My first reaction to those hysterical screaming girls in Elvis…to those hormonal howls and wails in the Louisiana Hayride concert sequence, was “Baz is overcranking it again…he always does this…can’t help himself.”
But today I took a look at some ’50s footage of women watching Presley perform, and Luhrmann didn’t exaggerate all that much. The reality is that ’50s women responded on a level of 7.5 or 8 or perhaps even 9, and Luhrmann’s women took it to level 10 or 11. But they’re not that far apart.
And the sullen reactions of the guys in the audience in Elvis are spot-on…they hate him for turning the women on, but they also feel envious. The exact same thing happened in the mid ’50s.
The following are from Loving You (’57), Presley’s second film and his first in color: