13 February 2021

Carol Morley's The Week Elvis Died (1997)


Elvis Presley died the year this film was released, although this film is nothing to do with him: even the opening song 'Are You Lonesome Tonight?', well-known as a Presley one, is sung by Russell Churney. No, The Week Elvis Died really refers not to the singer, but to the name of the beloved pet rabbit of Karen (Jennifer Williams).

Karen lives in a working-class world where the Elvis-figure father seems to be missing, where the rest of her family seem not to understand her, and of course they don't realise that she is being bullied by three awful girls who are obviously jealous of her academic achievements, particularly that she has been chosen to represent the school in the musical group and is to have the privilege of speaking to Tony Blackburn, DJ.

But Elvis dies, and it appears that her school enemies are responsible. On the night of the radio programme, the great occasion when she meets her DJ hero, she answers that her favourite book is the Wombles, but when Blackburn asks her if she has any friends she freezes, and continues to freeze through the following questions, which include if she has a pet: in the end she grabs the mike and lets out a huge scream of horror, all across the airwaves.

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