Blue Hawaii


1h 41m 1961
Blue Hawaii

Brief Synopsis

A Hawaiian playboy defies his possessive mother to take a job with a tourist agency.

Photos & Videos

Film Details

Also Known As
Hawaii Beach Boy
MPAA Rating
Genre
Comedy
Musical
Release Date
Jan 1961
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: 22 Nov 1961
Production Company
Hal Wallis Productions
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures
Country
United States
Location
Hawaii, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 41m
Sound
Mono (Westrex Recording System)
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Synopsis

After two years in the Army, Chad Gates returns to Hawaii, where he defies his wealthy and domineering Southern mother by refusing to take a job in his father's prosperous pineapple business. Instead, he goes to work as a guide for the tourist agency where Maile, his French-Hawaiian girl friend, is employed. His first assignment is to escort schoolteacher Abigail Prentace and four teenaged girls around the island. At a luau, Chad gets into a fight with a drunken tourist who has made advances toward one of the teenagers, and he is hauled off to jail. Later, Chad is reprimanded by his mother, who blames the row on Maile's influence. Maile, on the other hand, is suspicious of Abigail's interest in Chad; she is unaware that it is Chad's uncle, Jack Kelman, with whom the young teacher has fallen in love. All misunderstandings are resolved, however, and Chad and Maile plan to marry and open their own tourist agency. Chad's father, with the sly assistance of Uncle Jack, agrees to let Chad and Maile handle all the arrangements for his company's next convention on the island. Even Mrs. Gates is won over during the colorful Hawaiian wedding.

Film Details

Also Known As
Hawaii Beach Boy
MPAA Rating
Genre
Comedy
Musical
Release Date
Jan 1961
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: 22 Nov 1961
Production Company
Hal Wallis Productions
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures
Country
United States
Location
Hawaii, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 41m
Sound
Mono (Westrex Recording System)
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Articles

Blue Hawaii


Blue Hawaii (1961) is quintessential Elvis: plenty of songs, plenty of girls, and a setting that accents both. This time, the scene is Oahu and Kauai and the girls are his sweetheart (Joan Blackman), an attractive school teacher (Nancy Walters) and her four teenage students. The film also represents one of the biggest successes in the long collaboration between Hollywood powerhouse producer Hal B. Wallis and Presley.

The legendary Wallis (Casablanca [1942], Rooster Cogburn, [1975]) first encountered Presley on a 1956 broadcast of a Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey show and predicted to his wife that "Elvis would soon be the most talked about newcomer in the business." He called Colonel Tom Parker the next day and told him he'd like to sign Elvis to a film contract. "I knew instinctively that the Colonel was interested but playing it cool. He was a genius at getting every possible inch of financial mileage out of his astonishing protégé," Wallis said in his autobiography Starmaker. After badgering Parker, Wallis finally succeeded in getting Elvis to Hollywood for a meeting and a screen-test, the results of which were electric:

"When I ran the test I felt the same thrill I experienced when I first saw Errol Flynn on the screen. Elvis, in a very different, modern way, had exactly the same power, virility, and sexual drive. The camera caressed him."

Under Wallis' tutelage - and Parker's approval - the camera would continue to caress Elvis through their nine features together, from Loving You (1957) to Easy Come, Easy Go (1967).

Screenwriter Allan Weiss, who wrote Blue Hawaii from his own short story "Beach Boy", remembers Elvis' initial screen-test well. "In viewing the test, one thing was clear: It would be a mistake to try to force this strong personality into a preconceived role. His parts must be tailored for him, designed to exploit the thing he did best - sing...he was much more comfortable and successful in lighter pictures that cast him as a singing personality," Weiss said in The Entertainers.

Weiss wrote five more features for Presley afterwards, learning how to best craft his lead characters to Presley's personality and style. In Blue Hawaii the character of Chad, he recalled, was "essentially a loner who appreciated women-preferably in quantity-but whose underlying attitude was audacious and arrogant, even a little contemptuous. Presley fit this characterization easily and well. Perhaps some element of it was close to the real person underneath."

Weiss was impressed by Presley's innate ability to gauge his audience and he learned to listen to it: "If he asked me to explain a joke in the script, I learned that it wasn't that he didn't understand it, but that he thought it was vague or not funny. At first, not knowing this, I would explain the joke and leave it in-to find at the preview no one laughed."

Whether or not Elvis could have done broader, deeper roles will never be known. Parker kept a tight reign on his projects to assure the biggest financial success. Many argue that King Creole (1958), Presley's second film with Wallis, which stretched him further than most of his other parts did, delivered his best performance. It was reportedly the actor's favorite film.

