Though Elvis Presley's music is widely credited as starting a sea change in American popular culture, his films are often dismissed as superficial. Beyond the formulaic plotlines and the increasingly weaker songs, however, the films are rich with resonance to the changing times in which they were produced (roughly 1955-1970). They were also a means by which Elvis communicated deeply felt autobiographical material to his fan base, although in the guise of lighthearted escapist fare.
This work takes a new stand, maintaining that Elvis's 31 Hollywood features and two documentaries reveal a profound statement from the star and auteur. Analyzing each film in detail and exploring the body of work as a whole, Brode reveals the Elvis persona as a contemporary Candide, attempting to navigate an ever changing social and political landscape.