The New Gladiators is a documentary movie by Elvis Presley and Ed Parker centered on the fights of the United States Karate team in London, England and Brussels, Belgium. Narrated by Chuck Sullivan, it was filmed between 1973 and 1974 but finally remastered and later released in 2002. The movie was financed by American singer and actor Elvis Presley, who began to practice karate during his duty years in the United States Army.
In 1974, George Waite presented the idea of the film to Ed Parker, Presley’s karate instructor. In the film, Presley was playing the main role, introducing Karate arts divided in narration and demonstrations. Parker presented the idea to Presley, who subsequently liked the idea. There was a meeting organized at Graceland, but no major details were arranged due that Presley had to leave for travel to Las Vegas to perform on a show. The next Morning to the meeting, Presley called Waite and sent his private plane to take his wife and him to Vegas. During the show, Presley extended a $50,000 check for beginning the production of the film.
In 1977 after Presley’s death, the movie was stored in a garage in West Hollywood, in the bed of a truck along with other memorabilia objects. In 2001 the footage was found, restored and later released on August 17, 2002. On August 16, 2009 Elvis Presley Enterprises released a new version of the film with extra footage of Presley in Karate training sessions.
Elvis on Tour is a Golden Globe Award-winning American musical-documentary motion picture released by MGM in 1972. It was the thirty-third and final motion picture to star Elvis Presley before Presley’s death in 1977.
A follow-up to the 1970 release Elvis: That’s the Way it Is, another musical-documentary, this film followed Presley as he embarked on a 15-city tour of the United States in April 1972. The working title of the film was Standing Room Only and a soundtrack album was planned with this title, but never released. (Elvis on Tour was the only Elvis Presley film not accompanied by some form of official soundtrack release, either in the form of a full album or a single). Elvis on Tour also contains vintage footage of Elvis’ famous 1956 appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show
According to the book Elvis: His Life from A to Z by Fred L. Worth and Steve Tamerius, among those working on this film were Martin Scorsese, who supervised montage sequences, and David Draper a former Mr. Universe. The film was directed by Pierre Adidge and Robert Abel.
Elvis on Tour won the 1972 Golden Globe Award for Best Documentary, making it the only Elvis film to win an award of any kind. Reportedly, Elvis was watching TV at Graceland the night of the awards show. When he found out he won, he ran around the house shouting “Son of a bitch, we won the Golden Globe!”.
The 1997 VHS reissue was negatively criticized because of the lack of the multi-screen images that were present on all previously released VHS copies of the film. As of 2009 it is also the only Presley film that has not been released on DVD, but it is available for download on iTunes.
Although Presley would be offered numerous films over the next few years, including, famously, the 1976 remake of A Star Is Born, he would make no more films in his lifetime. Footage from Elvis on Tour would later be reused in the theatrical documentary This is Elvis in the early 1980s.
Elvis: That’s the Way It Is is a documentary movie directed by Denis Sanders about Elvis Presley that was released on November 11, 1970. The film documents Elvis’ Summer Festival in Las Vegas during August 1970. It was his first non-dramatic film since the beginning his movie career in 1956, and the film gives us a clear view of Presley’s return to live performances after years of making movies. The original concept as devised by Colonel Tom Parker was in view of Elvis’s triumphant return to live performances was a closed circuit television presentation of one show but the concept developed into this movie. Although the lion’s share of the footage takes place onstage at the International Hotel in Las Vegas, there are several other parts to the film:
* The opening credits sequence contains footage of Elvis’ show at Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix on September 9, 1970. This was the first show of Elvis’ first tour in 13 years.
* Elvis and his band are seen rehearsing for the Las Vegas engagement at MGM Studios in Culver City, California. There are scenes of Elvis running through such tunes as “I Just Can’t Help Believing”, “What’d I Say”, “Little Sister”, “Words”, “That’s All Right Mama”, and “The Next Step Is Love.” The rehearsal sequences were filmed during late July 1970.
* Later rehearsals show Elvis in Las Vegas with his back-up vocalists The Sweet Inspirations, Millie Kirkham and The Imperials Quartet, preparing songs such as “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me” and “Bridge Over Troubled Water”.
* There is also a session of rehearsals that takes place in the Showroom Internationale of the International Hotel in Las Vegas. Together, Elvis and the entire group run through songs from “Mary In the Morning” to “Polk Salad Annie”. These rehearsals took place on August 7, 1970.
* Footage of an Elvis Appreciation Society convention in Luxembourg was shot on September 5, 1970. Radio Luxembourg DJs Tony Prince and Peter Aldersley are on hand to lead the festivities. A tandem bicycle owned by Elvis is raffled off to a lucky fan in the audience. Additionally, various musicians are seen performing their own versions of Elvis’ songs.
Change of Habit is a 1969 musical drama film starring Elvis Presley and Mary Tyler Moore. It was Presley’s final acting role; his remaining two film appearances were concert documentaries. It was also Tyler Moore’s fourth and final film under her brief Universal Pictures contract; she wouldn’t appear in another theatrical movie until Ordinary People in 1980.
Dr. John Carpenter is a physician in a ghetto clinic who falls for a co-worker, Michelle Gallagher, unaware that she is a nun.
Elvis stars as a professional man for the first time in his career. Dr. Carpenter heads a ghetto clinic in a major metropolis. He is surprised to be offered assistance by three women. Unknown to him, the three are nuns in street clothing who want to aid the community but are afraid the local residents might be reluctant to seek help if their true identities were known.
Carpenter falls in love with Sister Michelle Gallagher, played by wholesome Mary Tyler Moore, but Sister Michelle’s true vocation remains unknown to Dr. Carpenter. She also has feelings for the doctor but is reluctant to leave the order. The film concludes with Sister Michelle entering a church to pray for guidance to make her choice.
As Dr. John Carpenter, Elvis stars as a professional man for the first time in his career. Dr. John Carpenter heads a clinic in a ghetto area of a major metropolis. He is surprised to be offered assistance by three women. Unknown to him, the three are nuns in street clothing who want to aid the community but are afraid the local residents might be reluctant to seek help if their true identities were known.
Carpenter falls in love with Sister Michelle Gallagher, played by wholesome Mary Tyler Moore, but Sister Michelle’s true vocation remains unknown to Dr. Carpenter. Sister Michelle also has feelings for the doctor, but she is reluctant to leave the order.
The film concludes with Sister Michelle entering a church to pray for guidance to make her choice – the church or Dr. Carpenter.
The Trouble with Girls (full title The Trouble with Girls (and How to Get Into It)) is a 1969 comedy film starring Elvis Presley. It was the only Elvis movie to have a subtitle in its name and is an odd mixture of music, comedy, and melodrama. The Trouble with Girls is unique for an Elvis Presley picture because Elvis is on screen for less than half the film.
The film takes place in a small Iowa town in 1927. A traveling chautauqua company arrives in the town, but internal squabbles create friction amidst the troupe. The new manager, Walter Hale (Elvis Presley), is trying to prevent Charlene, the troupe’s “Story Lady” (Marlyn Mason), from recruiting the performers to form a union.
Meanwhile, the town has a scandal following the murder of the local pharmacist Wilby (Dabney Coleman). Although a shady gambler is arrested, Walter realizes that the real killer is Nita (Sheree North), one of Wilby’s employees. Walter successfully gets Nita to confess during a chautauqua performance, where she makes public the sexual harassment that Wilby directed at her. Nita’s self-defense plea frees the wrongly jailed man, but Charlene is outraged that Walter used the crime to financially enrich the chautauqua.
In the end, Walter convinces Charlene of his ethics and morality, and she remains with the company.
‘The Trouble With Girls (And How To Get Into It)’ is a 1969 film starring Elvis Presley. It was the only Elvis movie to have a subtitle in its name. ‘The Trouble With Girls‘ is an odd mixture of music, comedy, and melodrama, The Trouble with Girls is unique for an Elvis Presley picture because Elvis is only on screen for about a third of the film. Elvis stars as Walter Hale, the manager of a traveling chautauqua. A chautauqua is a school that provides education combined with entertainment. Walter is beset with a number of problems as his show arrives in town for one week.
He worries that he might have to give the mayor’s untalented daughter the lead in the children’s pageant to stay in the mayor’s good graces. He must contend with his assistant, played by Marlyn Mason, who is constantly harping about the union rights of his employees. Finally, someone murders the local druggist, and a member of the chautauqua is accused. These loose ends are tied together during the final show, when Walter cannily reveals the killer’s identity and wins the heart of his pretty assistant.
Charro! is a 1969 Western film starring Elvis Presley. It was among his final films, and his only role that didn’t feature the star singing on-screen (Flaming Star was not a musical, but he did sing one song onscreen), but Elvis does do the off-screen singing of the main title theme. Presley also sported a stubble beard, in contrast to being clean-shaven in all his other films. Co-starring with Elvis were Ina Balin and Victor French. It was also the only Elvis film released to theaters by National General Pictures. The film made a profit, but wasn’t a runaway success, and remains one of Presley’s least-seen films despite it being among his best in terms of a ‘straight’ (non-musical) acting performance.
