ELVIS: Official second trailer for Baz Luhrmann’s movie
Elvis the movie hits cinemas today and in its 2 hours and 39 minutes takes audiences on a whistle-stop tour through Elvis Presley’s short 42 years. Inevitably not everything made it in, although director Baz Luhrmann admits there’s a four-hour out there somewhere. WARNING: SPOILERS FOR ELVIS AHEAD.
The first part of the movie focuses heavily on 1956-8, when Elvis Presley rose to fame, up to his army service and mother Gladys’ death. Suddenly we whizz right past 10 years in a quick montage when The King was making lots of samey rom-coms.
His wedding to Priscilla Presley is briefly mentioned before the action slows down again from his 1968 Comeback Special, with some sensational performances by Austin Butler.
The rest of the film focuses on his Las Vegas residencies from 1969, with 1973’s Aloha From Hawaii concert being briefly touched upon amid Elvis’s separation and divorce from Priscilla.
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Austin Butler as Elvis in 1974 where the movie essentially ends and jumps to his death
One of the film’s final scenes is in late 1974, with Elvis handing his daughter Lisa Marie back to Priscilla before the pair have a brief chat in his limo at the airport.
Yet the last three years of The King’s life are totally skipped over, zooming straight ahead to his death on August 16, 1977.
The film ends with a recreation by Butler mixed in with real archive footage of the star, bloated and clearly not well, belting out Unchained Melody at a concert just weeks before his death.
So what key events, people and life details were missing? Here are the major ones.
Elvis’ spiritual beliefs
After unimaginable success with fame and fortune, Elvis was left feeling empty and wanted his soul feeding. The King quickly took to hairdresser Larry Geller, who his Memphis Mafia nicknamed Rasputin. They would spend hours talking about the meaning of life, religion and spirituality.
Elvis even went through phases where he believed he had his own psychic powers. To this day, his Graceland bedroom has books on such topics and religious texts piled high.
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Elvis’ political beliefs
Elvis grew up with traditional Southern values, so certainly had some conservative beliefs on issues like guns, law enforcement and patriotism.
In December 1970, Elvis visited Richard Nixon at the White House, offering his services to reach out to hippies and help combat drug culture.
The singer even told the president in the Oval Office that he believed The Beatles, who he met in 1965, exemplified a trend of anti-Americanism.
There’s a 2016 movie dramatising this bizarre encounter called Elvis & Nixon, with Michael Shannon as The King and Kevin Spacey as the president. Perhaps that’s why it didn’t make it into Baz’s movie.
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Elvis’ major girlfriend from 1972-76, Linda Thompson
After separating from Priscilla, Elvis started dating 22-year-old Miss Tennessee model Linda Thompson. She soon moved into Graceland with The King and very briefly appears in the Elvis movie in archive footage of the couple driving into the gates of Graceland, but she’s never mentioned.
Linda, who went on to marry Bruce (now Caitlyn) Jenner has publicly blasted the film for not including her contribution to the star’s life and not even being consulted or invited to a screening.
She wrote on social media: “No, I haven’t seen it yet. The trailer looks very entertaining and Austin Butler appears to do a fantastic depiction. BUT since so many people are left out who were very important and instrumental in Elvis’ life – I wouldn’t call it a biopic. I spent four years and a half years of my life living with and deeply caring for Elvis on many levels. I shared a hospital room with him every time he was in hospital. I had my own bed next to his during those times. I travelled on every tour with him. I was the only woman to ever do so in this life. I was at every Las Vegas engagement during those years. I literally saved his life on several occasions.”
Linda Thompson today
Linda broke up amicably with Elvis in December 1976 as she wanted to have a more normal life out of the celebrity spotlight.
She added: “We stayed in touch and loved each other until the day he died – even though we had broken up and I had moved out of Graceland only eight months before. So any inclusion or exclusion in any movie ever made can never erase the important role I played in his life and he in mine. But every true fan already knows that. Thank you all for your loyalty.”
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Elvis’ final major girlfriend and financé Ginger Alden
After breaking up with Linda, Elvis spent his final eight months with 20-year-old Ginger Alden. Two months in early 1977, The King proposed to her, although some friends claim he never seriously intended to marry her.
On August 16 that year, Ginger discovered the singer’s lifeless corpse, frozen. on his Graceland upstairs bathroom floor. He’d had a fatal heart attack on the toilet at 42. Like Linda, Ginger has publicly shared her dismay at not being included in the Elvis movie.
Ginger Alden today
Ginger wrote on Facebook: “There were things Elvis shared with me in his later life, his hopes and plans for the future which we talked about often. Being the one at his side, caring for him, loving him and experiencing many special times together, I can only hope for history sake, this can be included in his story one day as he would truly want…”
Asked by a fan if she’s in the movie (she isn’t), The King’s old flame replied: “I wasn’t asked anything so don’t think so, not really a biopic.”
She posted yesterday: “For those going to see the new Elvis movie tomorrow, I do hope you enjoy! I am sure fine acting was done by the cast, showcasing what made Elvis unique and special to so many of us. Please remember through some ups and downs, he did go on to love, laugh and enjoy his later life.”
Elvis is out now in cinemas.