Elvis movies: Can you answer these 22 questions about the rock King-turned-Hollywood star?

·11 min read

Another "Elvis Week" — this one marking 45 years since the death of Elvis Presley on Aug. 16, 1977 — is upon us.

And that's all the excuse we need to publish yet another Commercial Appeal trivia quiz.

In August of 2021, we posted an anything-goes Elvis quiz. This year, we're getting more specific. We're heading west from Elvis Presley Boulevard to Hollywood Boulevard. In recognition of the pre-release hype and post-release success associated with director Baz Luhrmann's "Elvis" movie, we're focusing on a much-maligned yet always popular aspect of the King's career, namely, that one-man genre known as the "Elvis movie." Or perhaps we should say: the Elvis movie and beyond, since a few questions are about movies about Elvis, rather than movies starring Elvis.

The quiz also is slightly longer than last year's: 22 questions, for 2022.

If only all ukulele flash mobs were like this: Elvis and friends in a publicity pose for "Blue Hawaii."
If only all ukulele flash mobs were like this: Elvis and friends in a publicity pose for "Blue Hawaii."

As always, the purpose here is to entertain, first, and enlighten, second. The hope is that you don't have to know the difference between "Love Me Tender" and "The Love Boat" to be amused by these questions.

A non-interactive version of the quiz (along with lots of Elvis photos and stories) can be found below the interactive version.

So, OK, class — begin! (Or as Elvis might say: Go, cat, go!)

INTERACTIVE DIGITAL VERSION OF THE QUIZ

Elvis Presley dropped by the offices of The Commercial Appeal on June 8, 1956.
Elvis Presley dropped by the offices of The Commercial Appeal on June 8, 1956.

THE QUESTIONS

1. Elvis’ first movie was “Love Me Tender,” released on Nov. 15, 1956; his last was “Change of Habit,” released 13 years to the week after his first, on Nov. 10, 1969. Including the first and last, how many movies starring Elvis Presley were released during that time?

a) 8.

b) 12.

c) 24.

d) 31.

2. “Love Me Tender” was a hit, but critics were generally unimpressed by Elvis’ acting debut. Here are three quotes from 1956 reviews of the movie, plus one I made up. Which is the fake? 

a) "'Love Me Tenderfoot' would have been a more convincing title, considering that Mr. Presley hardly seems at home, home on the range." — Box Office Daily.

b) "As (Presley's) belly dance gets wilder, a peculiar sound emerges. A rusty foghorn? A voice? Or merely a noise produced, like the voice of a cricket, by the violent stridulation of the legs?" — Time magazine.

c) "The picture itself is a slight case of horse opera with the heaves, and Mr. Presley's dramatic contribution is not a great deal more impressive than that of one of the slavering nags."  — The New York Times.

d) "Appraising Presley as an actor, he ain’t." — Variety.

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3. Fill in the blank: After Presley’s career as a dramatic actor ended, two documentaries about Elvis were released to theaters during the King’s lifetime. The second was “Elvis on Tour,” in 1972. The first, in 1971, was titled “Elvis: ____.” 

a) That's the Way It Is

b) Far Out!!

c) The King of Rock 'n' Roll

d) From Memphis to Your Mind

4. Who directed Elvis’ fourth movie, 1958’s “King Creole”?

a) Michael Curtiz, director of "Casablanca."

b) Victor Fleming, director of "Gone with the Wind."

c) Charles Barton, director of "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein."

d) Norman Taurog, director of the Elvis movies "G.I. Blues," "Blue Hawaii," "Girls! Girls! Girls!," "It Happened at the World's Fair," "Tickle Me," "Spinout," "Double Trouble," "Speedway" and "Live a Little, Love a Little."

Elvis noir: Elvis and Dolores Hart in "King Creole."
Elvis noir: Elvis and Dolores Hart in "King Creole."

5. Dolores Hart was Elvis' love interest in "Loving You" (1957) and "King Creole" (1958). What did she do in 1962?

a) She married Elvis' manager, "Colonel" Tom Parker.

b) She became Don Hart, after gender reassignment surgery.

c) She died, after being mauled by Clarence the Cross-Eyed Lion on the set of "Daktari."

d) She left Hollywood for a Connecticut abbey, where she became Mother Dolores Hart, a Roman Catholic nun.

