Blue Hawaii: Tuarog Directs Elvis Surfing Musical

Norman Taurog directed Blue Hawaii, yet another bland and uneventful musical, starring Elvis Presley, which was nonetheless very popular at the box-office.

The screenplay by In Hal Kanter’s formulaic story,nElvis plays Chadwick Gates, a vet just out of the Army, happy to be back in Hawaii with his surfboard, his beach buddies, and girlfriend Maile Duval (Joan Blackman).

His mother, Sarah Lee (Angela Lansbury), wants him to follow in his father’s footsteps and take over the family business, but he’s reluctant. Instead, he opts to work as a tour guide at his girlfriend’s agency, where his boss is the scatter-brained Mr. Chapman (Howard McNear).

The first clients Chad has are an attractive school teacher (Abigail Prentice) and four teenage girls in her charge. One girl, Ellie, bratty and self-centered, does not get along with the others,  becomes smitten with Chad. Then Chad’s girfriend, Maile, becomes jealous of the teacher who is also fond of Chad.

The tale ends with Chad and Maile’s lavish outdoor Hawaiian wedding.

The first of three Elvis films to be shot in Hawaii, Blue Hawaii was followed by “Girls! Girls! Girls!” in 1962 and “Paradise, Hawaiian Style” in 1965.

Curio Note:

Presley was 26 at the time, and Angela Lansbury who played his character’s mother was only a decade older.

Cast
Elvis Presley as Chad (Chadwick) Gates
Joan Blackman as Maile Duval
Angela Lansbury as Sarah Lee Gates
Nancy Walters as Abigail Prentice
Roland Winters as Fred Gates
John Archer as Jack Kelman
Howard McNear as Mr. Chapman
Steve Brodie as Tucker Garvey
Darlene Tompkins as Patsy Simon
Iris Adrian as Enid Garvey
Hilo Hattie as Waihila
Jenny Maxwell as Ellie Corbett
Pamela Austin as Selena “Sandy” Emerson (as Pamela Kirk)