Elvis was surrounded by plenty of veteran talent in Blue Hawaii, including Angela Lansbury (The Manchurian Candidate, 1962) as his mother and Roland Winters, the third actor to play Charlie Chan, as his father. Howard McNear, forever remembered as Floyd the Barber on The Andy Griffith Show (1960), appears as Maile and Chad's boss, the pleasantly confused Mr. Chapman.

The character of Maile (Blackman) was originally slated for Juliet Prowse, who had been Elvis' love interest in G.I. Blues (1960). But according to Reel Elvis! by Pauline Bartel, her demands marred the deal. Prowse wanted to use her makeup man from her home studio, Twentieth Century-Fox, and insisted that her secretary accompany her, all expenses paid. She also wanted a change in her billing clause. Wallis ultimately said 'no thank you' and informed Prowse that she was off the film. Within 48 hours, Blackman, who would return as Elvis' love interest the following year in Kid Galahad, (1962) was signed on.

Though Wallis has professed his long friendship with Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis' keeper wasn't always easy to have on the set. On one particularly complicated day of shooting, Parker came barging from his trailer straight into the shot, ruining the scene. Elvis was wearing his own watch on camera, though his contract forbid use of his personal wardrobe. "If you want that watch in, you'll have to pay us another $25,000!" Parker warned Wallis, who calmly asked Elvis to take it off.

No discussion of an Elvis movie would be complete without mention of the soundtrack and Blue Hawaii's was a successful one, spending twenty consecutive weeks at the top of Billboard's LP charts (1961-1962) and earning a Grammy nomination. "Can't Help Falling in Love", sung to Maile's grandmother (played by Flora K. Hayes, a former Hawaii Territorial Representative to Congress), spent 14-weeks on Billboard's Hot 100 list and was a hit in the UK as well. It became Elvis' signature song, one which he would close concerts with during the '70s.

Producer: Hal B. Wallis
Director: Norman Taurog
Screenplay: Hal Kanter; Allan Weiss (story)
Cinematography: Charles Lang, Jr.
Art Direction: Hal Pereira; Walter Tyler
Music: Joseph J. Lilley
Film Editing: Terry Morse
Cast: Elvis Presley (Chad Gates), Joan Blackman (Maile Duval), Angela Lansbury (Sarah Lee Gates), Nancy Walters (Abigail Prentice), Jenny Maxwell (Ellie Corbett), Pamela Kirk (Selena 'Sandy' Emerson), Darlene Tompkins (Patsy Simon), Christian Kay (Beverly Martin).
C-101m. Letterboxed. Closed Captioning.

