Medusa’s Ways of Seeing: ELVIS: wow! But also: more context!

The new Elvis movie was incredible (and authentic according to my superfan daughter)– colorful, styled to Elvis, gave visual credit to the Black musicians that heavily influenced him, told the heart wrenching story of his manager who ran his life into a tragic early death….brings up emotions in me around the lived body.

Three critical points:

It included highlights of his meeting Priscilla but glossed over their relationship and fact that she was 14 / he 24 at their meeting. In fact,

the representation of women in this movie is telling –

How Elvis star Austin Butler overcame heartbreaking tragedy to play the King with the help of two A-list romances

all the women live for men

(aside from the female musicians Big Mama Thornton and Sister Rosetta Sharp) – the mom (played by Helen Thomson pictured  above) lives her life worrying (and dies worrying) over Elvis; Priscilla a one-dimensional pretty side support and an unnamed woman, who, when Elvis fainted before a show, encourages the manager to take him to the hospital, is ignored.

How eerie that feeling…seeing women like that… being a woman…so many years later…

Meet The Gospel Singer Who Plays Big Mama Thornton In 'Elvis'The film  gives some time to the black artists around Elvis growing up and his friendships in Memphis  who influenced him—though overlooks deep racial implications—what did/do black artists really think of Elvis ?

(Left: Shonka Dukureh as Mama Thornton)

Eerie seeing the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert Kennedy in the same year (1968), and news reports with folks discussing the

“downfall of the country”—so sadly resonant….

The impact of his doctor who over prescribed him drugs that led to his death was present, but the focus was on the manager and his control over Elvis’ life and driving him down, devastatingly, to his death. I can’t help but make note

—how destructive lack of control over one’s body is…

All of this said

– it’s an intriguing and important movie that brings up discussions like these….

as art.


(<–meme someone sent me. just leaving this here…)

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Soon: my post on the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art in Salisbury, MD!