Elvis and the Colonel: The Untold Story

(William Graham, USA, 1993)


I’m a sucker for lurid telemovies about the legacy and legend of The King, but Elvis and the Colonel adds little to the store of Presley mythology.

This is a rather depressing chronicle of the lowlights of Elvis’s career, narrated by the rueful ghost of the man himself: military service, bad movies, exploitation by the malevolent Colonel Tom Parker (Beau Bridges), the prison of Las Vegas, slow descent into death.

None of these stations on the whistle-stop tour of Elvis’s later career really come to life, except the segment devoted to the 1968 TV comeback special, when a helpful soul takes Presley out into the street to “get back in touch with the people”.

The Colonel’s “untold secret”, on which the whole movie depends, is rather underwhelming, and Rob Youngblood (who mimics the Elvis body while someone else mimics the Elvis singing voice) has none of the King’s charisma.

© Adrian Martin August 1993

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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