Posing The Pose
By Ger Rijff
Brando, Dean or Curtis … young Elvis Presley loved them all! At age 19, Elvis found himself in the music industry instead of the Hollywood movie industry. Hollywood: a dream dating back to his early teen-age years. Elvis, not a bad looking kid himself, had studied his heroes thoroughly. The way they posed, their hairstyles (especially Curtis’), their kool clothes … Elvis learned fast! And by the beginning of 1956 he would display the influences he had picked up from the big guys. When seen for the first time on Stage Show , January 28, 1956, the shy smiling kid from from the year before had clearly transformed into a cocky, ‘move over, I’m here’, kinda guy. “No messing around with the Memphis Flash”, was his message. He had indeed learned fast!
Beefcake photography was the term used in Hollywood for men posing bare chested in front of a camera. In the history of movie making posing ‘beefcake’ style goes back as far as the 1920s. Hollywood heart throbs from the silent movie era, such as Rudolph Valentino and Ramon Navarro, regularly posed bare chested. Their fans, from both sexes, loved it. In the early 50s Hollywood would deliver a brand of new screen heroes, soon to be labeled by the media as the ‘angry young men’. Marlon Brando, James Dean, Montgomery Clift and Paul Newman were the best known (and most loved) by the younger movie crowd. Their way of posing was new. No smiling at the camera. Instead they looked angry, brooding, and at times a little dangerous. Tony Curtis was an exception to this new breed of young actors. This pretty boy could both pose a friendly smile and an angry look.
No singers before him had mixed the style of the angry young men, from the big screen, with singing. Not on record, not on a stage. Elvis was so damn different from all singers who had preceded him. Sinatra never had ‘humped’ a micro stand on stage, or rolled over on the stage floor, shaking his body like ants were up his pants. But Elvis did all that … and more! Soon magazine headlines screamed: “Mothers, keep your daughters in the house! Elvis Presley is coming to your town!”. Communism had been America’s biggest fear since the end of WW2, but by 1956 Elvis Presley solidly had taken the number 2 spot! Studying the bad boys from Hollywood had paid off big time for the kid from Memphis and Hollywood was awaiting his arrival anxiously …
More Posing The Pose … SOON!