Chad Gates (Elvis Presley) returns to Honolulu after his discharge from the army. He is unsure of his future plans but does not want to join the family pineapple business, despite pressure from his mother, Sarah Lee Gates (Angela Lansbury) and father, Fred (Roland Winters). Instead he takes a job as a tour guide and his first assignment is a group of four teenage girls and their teacher, Abigail Prentice (Nancy Walters). One of the girls is quite nasty and manages to have Chad fired. His parents disapprove of his girlfriend, Maile Duval (Joan Blackman), and Chad leaves the house.
Chad tells his parents, "I like my job, mum. It's fun, it's interesting and I meet a lot of nice people." Sarah Lee Gates replies, "Nonsense. Tourists aren't people. They're... they're tourists."..."Chad think of who you are, remember you come from a fine family."
Chad: "I'm sure you'll do enough remembering for both of us."
Sarah: "Oh daddy, what did we do wrong?"
Fred: "Offhand I'd say we got married."
Chad: "Are you always so bored or is it me?
Ellie: "Life is a bore I always say."
Chad: "Oh, always."
Ellie: "I've had 17 years of it."
Chad: "I think you're a mixed-up kid that's too big for her breeches.
Ellie: "I don't wear breeches."
Chad: "You're getting out of here right now, Miss No-Breeches Bardot."
Ellie: "Chad, do you think I'm pretty?"
Chad: "I think you're pretty forward and pretty stupid."
Ellie: "Wouldn't you rather hold me than Abigail?"
Chad: "I'd like to hold you over a barbecue pit. Back to your room!"
Ellie: "I couldn't sleep there."
Chad: "Well you sure can't sleep here. Perhaps you should take a bath. On second thought make that a cold shower."
(Chad gives Maile a bikini]
Maile: "I thank you for thinking of me."
Chad : "Oh I wasn't thinking of you, I was thinking of me. You wanna know something--on you, wet is my favourite colour."
Maile: "My French blood tells me to argue with you and my Hawaiian blood tells me not to mind. They're battling it out in front of me.
Chad: "I've never seen such a beautiful battleground."
Maile: "You're pretty sure of yourself."
Chad: "Isn't it about time?"
Abigail hires Chad to take the group to Kauai. There are many complicated situations involving love and misunderstanding, but eventually Chad and Maile get married with "Hawaiian Wedding Song" ending the movie.
Also in the cast are: Jenny Maxwell (Ellie Corbett). Pamela Austin (Selena "Sandy" Emerson), Darlene Tompkins (Patsy Simon), Christian Kay (Beverly Martin), John Archer (Jack Kelman), Howard McNear (Mr. Chapman), Steve Brodie (Tucker Garvey), Iris Adrian (Enid Garvey), Hilo Hattie (Waihila), Lani Kai (Carl Tanami), George DeNormand (Gen. Anthony), Gregory Gaye (Paul Duval), Clarence Lung (Lonnie), Michael Ross (Lt. Gray), and many others. Writing credits are Allan Weiss and Hal Kanter. Original music is by Joseph J. Lilley. Norman Taurog directed.
BLUE HAWAII is one of Elvis Presley's most successful films. Elvis fans love it, and it also appeals to viewers who enjoy glamorous locations, and beautiful scenery. It's like taking a tropical vacation without the inconvenience and horror of modern airport security.
Much of the film was shot on location at Coco Palm Resort on the east shore of Kauai. Elvis visited the resort often, always staying in cottage 56. The rest was shot on Oahu. Filming began on March 27, 1961 and ended April 17. BLUE HAWAII also marks a distinct transformation in Elvis' personal and public persona. Previously he was a conservative family man groomed as a star. After this film he became a Las Vegas playboy, and his movies degenerated into mostly inferior "Elvis Movie" products with the same formula.
The soundtrack album for BLUE HAWAII spent 20 weeks at 1 on the Billboard Top LP's chart in 1961-1962 and stayed on the charts for 79 weeks. This was Elvis' most commercially successful LP and one of the most successful LPs of all time. It was not surpassed until 1977, with the release of Fleetwood Mac's "Rumors" album. Fourteen songs are on the soundtrack, more than any other Elvis film. "Blue Hawaii" and "Can't help falling in Love" were hit singles and Elvis' schlocky "Rock-A-Hula Baby" sold over a million copies.
Songs were recorded on three-track tape at Radio Recorders in Hollywood from March 21 to 23 in 1961. Personnel: Elvis Presley (vocals); Scotty Moore, Hank Garland, Tiny Timbrell (guitar); Alvino Rey (steel guitar); Fred Tavares, Bernie Lewis (ukelele), George Fields (harmonica); Boots Randolph (saxophone); Floyd Cramer (piano); Dudley Brooks (piano & celeste); Bob Moore (bass); D.J. Fontana, Hal Blaine, Bernie Mattison (drums); plus the Jordanaires and The Surfers (background vocals).
Elvis sings 15 songs. "Blue Hawaii" was originally written for Bing Crosby in 1937 by Leo Robin and Ralph Rainger. The nicest song, "Can't Help Falling In Love", was written for the film by George Weiss, Hugo Peretti, and Luigi Creatore. The other songs are: "Hawaiian Sunset", "Hawaiian Wedding Song", "Island Of Love", "Ito Eats", "Ku-u-i-po", "Moonlight Swim", "No More", "Rock-a-Hula Baby", "Slicin' Sand", "Steppin' Out Of Line", "Almost Always True", "Aloha Oe", and "Beach Boy Blues".