phoning it in.