Thursday, April 11, 2013

Film Ads In Iran#31: Elvis

Fun in Acapulco

I was born in a family of six with two sisters close to my age who naturally became my playmates and fellow expeditionary. We discovered many things together and among the things we innocently loved there was Elvis. We had few Elvis films on VHS, but our favorite was a long anthology film of his Hollywood career, assembled and edited by Andrew Salt. Yes, the place was Islamic Republic of Iran and the time, 1990s when the country was slowly recovering from the devastation of a war.

Elvis Presley films were shown in Persian-dubbed version in the pre-revolutionary Iran, but there is no indication that he was as popular in Iran as other places in the world. The above picture and two more below are scans of Elvis film ads in Iran from that period.

To conceive what a weird and sometimes confusing melting pot was the film culture in Iran, I draw your attention to two other films promoted on the first ad (above), one for screening of Jerry Lewis' Leave It Up (who was bigger than Elvis or anyone else in Iran) and the other, quite surrealistically, promoting the Russian version of Hamlet by Grigory Kozinetsev which is indeed a masterpiece.

It can be interpreted as a sign of apathy toward the rock 'n' roll star, as the aforementioned ad introduces Fun In Acapulco as the Ursula Andress' new film ("who caught the world's attention by Dr. No," the ad reads) rather than leaning on Elvis as the major box-office drive of the film.

Fun in Acapulco (Richard Thorpe.1963)
Live a Little, Love a Little (Norman Taurog.1968)
Furthermore, it is fascinating to know how these newspaper ads were the simplified and mono-colored versions of the original posters with the credit changed to the Persian typefaces. For instance compare the ad above with the original poster below:

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