Stay Away Joe ---BONUS The Best and Worst of Elvis Double Feature ---
1968. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), Warner Home Video, Color, Aspect Ratio 2.35 : 1, 102 minutes, Rated PG
Release Date: March 8, 1968
Stay Away Joe is available at Amazon.com on DVD, in the Elvis Presley Classics DVD Set, in the Elvis: The Hollywood Collection Box, and on VHS.
Movie Synopsis: Yet another excuse to bring the great Elvis Presley to the big screen, as he plays a Native American returning home to his family and friends who live on an Indian Reservation in the Arizona desert. ~Jean
(I have jokingly labeled this movie the worst of Elvis, because after having seen all of his films, this one really does win that honor. Yes, its even worse than Harum Scarum, which I didnt think was possible. Not in this universe. And, by the way, I am a big Elvis fan... have been since the 1950s.)
Cast: Elvis Presley, Burgess Meredith, Joan Blondell, Katy Jurado
Director: Peter Tewksbury
Thoughts on the Movie:
Now, let me just state a fact: I love Elvis. I have since I was just a kid. And because of that, Ive seen almost all of his films. But this movie had me both bored and squirming... I didnt know what to do. I have never stopped watching an Elvis movie half-way through... until I put this turkey in my DVD player. I tell you, Elvis has been given a lot a silly names in his movies, but when his character is named Joe Lightcloud, you know you're in trouble. With that being said, I still couldnt resist including this in Movie Locations of the Great Southwest. And, honestly, why not, since it was filmed in beautiful Sedona, Arizona.
And that was the reason that I finally got around to watching this movie. Elvis. The Red Rocks of Sedona. I was drooling at the thought of it. But, gee whiz, what a disappointment. I tell you what: if I ever get the courage to try to watch this thing all the way to the end, Ill come back in here and add an addendum to this horribly scathing evaluation of moviemaking gone way too wrong! ~Jean
Sedona, Arizona (see Map)
The film was shot in the general Sedona area, taking advantage of the beautiful Red Rocks secenery for which the area is so well known. One or two recognizable rock formations are seen in the movie (note the photos).
Right: One of the beautiful red rock formations that can been seen in the Elvis Presley turkey "Stay Away Joe."
About Sedona, Arizona:
Sedona, Arizona (population 11,220; elevation 4,500 feet; 34° 51 36 N, 111° 47 21 W) is located in the upper Sonoran Desert of northern Arizona, about 20 miles south of I-40, just off I-17. Sedonas main attraction is its stunning array of red sandstone formations, known fondly as the Red Rocks of Sedona, and this particular type of rock can only being found in this area. The formations appear to glow in brilliant orange and red when illuminated by the rising or setting sun. The Red Rocks form a breathtaking backdrop for everything from spiritual pursuits to the outdoor recreation opportunities to be had among hundreds of hiking and mountain biking trails.
Red Rock State Park. 4050 Red Rock Loop Road, Sedona, Arizona
Red Rock State Park is an open-sky theatre of fabulous rock formations. Sprawled across 286 unspoiled acres, this popular park is the perfect starting point for hiking, picnicking, bird watching, and photography. At an elevation of approximately 3,900 feet, you can enjoy the soothing sights and sounds of the natural creek threading the landscape. Open 7 days a week from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The Visitors Center and Gift Shop (open 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily) provide an opportunity to learn more about the beautiful Red Rocks region of Sedona.
Right: Elvis Presley messes around with a couple of chicks (what else is new? perhaps the beautiful Red Rocks scenery in Sedona, Arizona) in the 1968 movie "Stay Away Joe."
Sedona possesses several naturally occurring energy vortexes, which could be described as subtle, spiraling currents that emanate from the Earth. Purported to increase spiritual growth and personal enlightenment, these spots are incredibly popular. Visitors from locations worldwide come to experience the sensations from contact with these vortexes. Among the vortexes in the area are Boynton Canyon, Bell Rock, and Cathedral Rock.
Twenty-five miles southwest of Sedona on State Route 89A lies the little town of Clarkdale. Founded in 1912, it was originally a mining town. Today, the population is just more than 3,900 and the economic base is related to various industries including tourism, plastics and cement. For 10 days beginning the first Friday in December, you may view the collections from local artists at the annual Made in Clarkdale Art Show event. Clarkdale is also the location for daily tours of the beautiful canyons from the Verde Canyon Railroad.
Lodging & Dining:
Sky Ranch Lodge. 1105 Airport Road, Sedona, Arizona
Family-owned and operated, Sky Ranch Lodge sits atop Airport Mesa, perched above the center of town, overlooking all of Red Rock Country. There are the jaw-dropping views to the north of Coffee Pot Rock, Capitol Butte, and Snoopy Rock.
Marias Restaurant and Cantina. 6446 Highway 179, #212, Sedona, Arizona
Marias has been serving the Sedona area since 1998, offering fine dining in a casual atmosphere that attracts both locals and visitors. Known for its authentic Mexican cuisine, they also feature Southwestern and American entrees.
Left: The gorgeous, world-famous Red Rock scenery of Sedona, Arizona, can be seen in the background behind the handsome Elvis Presley, in a candid shot from the 1968 movie "Stay Away Joe."
Elvis gave small roles in Stay Away Joe to his friends Del Sonny West, Joe Esposito and Charlie Hodge (members of what came to be known as Elvis Memphis Mafia).
The film is based on the pulp novel of the same name by Dan Cushman.
Character Quote: She can chew on my moccasin anytime. ~Joe Lightcloud (Elvis Presley)