Blue Hawaii (1961) starring Elvis Presley, Joan Blackman, Angela Lansbury, Nancy Walters, Roland Winters, John Archer directed by Norman Taurog Movie Review

Blue Hawaii (1961)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Elvis Presley as Chad Gates in Blue Hawaii

Elvis Can't Help Loving Hawaii

Maybe because much of "Blue Hawaii" was shot on location, maybe that the storyline whilst simple worked, maybe it is something else but there is something about "Blue Hawaii" which makes it stand out from many of Elvis's other movies. What ever it is, it doesn't disguise the Elvis movie formula with numerous musical moments, romance, women trouble and the storyline still coming down the pecking list when it came to priorities. But "Blue Hawaii" flows, it has a nice easy going rhythm which makes it easier to watch than some of Elvis's other movies.

Having returned to Hawaii after 2 years service in Europe ex G.I. Chad Gates (Elvis Presley - Loving You) has no plans to go into the family business despite the expectations of his snobbish and pushy parents. Instead Chad decides to go into the tourist business working for the same company as his girlfriend Maile (Joan Blackman). But trouble starts to brew when Chad's first tourist job is to act as a guide to school teacher Miss Prentice (Nancy Walters) and 4 teenage girls, leading to a little jealousy on Maile's part.

Elvis Presley and Joan Blackman in Blue Hawaii

Part of the charm of "Blue Hawaii" lies in its predictable simplicity you have Chad trying to do his own thing which leads to issues with his snobbish parents. Then you have his romance with Maile and his new job which puts him in the firing line for more romantic issues and confusion. That's it, there's nothing more to it than that but as already mentioned "Blue Hawaii" skips along nicely with plenty of fun at a perfect pace so in-between all the musical scenes there is at least some meaningful storyline, be it between Chad and Maile or Chad and his parents.

But "Blue Hawaii" is of course an Elvis movie and as such trades on him singing in various scenes. With is being set on Hawaii there is a strong Hawaiian influence to many of the songs with the beautiful sound of the Ukulele filling the air in the background. But there are also plenty of recognizable Elvis songs as well such as the always great "Can't Help Falling in Love", "Rock-a-Hula Baby" and of course the title track "Blue Hawaii".

As for the acting, well although there are a few rocky moments Elvis actually looks remarkably comfortable as Chad, probably with it being filmed on location on Hawaii helped. Often appearing topless or in some flowery shirt Elvis looks tanned, happy and puts on a good show be it in the various musical scenes or the bits in-between. You couldn't say it was a great performance, you can see him hanging on people to finish their lines before he delivers his but it doesn't matter because you generally watch Elvis movies for one thing and that is all the musical scenes.

Aside from Elvis, Joan Blackman is quite lovely as love interest Maile Duval and actually is more than just eye candy with a part to play in the actual storyline. Nancy Walters is pretty good as the stuck up school teacher Abigail Prentice which leads to plenty of issues. But the best performance comes from Angela Lansbury who is wonderfully over the top as Chad's eccentric mother Sarah Lee who has a strange habit of asking her son for some "sugar". It's also quite amusing that Angela Lansbury is only 10 years older than Elvis yet here she is playing his mother, go figure.

What this all boils down to is that "Blue Hawaii" with it's easy going pace and natural rhythm is one of the more enjoyable of Elvis's movies. It's by no means complex; in fact it's all rather simplistic with its predictable romantic storyline. But Elvis is on fine form, looking relaxed and enjoying himself throughout especially in the numerous musical moments which frequently crop up.