“It’s never late to see the light”
Released November 10th, 1969 was Elvis’s last acting role in Change of Habit. This musical drama film was directed by William A. Graham and produced by Joe Connelly. Change of Habit is based on a story by John Joseph and Richard Morris. This film was filmed on location in Los Angeles and at Universal Studios during March and April 1969 even though the film took place in New York. Colonel Tom Parker had an attitude to make Elvis films quick and cheap. Though Elvis usually had a $1 million fee, so the Colonel made a deal to produce one film and a Television Special. He was paid $1.25 million for both features.
Change of Habit had been announced sing 1967. Mary Tyler Moore signed on to October in 1968, Elvis did not sign up until January 1969. Following the film, Mary Tyler Moore and Edward Asner (also starring in the film) became co-stars of The Mary Tyler Moore Show from 1970-1988. When Elvis entered the studio to record his last film album, he had just released From Elvis in Memphis (which is my favorite album). In the Ghetto and Suspicious Minds did extremely well and are some of the most well-known Elvis songs. At this time, he had lined up a month-long engagement with the International Hotel is Paradise, Nevada. This would be his first live performance in nearly eight years, ’68 Comeback Special not included.
Change of Habit
Elvis stars as Dr. John Carpenter who is a physician at a clinic in the ghetto. He comes in contact with three nuns Sister Michelle (Mary Tyler Moore), Sister Irene (Barbara McNair), and Sister Barbara (Jane Elliot). They arrive in normal clothes as they are missionaries to work at the clinic in preparation for their final vows. The Sisters live in a dingy apartment in the ghetto. Father Gibbons does not approve of their presence and frowns upon their dress, ideas, of recreation.
Dr. Carpenter is attracted to Sister Michelle and is trying to avoid his attentions. The other nuns find themselves running into issues with the world around them regarding race and other serious issues. They all overcome the issues they encounter while Michelle decides to help a young girl talk with the help of the doctor. After a block party, the sisters find themselves fitting into the world around them and Mother Superior (Leora Dana) orders them to return to the convent. Sister Michelle and Irene return, while Sister Barbara does not.
Dr. Carpenter asks Michelle why she has never returned his feelings. She tells him the truth and he becomes angry and asks if she took a vow of honesty. He cannot believe she allowed him to fall in love with her in the first place. Sister Michelle has to make a decision, whether to take her final vow or to choose a life with Dr. Carpenter. Dr. Carpenter sings at a mass in the church, and Michelle enters in her habit. It remains unclear whether or not she comes back for good, or just comes to see the doctor.
Let Us Pray
I remember getting this on DVD for my birthday after my Aunt Pam asked me to pick something out. I loved this movie so very much. Not only because Elvis looked absolutely incredible, but because he did such a wonderful job at acting. When I was entering the medical field, I had a picture of Elvis dressed as a doctor as the background on my laptop to motivate me to continue my endeavor and finish school. I had thought I would meet a doctor that looked like Elvis and it would all be worth it; however, my life did not go the way I had thought. I am not upset about that at all. But let me be really honest, if I had a doctor that looked like Elvis I would be sick all the time.