Blue Hawaii

Movie Review #933


Nationwide release on November 22, 1961. Comedy/Musical. This film is rated PG for mild sensuality. Runs 102 minutes. An American production. Directed by Norman Taurog. Story by Allan Weiss. Writer: Hal Kanter. Cast: Elvis Presley, Angela Lansbury, Howard McNear, and Pamela Kirk.


By Alexander Diminiano

“On you, wet is my favorite color!”
– Elvis as Chad in “Blue Hawaii”

Boy, does this movie crumble over 53 years of aging. I’d imagine that Elvis Presley’s fans loved seeing him in Hawaii for the first time (and in a Hollywood movie for the eighth) back in 1961. They didn’t even have to ask for good music. That comes naturally with Elvis, and even the dumbest songs in “Blue Hawaii” might just get you movin’. But those Elvis fans, they probably got so caught up in their excitement, they never even asked for a good movie.

“Blue Hawaii” goes beyond the limitations of simple cornball dialogue. This is a field of cornball. I couldn’t wrap my mind around the dialogue here. If Hal Kanter had scripted this into something much further over the top, this would have been an exploitation film. It makes the Roger Moore 007 movies seem oh so serious.

It boggles my mind that Hawaii so loves this movie. Yes, it was filmed entirely on the island of Oahu, but a lot of the film feels a bit superficial with respect to its depiction of Hawaiian culture. There’s a song called “Ito Eats” here, concerning a Polynesian man who loves to eat to excess. Not that I’m an expert on Hawaiian music, but the song sounds like an imitation of Caribbean music, not Hawaiian. Also, if you’re feeling stupid enough, take a drink every time you hear “aloha” during this movie. Seven times out of ten that I heard the word “aloha” while I was in Hawaii, it was during the less-than-two hours that I spent watching “Blue Hawaii” in the hotel room.

Although I don’t recall it every being spoken in “Blue Hawaii”, “mahalo” is used just as frequently as “aloha” in Hawaii (at least from the tourist’s eye). “Mahalo” is an expression of gratitude, but for the sake of this review, how do you say “no thank you” in Hawaiian?