Charro! was released to DVD for the first time in the summer of 2007. It marked the very first time that an uncut release of the film was presented to the retail market, and in its’ original wide-screen letterbox format. This DVD version underwent an extensive remastering process to restore the original 35mm filmprint quality. Previous VHS issues of the film, notably the 1990 Warner Home Video release, were of an inferior standard, mainly due to poor picture quality and minor edits throughout the movie. An oddity concerning Charro! is the film’s classification. Despite containing violence and partial nudity, it was released with an MPAA G rating, even though other Presley films from the 1968-69 period carry PG ratings. These latter releases are somewhat less ‘adult’ than Charro!.
Elvis Presley plays Jess Wade, a former member of a gang lead by Vince Hackett (Victor French). Hackett’s band steals a national treasure, a gold-plated Mexican cannon used by emperor Maximillian against popular leader Benito Juárez valued at $100,000 American dollars. The Mexican army offers a $10,000 reward, giving a description of one of the supposed gang members that could be recognized by his beard and a scar on his neck.
Jess returns to a small town he used to pass by. At a saloon he finds Tracey Winters (Ina Balin), a former love. Hackett decides to incriminate him as the robber because Jess meets most of the wanted poster’s descriptions. They find him in the saloon and take him to the desert, where Hackett uses a hot brand to mark Jess’s neck and complete the description.
With the Mexican army looking for the robber and the U.S Cavalry collaborating with them, Jess travels back to town. He visits the sheriff, Dan Ramsey, to make claim his innocence.
Arriving at the saloon is Billy Roy Hackett, Vince’s brother. He starts a rumble with Jess that ends up with the sheriff being shot by Billy Roy while trying to intervene. Billy Roy is incarcerated, with the threat of being hanged if the sheriff dies. Ramsey requests that Jess watch the jail.
Vince gives an ultimatum, demanding Jess set Billy Roy free or else he will begin firing on the town with a cannon. Vince’s gang starts by hitting Dan Ramsey’s house, causing his death after the roof falls over him.
Ramsey’s widow and the rest of the town people ask Jess to release Billy Roy. Jess locks the office and takes Billy Roy out by the back door as the mayor and citizens enter by the front. He goes to a hill where the cannon is located and begins a shootout against the gang, killing most of the Vince’s men.
Jess leaves Billy Roy tied up against a tree. The cannon rolls downhill, killing Billy Roy. Jess then returns the cannon to Mexico. He also takes Vince, to be judged.
Elvis, starring Elvis Presley, was the title of a 1968 United States television special. Sponsored by The Singer Sewing Machine Company, it aired on December 3, 1968 on the NBC television network. The special is commonly referred to as the ’68 Comeback Special, because of subsequent developments in Presley’s career, but the soundtrack album was released simply as NBC-TV Special. It was directed by Steve Binder and produced by Binder and Bones Howe.
Presley’s manager, Colonel Tom Parker, wanted the show, which was scheduled as a Christmas season broadcast, to be little more than Presley singing Christmas carols. He believed the special could simply be a TV-version of the Christmas radio show Presley had contributed to the year before. Binder argued that the special was an opportunity to re-establish the singer’s reputation after years of formulaic movies and recordings of variable quality. He and Howe hired writers to script a show with specific themes: they envisaged large set designs, dance sequences and big productions of Presley’s hits. However, Binder was open to any variations on this that would showcase the singer’s talent, and Presley was apparently very happy to go along with this flexible approach. Binder has also said that as the special production progressed, and there was no sign of any Christmas material, Parker constantly moaned to Binder: “Where’s my Christmas music?”
The special eventually included an extravagant musical sequence featuring Gospel-style numbers, a semi-autobiographical “mini-movie” centered around the song “Guitar Man” and other re-recordings given lavish set designs. Network censors wanted to remove one segment set in a bordello which featured the song “Let Yourself Go,” but it was aired. The special ends with Presley appealing for world peace with the song “If I Can Dream.”
Studio recordings for these segments were made at Western Recorders in Hollywood, California between June 20 and 23 and featured an orchestra and the The Blossoms as background vocalists: Fanita James, Jean King and Darlene Love. Other musicians included drummer Hal Blaine, pianist Don Randi, guitarist Tommy Tedesco and harmonica player Tommy Morgan.
Live A Little, Love A Little is a 1968 musical comedy starring Elvis Presley. It was directed by Norman Taurog, who had directed several previous Presley vehicles; this was his final film. It had a more mature tone than other Presley musicals, with coarse language, drug references, and an implied sexual encounter. The film introduced the song “A Little Less Conversation”; a later re-recording of it would form the basis of a remix that returned Presley to the American music sales charts in the early 2000s.
In Live A Little, Love A Little, Elvis Presley plays Greg Nolan, a newspaper photographer who lives a fun and carefree life. That is, until he meets a headcase named Bernice, who assumes different names and personalities whenever the mood hits her. She manages to lose his job and apartment after drugging him. However, she manages to find him another apartment, and he wants to pay her back. So he gets two photographer jobs: one at a Playboy-like magazine and the other at a very conservative magazine. He now has to manage balancing the two jobs along with dealing with Bernice and her odd ways.
