Director Eugene Jarecki Crowns Elvis Presley ‘The King’

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionE-mail page to friendE-mail page to friendPDF versionPDF version
No votes yet Oscarman rating: 5.0/5.0
Rating: 5.0/5.0

CHICAGO – Elvis Presley, besides being one of the most famous entertainers of the 20th Century, does symbolize to an extent what can happen to icons when they turn towards certain directions in a career. Director Eugene Jarecki has created an amazing documentary about Elvis called “The King,” that uses his rise and decline as a symbol for the American Dream.

The film is part bio picture, part fan film and all about America. Jarecki borrowed Elvis’s actual Rolls Royce and put celeb admirers like Alec Baldwin, Ethan Hawke, Ashton Kutcher, Emily Lou Harris and John Hiatt inside the car to talk about the significance of the Elvis celebrity, bigger and brighter at its time than any other. The film is simply a truth about who and what America is, through one of the biggest personalities it ever produced, for better or worse.

Elvis Presley is Everywhere in ‘The King’
Photo credit: Oscilloscope

Director Jarecki uses metaphors spectacularly in the film, through celebrity travelers in the Elvis car, Presley’s life and both reflections along the way. The symbol of Elvis, dead over 40 years, was a significant representation of the brief middle class power of the 1950s to create something besides their born-to-lower-echelon fate. As Elvis and America aged through the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s, that middle-class power ebbed, and the capitalist nature of economic structure left a vanquished economic middle and the bloated Elvis behind… both died quite spectacularly. There is a wistfulness, and ultimate sadness in this film. How many other people have died in pursuit of what they cannot have?

Eugene Jarecki has created a number of thought-provoking and provocative documentaries including “The Trials of Henry Kissinger’ (2002), “Why We Fight” (2005), “Reagan” (2011) and the short doc “The House I Live In” (2012), which won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival.

In Pursuit of Elvis and the American Dream in ‘The King’
Photo credit: Oscilloscope

BONUS! Listen to the Podtalk. Patrick McDonald of speaks to director Eugene Jarecki on the extraordinary journey of making “The King,” and whether Elvis is truly everywhere.

“The King” opens in Chicago on July 20th at the Music Box Theatre, 3733 North Southport. Director Eugene Jarecki will appear at the Music Box on Friday, July 20th and the afternoon show on July 21st. For more information, click here. Featuring interviews with Alec Baldwin, Ethan Hawke, Ashton Kutcher, Emily Lou Harris and John Hiatt. Directed by Eugene Jarecki. Rated “R” senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Editor and Film Writer

© 2018 Patrick McDonald,

User Login

Free Giveaway Mailing


  • It's NOT ALL About You John Michael

    CHICAGO – John Michael epitomizes the art of the monologue. The Chicago transplant, by way of Dallas, is moving on (he says temporarily) from the city that inspired his last show, “Meatball Seance,” after notorious and successful runs of his other one-man shows, “John Michael and the Order of the Penix” and “Dementia Me.” His farewell performance is his latest, another laugh riot, “It’s NOT ALL About You John Michael,” and will take place at Mary’s Attic in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood on March 1st, 2019. Click here for details, including ticket information.

  • Soccer Player in the Closet, The 2

    CHICAGO – Connecting to the theater collective Nothing Without a Company means a couple of things. One, you may visit parts of Chicago you’ve never seen before – in this case a plant store in an industrial area south of Humboldt Park – and two, you will see some daring and outside-the-box stagings. “The Soccer Player in the Closet” is their latest production – a World Premiere – and it provides what the title implies and beyond. The play runs through March 17th, 2019. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

Advertisement on Twitter

archive Top Ten Discussions