Things About Elvis Presley’s Life That The Movie Doesn’t Show

Content Warning: The following article contains discussions/depictions of domestic violence.

For a film that lasts 2 hours and 39 minutes, Baz Luhrmann Elvis covers much of its titular protagonist’s life, including his early years, fame, and eventual downfall. His rocky partnership with manager Colonel Tom Parker was also covered in depth.

Yet, like any other musical biopic, Elvis misses out on some aspects of Elvis Presley’s life that might not suit the glamor of the silver screen or might be too specific to incorporate into the overall narrative. These details include his difficult relationships with women, his encounters with iconic personalities, and much more.


Getting a guitar at age 11

Elvis Presley sitting with his mother Gladys Presley

A significant reason behind Elvis Presley’s fame was the legacy he inherited from the great black artists of the time. The film also shows how a young Elvis got his first musical inspiration from a performance of Black Gospel. However, when it comes to sitting down and learning music, a starting point may be when he got his first guitar.

In a look back at her mother Gladys Presley by Express, it is mentioned how his overprotective and God-fearing mother gave him a guitar on his eleventh birthday. While Elvis initially insisted on buying a bicycle, Gladys feared for his safety and gave him a gift more suited to an indoor environment.

Domestic violence allegations

Priscilla Presley and Elvis Presley sit next to each other in wedding photo

Although his artistic legacy is undeniable, Elvis Presley was far from perfect as a family man, as the movie Baz Luhrmann itself shows. This version of the story portrays him as an absent father and husband given his heightened drug addiction. However, as Priscilla Presley’s memoir Elvis and me and a profile on The Guardian reveal, he could also be violent towards his wife. Although she always seems to think positively of her husband, the book dives into the times when Elvis slapped her or even forced himself on her.

As reported by Express, his fiancée Ginger Alden also revealed how physical his outbursts can be. In his book Elvis and gingerit is revealed that Presley even kept shooting a bullet over the headboard of their bed simply because she refused to give him more yogurt to eat.

Meeting with Richard Nixon

Elvis Presley shakes hands with Richard Nixon

In an official White House photograph, Elvis Presley can be seen shaking hands with infamous US President Richard Nixon. This brief meeting took place on December 21, 1970. Although not much is known about what transpired in this conversation, Presley’s letters to Nixon indicate that he wanted to become an undercover federal agent to join the war on drugs.

Smithsonian Magazine reports this meeting in more detail, discussing how the rock n’ roll star told the Republican president that they were both on the same side based on his studies of “drug culture” and the ” communist brainwashing”. The movie 2016 Elvis and Nixon reimagines this encounter in greater detail with Michael Shannon as Elvis in one of his most underrated roles. As for Luhrmann Elvisthe only presidential connection to the film is a scene where Presley cries during the assassination of John F Kennedy.

The Colonel’s reactions to Elvis’ death

colonel tom parker played by tom hanks in elvis

One of the least likable Tom Hanks characters of all time, Colonel Tom Parker was a sneaky salesman and manager with no regard for his customers. While he was successful in building the brand of Elvis Presley, he also contributed to the entertainer’s constant stage fatigue and financial instability.

According Cinemablend, director Baz Luhrmann said Parker would have had money on his mind even after Presley’s death. To quote Luhrmann, “It’s not in this movie – I didn’t put that piece in – but when Elvis dies, and the colonel gets the phone call, the first thing he does is pick up the phone and call RCA and say, ‘Print more records.'”

Interactions with Lisa-Marie

Elvis watches his daughter Lisa Marie

Elvis Presley’s only daughter, Lisa-Marie Presley, has a brief role in the film, but it is hinted that despite his divorce from Priscilla Presley, he was romantically involved with her daughter. In a detailed article on this father-daughter relationship on Thingsit is mentioned how Lisa-Marie had fond memories of her father as him being the only person who could convince her to take a bath.

At the same time, she had heartbreaking experiences like staying in the same house the night her father died. Due to the script’s emphasis on the parasitic relationship between the main characters of ElvisColonel Parker and Elvis Presley, there wasn’t much room left to explore the star’s fatherly side.

Meet the Beatles

The Beatles 1969

Beatles fans would agree that “The King” had a major influence on the British band’s early music. Both Elvis and the Beatles were among the best-selling artists of all time, and only a few would know that they even met once, an incident which unfortunately was not captured on camera.

According BBC, the Fab Four met Presley at his Beverly Hills mansion on August 27, 1965, when they were taking a break from their US tour. It was during the height of Beatlemania when the Beatles were cementing their presence overseas. They even engaged in an impromptu jam session which the Beatles deliberately avoided revealing to the press. It was George Harrison’s idea to keep this encounter a secret as it would otherwise look like another “dirty publicity stunt”.

conspiracy theories

Split Images of Elvis Presley Lookalike in Home Alone and Newspaper Clipping Claiming Elvis Is Alive

Since the passing of Elvis Presley, he has been the subject of fantasy for many urban legends. There are myths about how he faked his own death, with many believing he continued to live for years to come. This eventually led to the phenomenon of “Elvis sightings”.

In a list compiled by smooth radiothe craziest conspiracy theories suggest that Elvis was in Alone at home or he is a gardener at Graceland, etc. Obviously, these observations are more suited to a true-crime documentary than a biopic.

karate skills

In the film’s performance scenes, there are times when Austin Butler’s Elvis Presley appears to be engaging in karate poses on stage. It turns out that’s one of the things the movie got right about Elvis’ life. Presley harbored a fascination for the Japanese martial art which had been introduced to it during his military service in Germany.

Mental Floss mentions that he earned a first-degree black belt later in life, but his actual karate skills are up for debate. Although he was praised by karate practitioners around him, he is still doubtful of the veracity of their claims. Wayne Carman in his book Elvis’ Karate Legacy documents his training time under him and praises him as “Elvis the black belt, with 15 years of experience”.

Loving life after Priscilla

Elvis Presley pictured with Ginger Alden

Priscilla and Elvis Presley’s marriage only lasted six years, after which Presley dated songwriter Linda Thompson for four years. The other major relationship he indulged in was with model Ginger Alden who he dated for nine months until his death.

Alden was also his fiancée in her last days and as Express report reveals, he seemed to be optimistic about his future with her. In Alden’s words, “Elvis was looking forward to many things, marriage, more children, serious movies and his next tour.”


Newspaper clipping on the death of Elvis Presley

The film ends with an actual performance by the King himself before his death. However, the exact manner of his death might have been too dark to include in the biopic. As many already know, Elvis Presley’s corpse was found sitting on the toilet in his Graceland home. While initially the cause of death was believed to be a heart attack, the exact cause was hotly debated over the following years.

Even though archival footage of the funeral procession was incorporated into the film, it was in itself a cinematic event. According to a Express report, around 300 people had gathered for his funeral at Graceland and a speeding car even ended up killing two women in the crowd.

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