LIGHTS! CAMERA! ELVIS! COLLECTION / / Paramount Home Entertainment / $76.99
Elvis Presley didn't so much inhabit a character as amble through it. No matter the part, he resolutely portrayed the country kid who made good, his hair a slicked, unyielding coif, his gyrations and self-satisfied sneer irresistible to every woman who crossed his path.
The formula is solidly evident in eight Presley movies set for release Tuesday on DVD to commemorate the 30th anniversary of his death: King Creole (1958), G.I. Blues (1960), Blue Hawaii (1961), Roustabout (1964), Girls! Girls! Girls! (1962), Fun in Acapulco (1963), Paradise, Hawaiian Style (1966) and Easy Come, Easy Go (1967).
In most of his 31 films, panned at the time but profitable, the ever-cool, photogenic Presley breaks into song at every opportunity, usually backed by a band he has ostensibly just encountered but with which he manages somehow to perform flawlessly.
In King Creole, at least, Presley -- playing a poor busboy who gets mixed up with the New Orleans mob -- stretches his acting chops, no doubt because of the prodding of director Michael Curtiz (Casa-blanca).
But in Girls! Girls! Girls!, filmed partly on location in Hawaii and partly -- and very obviously -- on a well-lighted soundstage, Presley flounders as a fishing-boat captain who spends as much time warbling tunes as he does casting for shrimp and bickering with his two love interests. (There were always at least two.)
SPECIAL FEATURES There are no special features in this set of movies packaged in a box swathed in faux blue velvet.
DISTURBIA / / Dreamworks / $29.99
Fans of Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window (1954) should not get overly excited about this homage, which makes up in wide-open plot holes what it lacks in real suspense.
In Disturbia, set not in a claustrophic city but in suburbia, Shia LaBeouf is an impulsive, depressed teenager under three months' house arrest for assaulting a teacher. Bored, he spies on his neighbors, becoming convinced that one of them (David Morse) is a killer. Of course, no one believes him.
Special features include commentary by director D.J. Caruso; deleted scenes; a "making-of" documentary; and a pop-up quiz.