6. Which of these Elvis characters did I make up?

a) In "Follow That Dream" (1962), Elvis is Toby Kwimper of Cranberry County, a Jethro-like bumpkin "with the IQ of a grasshopper" but "exquisite proportions," according to one female observer.

b) In "Tickle Me" (1965), Elvis is Lonnie Beale, a bull-rider and bronco-buster working at a fitness ranch for models and actresses that is known as "Yogurt Gulch."

c) In "Kissin' Cousins" (1964), Elvis has the dual role of an Air Force pilot named Josh and the pilot's blond lookalike hillbilly cousin, Jodie, whose "pappy" is a moonshiner in the Great Smoky Mountains.

d) In "Wildcat" (1962), Elvis is "Tiger" Townsend, a circus lion tamer trying to elude the claws of a matrimonially minded bareback rider named "Pony" Patterson (Julie Newmar).

Elvis was a chic sheik in "Harum Scarum."
Elvis was a chic sheik in "Harum Scarum."

7. Elvis the smooth talker: Here are three examples of quotes from movies. Three are real; one I made up. Which did I make up?

a) In “It Happened at the World’s Fair” (1963), crop-duster pilot Elvis buzzes a convertible containing a pair of young women, and comments: “I think I just spotted a couple of sweet potatoes.”

b) In “Harum Scarum” (1965), Elvis is a movie star on tour in the Middle East who tells Princess Shalimar (former Miss America Mary Ann Mobley): “If you’re the result of resisting the encroachment of our civilized world, I’m all for it."

c) In "Too Close for Comfort" (1966), Elvis delivers a package to the headmistress of a secretarial school. "If you need a substitute teacher call me," he says. "I don't know shorthand, but I can chase 'em around a desk for a few hours."

d) In “Double Trouble” (1967), Elvis has advice for a restless young woman. “You’re flitting around like a butterfly,” he says. “Why don’t you light somewhere, baby?” He pats the adjacent couch cushion. “Like here.”

8. In 2004, an Elvis movie was selected for preservation by the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress, which is devoted to films deemed "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant." The movie was:

a) "Jailhouse Rock" (1957).

b) "G.I. Blues" (1960).

c) "Blue Hawaii" (1961).

d) "Tickle Me" (1965).

If it's Tuesday,  it must be "Wild in the Country": Tuesday Weld and Elvis Presley in one of Elvis' more serious movies, "Wild in the Country," in 1961.
If it's Tuesday, it must be "Wild in the Country": Tuesday Weld and Elvis Presley in one of Elvis' more serious movies, "Wild in the Country," in 1961.

9. Elvis sang about canines in the recordings "Hound Dog" and "Old Shep," but in his movies, he more often paid homage to mollusks and crustaceans. Three of these celebrations of invertebrates actually appear in Elvis movies; the fourth, I made up. Which one?

a) "Crawfish" (from "King Creole," 1958).

b) "Do the Clam" (from "Girl Happy," 1965).

c) "Song of the Shrimp" (from "Girls! Girls! Girls!," 1962).

d) "If I Were an Octopus (I'd Never Let You Go)" (from "Beachcomber," 1964).

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10. In "It Happened at the World's Fair," this 10-year-old actor plays a brat who kicks Elvis — hard — in the shin: 

a) Jerry "Leave It To Beaver" Mathers.

b) Anissa Jones (Buffy from "A Family Affair").

c) Kurt Russell.

d) Harrison Ford.

11. Fill in the blank: During a 1969 Las Vegas press conference, Elvis complained about the quality of his soundtrack albums, and conjured a rather strange image to express his disgruntlement. He said: "When you do ten songs in a movie, they can't all be good songs... I got tired of ______."

a) singing about sports cars and bikinis and sports cars wearing bikinis

b) serenading orphans and nuns

c) hanging by my tail from the monkey bars

d) singing to turtles

12. Topping the Billboard Pop album chart for 20 weeks during its original release and selling some 5 million copies over the past six decades, Elvis' most popular non-documentary soundtrack album — which includes the classic "Can't Help Falling in Love" and the less than classic "Ito Eats," about a glutton — belongs to the film that was one of the King's biggest box-office success. The film is:

a) "G.I. Blues" (1960).

b) "Blue Hawaii" (1961).

c) "Viva Las Vegas" (1964).

d) "The Trouble with Girls" (1969).

