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Elvis filmed the movie “The Trouble With Girls” in October 1968. The movie opened in June 1969 in Dayton, Ohio, and on September 10, 1969 in Los Angeles. It was directed by Peter Tewsbury.

 “The Trouble With Girls” was Elvis’ penultimate film. His contract with Hollywood would close with Change of Habit that same year.

At that time Elvis was in a great moment of artistic and professional rebirth, after what the recording of the program “Elvis: Comeback Special” meant for him. 

It is based on the 1960 novel “Chautauqua” by Day Keene and Dwight Vincent Babcock.

The film is a curious mix of music, comedy and melodrama. 

It is set in the Roaring Roaring Twenties, in a small Iowa town in 1927, leading up to the Great Depression. The traveling company of “Chautauqua” arrives there, a mobile school that offered education and entertainment.

The film’s story revolves around this institution, which was founded in 1874 by Lewis Miller. Its original goal was to provide education for adults in the summer and for Sunday school teachers. With the success of its activities, it evolved to include academic subjects, music, art, and physical education. In the early 1900s, the Chautauqua program traveled by train across the country bringing its lectures, entertainment and culture to the entire community (This is the Chatauqua moment depicted in ‘The Trouble With Girls’). With the advent of movies and radio shows, travel stopped. Today, the Chautauqua Institution is an educational center with an average of 150,000 visitors each summer.

President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt once described the true story of the Chautauqua as “The Most American Thing in America.” 

MGM hired actress Marlyn Mason to co-star in the film. Marlyn had previously participated in famous television series such as Perry Mason, Bonanza or Ironside. She had also appeared in the 1960 film “Because They’re Young” but in an uncredited role, making her official film debut in “The Trouble With Girls”, playing Charlene, the “Story Lady”. ” of the company.

Elvis left us in this fun and likeable film, for all kinds of audiences, unforgettable songs and a personal image of an Elvis with overwhelming beauty and elegance. 

The recording session took place at United Artists Recorders in Hollywood on October 23, 1968. The musical director was Billy Strange

The songs on the soundtrack would be:

– “Clean Up Your Own Backyard” (Billy Strange and Mac Davis)

– “Swing Down Sweet Chariot” (traditional spiritual song, arranged by Elvis Presley accompanied by his beloved gospel quartet “The Mello Man”.)

– “Signs of the Zodiac” (Buddy Kaye y Ben Weisman. Duet with Marlyn Mason)

– “Almost” (Buddy Kaye and Ben Weisman)

– “The Whiffenpoof Song” (Ted Galloway, Meade Minnigerode and George Pomeroy). This song was not used in the film .

– Violet (Flower of NYU)” (Steven Dueker and Peter Lohstroh). This song would be the second adaptation in Elvis’s career of the 1861 American Civil War song “Aura Lee”, the first being the song “Love Me Tender“.

The song “Clean Up Your Own Backyard” by songwriters Billy Strange and Mac Davis, was his fourth successful submission for an Elvis soundtrack. It was the only single released at the same time as the film in 1969, peaking at number 35 on the Billboard Hot 100.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZCgMuUPVyPs]

“Almost” is a beautiful ballad that Elvis plays on the piano and would appear in 1970 on the album “Let’s Be Friends”. It is the only other track from the film to be released of Elvis in life.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1SNr-w_ZqwU]

His endearing new version of the song “Swing Down Sweet Chariot” which was originally released on the 1960 “His Hand in Mine” album, would not be released until 1983.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AbBdBL3XGdE]

The other songs would wait to be released until the RCA soundtrack compilations of the 1990s. 

A nice movie, to have a good time, learn about the history of Chautauqua, and do a thorough review of America in the twenties. It is accompanied by a soundtrack that left us some great songs.

And while I watch the movie, I write this post. And I keep the image of that Elvis who is about to return to being what he was on stage. I can already see it in his eyes, I can already see it in the way he moves, I can already see the Boy from Tupelo again, although… he had always been there. 

And I also see the Elvis that on July 31, 1969 would leave us all perplexed, since the artist, his voice and his impressive beauty, were still in him, in his eyes and in his smile… that look that he never lost , but that now shines with a renewed strength, before the new projects that awaited him. 

The long-awaited goodbye to Hollywood was already very close...

Here is the trailer for the movie.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ANi_lG21lPY]

Information provided by ELVIS. El Chico De Tupelo



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