Elvis: Colonel Parker’s biographer on the film’s historical inaccuracy


Alanna Nashbiographer of the colonel Tom Parkerdetails parts of the plot of Elvis which are not true. The film follows the main character, played by Austin Butlerhand in hand with his longtime manager, Parker (played by Tom Hanks). The film is directed by Baz Luhrmann, known for bringing a fresh and explosive style to the adaptation of famous stories. This often includes the mix of modern music with films set in various periods of the past, a trend that continues with Elvis.

Alanna Nash wrote a biography of Parker entitled The Colonel: The Extraordinary Story of Colonel Tom Parker and Elvis Presley, and subsequently became something of an authority on Parker and his life. Luhrmann did not read the book in preparation for the film, although she says she read the researchers’ notes from both Nash’s book and several other Presley books. Parker was born in the Netherlands and was a circus worker before emigrating illegally to the United States and entering the music promotion scene.

Now, talking to Variety, Alanna Nash explains how inaccurate Parker’s portrait in Elvis.

“This is total and unequivocal nonsense, a complete invention in the film. First of all, when Colonel Parker joined the United States Army, he declared himself a Dutch citizen, with parents born in Holland. Okay – we got foreign citizens – but he just had to swear that he would become a US citizen, which he never did, because he disappeared. But he worked closely with the Pentagon, planning Elvis’ military career and post-enlistment concert to raise money for the US Arizona monument.

“(Elvis) He never fired him from the stage, but there was an incident in Las Vegas in 1974 where Elvis criticized Barron Hilton from the stage for firing one of Elvis’ favorite employees. This led to a colossal confrontation later with Parker and talk of firing and abandonment on both sides, with the colonel eventually filing a bill the Presleys couldn’t pay. And so things resumed as they always had been. Elvis would never have been so inelegant as to fire the colonel from the stage while he was performing ”.

At the cinema from 22 June, Elvis from Baz Luhrmann is a retelling of the story of the king of rock and his manager, Colonel Parker. In the cast Tom Hanks and the young man Austin Butler. Presented at Cannes 2022, the film is having a great success at the box office.

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About David Martin

David Martin is the lead editor for Spark Chronicles. David has been working as a freelance journalist.

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