Director: William A. Graham
At this point in Elvis' career it is obvious that he was relishing completing his 10 year film contract as he had become completely disillusioned with the film industry, who had given him cookie cutter formulaic roles (He's singing in Hawaii get it!?) instead of more memorable and challenging feautres. His handler, Col. Tom Parker, preferred the easy money and turned down 1969 Best Picture Winner Midnight Cowboy and A Star is Born on Elvis' behalf. Change of Habit would be his last film.
Elvis in an uncommon dramatic role playing Dr John Carpenter, an inner city Doctor working in a free clinic. Mary Tyler Moore plays a nurse and a catholic Nun who is sent by the catholic action committee with two others dressed as nurses to help him.
In Change of Habit Elvis manages to break away from the traditional song and dance to make a sentimental drama which shows that the King of Rock has a pretty wide acting range. The film's intriguing idea has a well-enough-constructed plotline to flesh out its premise for good family fair. Humor helps give this picture a faster pace, without it I fear Elvis' last picture would be a depressing bore.
The chemistry between Mary Tyler Moore and Elvis Presley is unconvincing, which is strange considering they work so well in other pairings. Moore delivers a spirited performance, perhaps better than her male counterpart. One very disturbing aspect of the film is a scene that celebrates `Rage Reduction Therapy' (also known as `Holding Therapy'), a controversial treatment for Autistic children. It somewhat takes away from the picture, but I guess we can think of at a "film of its time".
Well...except that Change of Habit wasn't "of its time". New Hollywood was in full swing and people demanded more from their films. More sexuality, more violence, more blurred morality lines. Audiences of 69' dismissed this picture as a relic of the past and thus it didn't make much money in the box office.