Elvis Presley

The Elvis Presley Collection: Fun at the Movies

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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann

Elvis Presley's movie music of the 1960s does not have a high reputation even though, as annotator Charles K. Wolfe points out, much of it was popular at the time and the movies themselves were box-office hits that continue to appeal to fans today. The second collection of movie songs in Time-Life Music's series The Elvis Presley Collection accentuates this problem, because any remotely worthwhile material was already used in the earlier set Movie Magic. Thus, the title of this selection of leftovers of stuff that wasn't very good to begin with puts the best possible face on the dire contents: you'd better consider these songs fun because they certainly aren't very good. Presley's movies were stuffed with Tin Pan Alley hackwork churned out to match the settings and the fads of the day, so here there are mambos ("Do the Vega"), calypsos ("Song of the Shrimp"), and mariachi music ("Marguerita"), all composed by people with names like Sid and Bernie. Indeed, the same names turn up over and over in the songwriting credits -- writers contracted to Hill & Range -- which cut Presley in on the publishing money when he recorded the material. This album, which runs 72+ minutes and thus could have fit on one CD, gathers mostly LP tracks and B-sides; only five of the songs reached Billboard's Hot 100, and only three of those scraped into the Top 40. None really deserved to. The Elvis Presley Collection found a way to repackage Presley's catalog for the mail-order market, and some of the titles are better than others. But few are as bad as Fun at the Movies.

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