Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Flashback: Kurt Russell Starred as Elvis Presley Directed by John Carpenter in a 1979 TV Movie That Earned 3 Emmy Nominations


Long before Baz Luhrmann went to Memphis and made his “Elvis” movie, there was another, much praised film bio of the King.

“Elvis” was a TV movie in 1979 starring Kurt Russell as Elvis, Kurt’s real life dad as Vernon Presley, Oscar legend Shelley Winters as Gladys Presley, much admired actor Pat Hingle as Colonel Parker, and Season Hubley as Priscilla Presley.

The movie was a big ratings hit and praised everywhere. Russell earned an Emmy nomination for Best Actor in a TV movie. There were nominations for makeup and for cinematography. Russell lost to Peter Strauss in a movie no one can recall called “The Jericho Mile.”

So when Priscilla Presley says now that the new “Elvis” takes the place of past failed attempts to make an Elvis film, let’s not forget that John Carpenter, then on the verge of directing “The Fog,” “Escape from New York,” “Starman,” “Big Trouble in Little China,” “The Thing,” and “Christine,” was the helmer on this one. It stands with his best films for theatrical release.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedmanhttps://www.showbiz411.com
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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