“Elvis” movie expected to have big impact on Tupelo

The movie by Baz Luhrmann looks at the influence Tupelo had on Elvis the boy and the entertainer

TUPELO, MISS. (WCBI) – One of the most talked about movies of the summer is now in theaters nationwide.  “Elvis” the movie chronicles the life of Tupelo’s native son, from his humble beginnings in East Tupelo, to worldwide fame.

Only minutes into Baz Luhrmann’s “ELVIS” Tupelo, is front and center, as a young Elvis Presley makes his way into a spirit filled tent revival.

The five year project chronicling the life of Elvis, and the relationship with his manager, Col. Tom Parker,  played by Tom Hanks, is expected to spark renewed interest, not only in the entertainer, but also in his hometown.

” It’s huge for Tupelo,” said Lucia Randle, who is executive director of the Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association.  She believes the  movie will show a younger audience the important role Elvis played in music and culture.

” We, our generation, has always known how wonderful Elvis was, but with the movie, I think he will be introduced to a new generation.  These young people might not know about Elvis and the contributions he made to music,” Randle said.

Tom Brown is host of the Tupelo and Nashville Elvis Festivals.  He says Baz Luhrmann’s “ELVIS’ will introduce the original rock and roll star to a new generation.

” A couple of years ago, the movie ” Bohemian Rhapsody’ came out about Queen, there were so many people who didn’t know Freddy Mercury and didn’t know about that band and they became Queen fans.  I see the same thing happening with this Elvis movie, this movie is going to have an impact on people, who today, don’t realize they are Elvis fans.  There’s something I always quote, Jerry Schilling, a member of the Memphis Mafia said, ‘ If you get the music of Elvis to the kids, he will take care of everything else, that’s what’s about to happen,” Brown said.

Roy Turner is executive director of the Elvis Presley Birthplace and Museum and is also a noted Elvis the boy historian.  He says the movie shows the impact Tupelo had on Elvis Presley the boy, and Elvis, the worldwide superstar.

“The beauty of our story here in Tupelo, they say he was here until he was thirteen, he was two and half months shy of his fourteenth birthday when he left in October.  Those are formative years, the things you are exposed to in those years, culture, attitudes, religious beliefs, you carry those with you, they help define who you are and who you become.   And Elvis evidenced that, in his caring for others, his generosity started with Tupelo, he gave the initial money to build the park that is now the birthplace,” Turner said.

Baz Luhrmanns “Elvis” opens less than two months from what will be the 45th anniversary of Elvis’ passing.  Those who knew Elvis say he always wondered what his legacy would be or how he would be remembered.

The interest in the Elvis movie shows that the boy who came from humble beginnings still captures the public’s imagination and admiration.

We want to thank Graceland, Warner Brothers, the Elvis Birthplace and Museum and the Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association for their help with our series of reports.



Categories: Featured, Local News