Elvis and the Beauty Queen (1981)
Though this biopic deals sensitively with the King’s addiction to prescription drugs, in all other aspects it is as tacky as its title would suggest. Like many products that appeared shortly the star’s death, it was not the quality that mattered. As long as his name was slapped on the merchandise, fans would lap it up.
The film opens with Miss Tennessee and Miss Rhode Island fantasizing about being the next Mrs Tom Jones or Mrs Elvis Presley. Little do they know that shortly thereafter they would be getting a tour of Graceland by none other than Elvis himself, who is immediately taken by Miss Tennessee’s southern charms. Yet the pitfalls associated with his fame make it difficult to sustain a relationship.
It seems strange to read contemporary reports on this biopic refer to pre-fame Don Johnson as an Elvis lookalike, for though he shares the king’s high cheekbones and some of his charisma, he neither looks nor sounds anything like him. This is no more apparent than when he first greets Linda Thompson in his Las Vegas apartment. With feet firmly planted on the ground and arms outstretched, he resembles a wax dummy slowly coming to life.
Three years after this biopic was made, Johnson would himself find fame as ‘Sonny’ Crockett on the hit TV series Miami Vice. In keeping with the belief that the king’s name could promote anything, Crockett named his pet alligator Elvis.
Linda Thompson (the 'beauty queen' of the title), served as creative consultant on the film. As such, the biopic appears to be an accurate representation of her memories of her time with Elvis.
No scene recreations from Elvis' films as he stopped acting in films three years prior to meeting Linda Thompson.