13. The King's highest-grossing film at the box office, "Viva Las Vegas" paired Elvis with a star of similar sex appeal: Ann-Margret. In the movie, the two meet when customer Ann-Margret walks into an auto shop and confronts Elvis, the mechanic. Asks Ann-Margret: "Can you check my motor? It whistles." Replies Elvis:

a) "I don't blame it."

b) "What do the wipers do? Pant?"

c) "What's it whistle? 'Dixie'?"

d) "You know how to whistle, don't you? Just put your lips together and blow."

Elvis and Nancy Sinatra go electric in "Speedway."
Elvis and Nancy Sinatra go electric in "Speedway."

14. In the 1966 "Spinout," Diana St. Clair (Diane McBain), the best-selling author of "Ten Ways to Trap a Bachelor" and "The Mating Habits of the Single Male," studies singer and race car-driver Mike McCoy (Elvis) for her next book about men. The book is to be titled:

a) "Racing from the Altar."

b) "Unsafe at Any Speed."

c) "Burning Rubber, Burning Desire."

d) "The Perfect American Male."

15. The movie that introduced "A Little Less Conversation," 1968's "Live a Little, Love a Little" also contains one of Elvis' more far-out songs. Fill in the blanks with the lyric that also reveals the song's title: "I can hear strange voices echo/ Laughing with mockery/ The borderline of doom I'm facing/ ____." And: "She drove me to the point of madness/ The brink of misery/ If she's not real, then I'm condemned to/ ____."

a) The World of Mystery.

b) The Edge of Reality.

c) The End of History.

d) The Land of Insanity.

The King puts up his dukes in this publicity still for "Kid Galahad."
The King puts up his dukes in this publicity still for "Kid Galahad."

16. A full-body publicity still from an Elvis movie was adapted by artist Andy Warhol into several of his trademark silkscreens. In 2008, one of these, titled "Eight Elvises," which features eight overlapping reproductions of the image, was sold in auction to a private owner for $100 million. The Elvis image is from:

a) "Flaming Star" (1960).

b) "Kid Galahad" (1962).

c) "Fun in Acapulco" (1963).

d) "Paradise, Hawaiian Style" (1966).

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17. In the 1990s, Ole Miss literature professor Dr. Vernon Chadwick taught a course titled "Blue Hawaii: The Polynesian Novels and Hawaiian Movies of Melville and Elvis," which found thematic connections between the Elvis filmography and the writings of "Moby Dick" author Herman Melville. According to Chadwick, what movie presents Elvis as "the deconstructor of civilized prejudices and prohibitions" who re-enacts "the anthropological function of the 'taboo man,' first delineated by Melville in 'Typee'"?

a) "Girl Happy" (1965).

b) "Girl! Girls! Girls!" (1962).

c) "The Trouble with Girls" (1969).

d) "Clambake" (1967).

18. "On his neck he wore the brand of a killer, on his hip he wore vengeance." That's the tagline for "Charro!" (1969), in which Elvis played a Spaghetti Western-style gunslinger. Which of these facts about the movie is not true?

a) It is the only movie in which Elvis sports facial hair (a scruffy Clint Eastwood/Man With No Name beard).

b) It is the only Elvis movie in which the star does not sing onscreen (the sole song is the main title theme, which is heard over the opening credits).

c) The score was by Hugo Montenegro, whose most familiar composition is probably the theme music for TV's "I Dream of Jeannie."

d) It is the only movie in which the character played by Elvis dies.

Elvis sandwich: The King feels the squeeze from Yvonne Craig (left) and Pamela Austin in "Kissin' Cousins."
Elvis sandwich: The King feels the squeeze from Yvonne Craig (left) and Pamela Austin in "Kissin' Cousins."