by Emily Soares
Blue Hawaii

Blue Hawaii

Blue Hawaii (1961) is quintessential Elvis: plenty of songs, plenty of girls, and a setting that accents both. This time, the scene is Oahu and Kauai and the girls are his sweetheart (Joan Blackman), an attractive school teacher (Nancy Walters) and her four teenage students. The film also represents one of the biggest successes in the long collaboration between Hollywood powerhouse producer Hal B. Wallis and Presley. The legendary Wallis (Casablanca [1942], Rooster Cogburn, [1975]) first encountered Presley on a 1956 broadcast of a Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey show and predicted to his wife that "Elvis would soon be the most talked about newcomer in the business." He called Colonel Tom Parker the next day and told him he'd like to sign Elvis to a film contract. "I knew instinctively that the Colonel was interested but playing it cool. He was a genius at getting every possible inch of financial mileage out of his astonishing protégé," Wallis said in his autobiography Starmaker. After badgering Parker, Wallis finally succeeded in getting Elvis to Hollywood for a meeting and a screen-test, the results of which were electric: "When I ran the test I felt the same thrill I experienced when I first saw Errol Flynn on the screen. Elvis, in a very different, modern way, had exactly the same power, virility, and sexual drive. The camera caressed him." Under Wallis' tutelage - and Parker's approval - the camera would continue to caress Elvis through their nine features together, from Loving You (1957) to Easy Come, Easy Go (1967). Screenwriter Allan Weiss, who wrote Blue Hawaii from his own short story "Beach Boy", remembers Elvis' initial screen-test well. "In viewing the test, one thing was clear: It would be a mistake to try to force this strong personality into a preconceived role. His parts must be tailored for him, designed to exploit the thing he did best - sing...he was much more comfortable and successful in lighter pictures that cast him as a singing personality," Weiss said in The Entertainers. Weiss wrote five more features for Presley afterwards, learning how to best craft his lead characters to Presley's personality and style. In Blue Hawaii the character of Chad, he recalled, was "essentially a loner who appreciated women-preferably in quantity-but whose underlying attitude was audacious and arrogant, even a little contemptuous. Presley fit this characterization easily and well. Perhaps some element of it was close to the real person underneath." Weiss was impressed by Presley's innate ability to gauge his audience and he learned to listen to it: "If he asked me to explain a joke in the script, I learned that it wasn't that he didn't understand it, but that he thought it was vague or not funny. At first, not knowing this, I would explain the joke and leave it in-to find at the preview no one laughed." Whether or not Elvis could have done broader, deeper roles will never be known. Parker kept a tight reign on his projects to assure the biggest financial success. Many argue that King Creole (1958), Presley's second film with Wallis, which stretched him further than most of his other parts did, delivered his best performance. It was reportedly the actor's favorite film. Elvis was surrounded by plenty of veteran talent in Blue Hawaii, including Angela Lansbury (The Manchurian Candidate, 1962) as his mother and Roland Winters, the third actor to play Charlie Chan, as his father. Howard McNear, forever remembered as Floyd the Barber on The Andy Griffith Show (1960), appears as Maile and Chad's boss, the pleasantly confused Mr. Chapman. The character of Maile (Blackman) was originally slated for Juliet Prowse, who had been Elvis' love interest in G.I. Blues (1960). But according to Reel Elvis! by Pauline Bartel, her demands marred the deal. Prowse wanted to use her makeup man from her home studio, Twentieth Century-Fox, and insisted that her secretary accompany her, all expenses paid. She also wanted a change in her billing clause. Wallis ultimately said 'no thank you' and informed Prowse that she was off the film. Within 48 hours, Blackman, who would return as Elvis' love interest the following year in Kid Galahad, (1962) was signed on. Though Wallis has professed his long friendship with Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis' keeper wasn't always easy to have on the set. On one particularly complicated day of shooting, Parker came barging from his trailer straight into the shot, ruining the scene. Elvis was wearing his own watch on camera, though his contract forbid use of his personal wardrobe. "If you want that watch in, you'll have to pay us another $25,000!" Parker warned Wallis, who calmly asked Elvis to take it off. No discussion of an Elvis movie would be complete without mention of the soundtrack and Blue Hawaii's was a successful one, spending twenty consecutive weeks at the top of Billboard's LP charts (1961-1962) and earning a Grammy nomination. "Can't Help Falling in Love", sung to Maile's grandmother (played by Flora K. Hayes, a former Hawaii Territorial Representative to Congress), spent 14-weeks on Billboard's Hot 100 list and was a hit in the UK as well. It became Elvis' signature song, one which he would close concerts with during the '70s. Producer: Hal B. Wallis Director: Norman Taurog Screenplay: Hal Kanter; Allan Weiss (story) Cinematography: Charles Lang, Jr. Art Direction: Hal Pereira; Walter Tyler Music: Joseph J. Lilley Film Editing: Terry Morse Cast: Elvis Presley (Chad Gates), Joan Blackman (Maile Duval), Angela Lansbury (Sarah Lee Gates), Nancy Walters (Abigail Prentice), Jenny Maxwell (Ellie Corbett), Pamela Kirk (Selena 'Sandy' Emerson), Darlene Tompkins (Patsy Simon), Christian Kay (Beverly Martin). C-101m. Letterboxed. Closed Captioning. by Emily Soares

Quotes

Trivia

Juliet Prowse, Presley's co-star in G.I. Blues (1960), was signed to play Maile, but she wanted to use another studio's make-up artist and have the studio pay to fly her secretary to Hawaii, she pulled out of the film.

Angela Lansbury, who played Elvis' mother, was only 35 years old when the movie was filmed, a mere 10 year older than Elvis.

The soundtrack album for this movie was Elvis' most successful chart album. It spent 20 consecutive weeks on the #1 spot of the Billboard Top LP's chart in 1961-1962 (a record to be broken only in 1977 by Fleetwood Mac's "Rumors" album), and it stayed on the charts for 79 weeks.

The closing scene, where Elvis is getting married by the pool, was shot at the Coco Palms Resort on Kauai, where Elvis was staying when filming the movie.

Notes

Location scenes filmed in Hawaii. Prerelease title: Hawaii Beach Boy. Copyright claimants: Hal B. Wallis and Joseph H. Hazen.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Winter December 1961

Re-released in United States on Video October 28, 1997

Released in United States October 1996

Released in United States Winter December 1961

Re-released in United States on Video October 28, 1997

Released in United States October 1996 (Shown in New York City (American Museum of the Moving Image) as part of program "Hollywood Independents: Wallis-Hazen Productions" October 12-27, 1996.)