Paradise, Hawaiian Style

Paradise, Hawaiian Style is a 1966 American musical comedy film starring Elvis Presley. It was the third and final motion picture that Presley filmed in Hawaii. The film reached #40 on the Variety weekly box office chart, earning $2.5 million in theaters. In agreeing to do this film, Elvis's manager, Colonel Tom Parker, was hoping to replicate the success of Presley's 1961 film, Blue Hawaii.

Paradise, Hawaiian Style
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMichael D. Moore
Screenplay by
  • Allan Weiss
  • Anthony Lawrence
Story byAllan Weiss
Produced byHal B. Wallis
CinematographyW. Wallace Kelley
Edited byWarren Low
Music byJoseph J. Lilley
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • June 9, 1966 (1966-06-09) (USA)
Running time
91 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$2,500,000[1]



Rick Richards (Presley) returns to his home in Hawaii after being fired from his job as an airline pilot. He and his buddy Danny Kohana (James Shigeta) go into the helicopter charter business together. But Rick's reckless flying and his careless flirting with local women may cost Rick the business and Danny his home. This tendency seems to get in the way of their secretary, Judy "Friday" Hudson (Suzanna Leigh) and Rick getting together.

Disaster looms as Danny becomes overdue on a flight after Rick has been grounded by government officials. Rick must decide if he should risk losing his license forever by going to look for his friend.





Principal photography in Paradise, Hawaiian Style began in Hawaii on July 27, 1965 (with the working title of Hawaiian Paradise) and finished on September 29 in Los Angeles.[2]

Major scenes in both Blue Hawaii (1961) and this film were shot on the island of Kauaʻi, with the Coco Palms Resort prominently featured. The famous resort was destroyed by Hurricane Iniki in 1992 and never rebuilt.[3]

Some scenes were filmed above, at and around the Polynesian Cultural Center on O'ahu.

Around the official wrap on production, Elvis met Tom Jones, who visited the set, and The Beatles, who visited Elvis’ Bel Air home a few weeks after production was completed.[4] Elvis was still the biggest singing star and top actor in the world at this time, with his salary for every film being a million dollars and half the profits which $1.25 million for Hawaiian Style. Elvis made $2.25 million from this film.





Released in June 1966, Paradise, Hawaiian Style, despite its "stunning aerial photography", "inspired a collective yawn" with film critics.[5] The New York Times film reviewer Vincent Canby compared the film to the formulaic 1930s musicals that Bing Crosby used to star in, concluding that it was "all harmless and forgettable."[6] Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times called it "pleasant hot-weather diversion. Pretty much the usual Elvis Presley formula of songs and romance, this Paramount release ... has the added bonus of lush tropical scenery in color. And Elvis, as always, remains [a] relaxed, enjoyable entertainer."[7]

Variety called the film "a gaily-begarbed and flowing musical," with the Hawaii setting seldom before having been "utilized to such lush advantage."[8] The Monthly Film Bulletin wrote, "This is Elvis Presley right back in the old rut, parading his talents as a man of action while women swoon at his passage. The script is rather worse than routine, and the songs and choreography are undistinguished; which leaves very little but Wallace Kelley's colourful photography of the strictly tourist-eye view of the islands."[9][N 1]

See also





  1. ^ Aerial photography was completed from a Bell 47 helicopter flown by James W. Gavin.


  1. ^ "Paradise, Hawaiian Style, Box Office Information." The Numbers. Retrieved: April 16, 2012.
  2. ^ ["History: Paradise, Hawaiian Style." AFI Catalog of Feature Films. Retrieved: July 26, 2018.
  3. ^ Resource, Hotel News. "Historic Coco Palms Resort in Hawaii to Reopen Under Hyatt Umbrella".
  4. ^ "50th Anniversary: Elvis Presley's Paradise Hawaii Style." Retrieved: May 20, 2019.
  5. ^ Knight 2009, p. 134.
  6. ^ Canby, Vincent. "Presley Invades Hawaii." The New York Times, June 16, 1966, p. 53.
  7. ^ Thomas, Kevin. "It's 'Paradise' for Elvis Presley fans." Los Angeles Times. June 1, 1966. Part IV, p. 8.
  8. ^ "Paradise, Hawaiian Style." Variety, June 8, 1966, p. 6.
  9. ^ "Paradise, Hawaiian Style." The Monthly Film Bulletin, Volume 33, Issue 391, August 1966, p. 127.