January 8th is the combined marking of Elvis Presley’s birthday and the Battle of New Orleans, in which General Andrew Jackson and French Pirate Jean Lafitte defeated the British in the final battle of the War of 1812.
In the past Balladeer’s Blog has observed this date with looks at the musical Rock ‘N’ Roll vs The Red Coats and with an article on the whole Orion/Elvis situation. This time I’m taking a quick look at some early Elvis movies.
LOVE ME TENDER (1956) – Elvis was the latest reason that the saga of the Reno Gang/ Reno Brothers got distorted on the big screen. The need to turn the Reno story into a vehicle for Elvis Presley made this attempt the most unintentionally funny of them all.
Favorite Part: A scene between Elvis, playing Clint Reno, and Richard Egan, playing Vance Reno. Despite the fact that the long-missing Vance was given up for dead and Elvis married his mourning girlfriend in the meantime the Side-Burned One actually asks “What’s troublin’ you, Vance?” That question has been a catch-phrase for me ever since I first saw this flick on late-night tv.
Favorite Weirdass Song: Let Me Continue reading
Elvis IS General Andrew Jackson at the Battle of New Orleans
January 8th of each year always represents the general rift that separates American pop culture from alleged “high culture”. On the one hand it’s Elvis Presley’s birthday. On the other hand it’s also the anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans, in which General (and future President) Andrew Jackson teamed up with French pirate Jean Lafitte to hand the British their worst defeat in the War of 1812.
It’s not tough to guess which event gets more attention year in and year out, but for this 200th Anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans cult director Eddie Wozniak took a break from the film world to write, produce and direct this new musical comedy which premiered last week on the 8th.
General Jackson as a one-man USO show for his battle-hardened troops
Rock’N’Roll vs the Redcoats is Wozniak’s hilarious but educational fusion of Elvis’ birthday with the martial anniversary. The musical comedy depicts the events of 1815 as they might have been depicted in an Elvis Presley movie with an actual Elvis impersonator in the lead role. So basically the star of Rock’N’Roll vs the Redcoats is a man playing Elvis Presley playing General Andrew Jackson.
If you enjoyed the musicals 1776 and Bye, Bye, Birdie you’ll no doubt love the way Wozniak works in historical trivia without deviating from the overall “Elvis Movie Feel” of the piece. Many of the songs play into this perfectly – Hermitage Howlin’ deals with Jackson’s Tennessee background, a characteristic he shared with the Man from Memphis; Rachel, Will You Marry Me Again covers the way Andrew Jackson and his beloved wife Rachel were forced to marry a second time when it was learned that she had unknowingly committed bigamy and My Tallahassee tunefully recounts the way General Jackson seized Tallahasee, FL in TWO separate wars. Continue reading