Director Eugene Jarecki Crowns Elvis Presley ‘The King’

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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

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© 2018 Patrick McDonald,

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