19. Several actors have portrayed Elvis or Elvis-like figures onscreen. Which of these examples is fake?

a) Don ("Miami Vice") Johnson was Elvis in the made-for-TV movie "Elvis and the Beauty Queen" (1981).

b) Played by "Evil Dead" franchise star Bruce Campbell, a rest-home resident who believes he is Elvis battles a resurrected Egyptian mummy in "Bubba Ho-tep" (2002).

c) Bob Dylan was Elvis in a skit on "Saturday Night Live" in 1979.

d) Quentin Tarantino was an Elvis impersonator on a 1988 episode of "The Golden Girls."

20. The 1979 ABC-TV movie, "Elvis," starring Kurt Russell, was directed by:

a) John Carpenter, director of "Halloween" and "The Thing."

b) Norman Jewison, director of "In the Heat of the Night" and "Jesus Christ Superstar."

c) Hal Ashby, director of "Harold and Maude" and "Bound for Glory."

d) Milos Forman, director of "Hair" and "Amadeus."

21. Speaking of Kurt Russell (for the third time in this quiz), in 2001 he and Kevin Costner starred in a movie titled "3000 Miles to Graceland." The film is:

a) A comedy about a pair of estranged brothers who reunite for a road trip to spread their Elvis-loving mother's ashes on the grounds of Graceland.

b) A thriller in which ex-sheriff Costner pursues rockabilly singer turned serial killer Russell on a murder spree from Vegas to Memphis.

c) An action comedy about gang of ex-cons who dress in Elvis jumpsuits to rob a Vegas casino during a convention of Elvis impersonators.

d) A romantic comedy in which rival Elvis impersonators Costner and Russell pursue a single-mother cocktail waitress (Michelle Pfeiffer), who happens to be named "Priscilla."

22. With a U.S./Canada box office haul of about $119 million, director Baz Luhrmann's biographical motion picture "Elvis," which stars Austin Butler as the King of Rock 'n' Roll, is a hit. During the last week of July, it reached No. 10 on the 2022 box office chart, overtaking a "franchise" film that prognosticators had assumed would outperform "Elvis" by a large margin. What was that suddenly 11th-ranked film?

a) "Jurassic World Dominion."

b) "Sonic the Hedgehog 2."

c) "Lightyear."

d) "The Batman."

THE ANSWERS

1. D. 

2. A. ("Box Office Daily" was not an actual publication.)

3. A.

4. A. (Norman Taurog did, in fact, helm the nine Elvis movies listed, making him the most prolific of Elvis directors. The most prolific Elvis producer was Paramount-connected Hal B. Wallis, who brought Elvis to Hollywood and had the King under contract, producing nine Presley pictures.)

5. D.

6. D. (The Elvis movie "Wildcat" does not exist.)

7. C. (I made up the quote and the movie.)

8. A.

9. D. (Both song and movie are fake.)

10. C. (Anissa Jones did appear with Elvis in "The Trouble with Girls" in 1969.)

11. D. (The line is repurposed in the current biopic, "Elvis.")

12. B.

13. A.

14. D.

15. B.

16. A. (The image depicts Elvis in a classic Western pose, with a six-gun drawn from his holster.)

17. B. (Melville's Polynesian trilogy consists of "Typee," from 1846, "Omoo," from 1847, and "Mardi and a Voyage Thither," from 1849, while Elvis' Hawaiian trilogy includes 1961's "Blue Hawaii," 1962's "Girls! Girls! Girls!" and "Paradise, Hawaiian Style," from 1966.)

18. D. (Elvis does not die in "Charro!," but he is shot to death in "Love Me Tender," while 1960's "Flaming Star" ends with the wounded Elvis riding off alone, to die in the wilderness.)

19. C. (Dylan was a musical guest on "SNL" in 1979, but he did not appear in an Elvis skit.) 

20. A.

21. C. (The other premises don't describe actual movies — not yet, at least.)

22. C. (As of the last week in July, the other three listed titles all rank above "Elvis" in the year-to-date box office top 10.)

This article originally appeared on Memphis Commercial Appeal: Elvis trivia: Can you answer these questions about the King's movies?