There are some stories so wild and unimaginable that they simply cannot be untrue. And when the story involves the late King of Rock, anything is not too far-fetched to believe. And that brings us to the straight-out-of-the-news archive account of Elvis Presley meeting Richard Nixon, the subject of the feature film Elvis & Nixon.
It was December 21, 1970, when Elvis Presley showed up at the White House very early in the morning and passed guards a note requesting a meeting with President Richard Nixon. The note was passed along to a presidential aide who happened to be a fan of Presley and his music. He in turn passed the note to White House chief of staff Bob Haldeman who thought the publicity from such a meeting might be a good thing. And so it was arranged. Pictures were taken and the moment was recorded in history for all time.
Directed by Liza Johnson, the film chronicalling this bizarre event stars Oscar winner Kevin Spacey as Nixon and Oscar nominee Michael Shannon as Elvis from a script by Joey Sagal, Hanala Sagal and Carey Elwes.
The producers describe this story as a comedy drama which seems somewhat of an understatement considering the image the encounter brings to mind — since Elvis turned up for the meeting in his standard outlandish mode of dress which in this case was a purple velvet suit and sunglasses.
What brought the King to the White House in the first place? Elvis reportedly had in his possession a collection of law enforcement badges and he wanted one from the federal government to add to them. The White House arranged to make it happen.
Incidentally, the photograph of the meeting between the two iconic figures has become the most-requested photo on collection at the National Archives.
The film received a respectable score of 64 from the critics at RottenTomatoes with an audience wanna see of 88. Elvis & Nixon runs 1 hour 26 minutes and is rated R.