Bernice manages to get him a new apartment, but it is so expensive that he has to take on two full-time jobs to make the payments.
As Greg hustles back and forth between the two photography jobs (one for a stuffy conservative publisher, and the other for a ‘girlie’ magazine) he still finds time to romance beautiful Celeste Yarnall and belt out two songs; Almost in Love and Wonderful World.
Speedway is a 1968 action film musical film starring Elvis Presley as a racecar driver and Nancy Sinatra as his love interest.
Scenes were shot at the Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina. The film features guest appearances by several of the top stock-car — better known now as NASCAR — drivers of the day.
This would be the final “formula” musical film of Presley’s career. His later films would be less musical and more adult in tone.
Although the film was completed in the early summer of 1967, it was not released in theatres until the spring of 1968. It was Elvis’s last real box-office hit.
Speedway is 1968 MGM car-racing film starring Elvis Presley. Elvis Presley, Nancy Sinatra and Bill Bixby costar in a musical comedy that features Elvis as stock-car champion Steve Grayson, a generous soul who is always sharing his winnings with people in need.
Partly due to his generosity and partly because of his manager’s love of gambling, Steve finds himself owing the government back taxes.
Sinatra costars as IRS agent Susan Jacks, while Bixby plays his bumbling manager, Kenny Donford. Susan attempts to put Steve on a budget that will allow him to pay off the government in installments. Steve tries to soften the all-business agent with romance and music, but she thinks him frivolous and irresponsible. But her tune changes when she realizes that Steve’s latest charity case is a former stock-car driver with five daughters who has fallen on hard times. Eventually Susan is able to keep Steve on a budget, while Steve is able to keep Susan on his arm.
In Stay Away, Joe, Elvis Presley stars as rodeo rider Joe Lightcloud, a Navajo whose family still lives on the reservation. Joe persuades his congressman to give him 20 heifers and a prize bull so he and his father, played by Burgess Meredith, can prove that the Navajos can successfully raise cattle on the reservation. If their experiment is successful, then the government will help all the Navajo people. But Joe’s buddy accidentally barbecues the prize bull, while Joe sells the heifers to buy plumbing and other home improvements for his stepmother, portrayed by Katy Jurado. Former leading lady Joan Blondell appears as tavern owner Glenda Callahan, whose daughter, played by Quentin Dean, can’t seem to stay away from the girl-chasing Joe.
Elvis Presley played a Native American for the second time in his career in the musical comedy Stay Away, Joe, based on a best-selling book by Dan Cushman. This time, however, instead of being a relevant commentary on prejudice – as was the superior Flaming Star – the film stereotypes American Indians as shiftless and irresponsible.
Elvis stars as rodeo rider Joe Lightcloud, a Navajo whose family still lives on the reservation. Joe persuades his congressman to give him 20 heifers and a prize bull so he and his father, played by Burgess Meredith, can prove that the Navajos can successfully raise cattle on the reservation. If their experiment is successful, then the government will help all the Navajo people. But Joe’s buddy accidentally barbecues the prize bull, while Joe sells the heifers to buy plumbing and other home improvements for his stepmother, portrayed by Katy Jurado. Former leading lady Joan Blondell appears as tavern owner Glenda Callahan, whose daughter, played by Quentin Dean, can’t seem to stay away from the girl-chasing Joe.
Clambake is a 1967 musical film starring Elvis Presley and Shelley Fabares.
Scott Heyward is the son of a rich oilman. He decides to leave so he can discover life for himself. He runs into Tom Wilson, a water-skiing instructor who has no luck with the women. Tom offers to switch places with Scott so they can have a taste of what life is like in each other’s shoes. Scott goes to work teaching water skiing for a Miami hotel, while Tom has fun pretending he is rich. Scott is taken with Dianne Carter, who is searching for a rich guy to snag. She decides to make a play for James J. Jamison III, owner of a pajama company and a boat-racing champion. Scott agrees to help her land Jamison, but in the process falls for her.
Double Trouble is a 1967 musical film starring Elvis Presley.
Despite being set in London and Europe, Elvis filmed it entirely in Hollywood.
Co star Norman Rossington holds a unique place in music/ film history as being the only actor to have appeared with Elvis and The Beatles (A Hard Day’s Night).
Priscilla Presley later claimed that when Elvis was told he had to sing Old MacDonald he screamed, “It’s come to this?”. He was eased when told that the song would not be released on the soundtrack album – It was. Like most of his films from the 1965-1967 period, Presley appears bored and tired.
Taking advantage of the latest craze for discotheque dancing and the popularity of spy movies during the mid-1960s, the producers of Double Trouble combined the two fads to form the basic plot of this mediocre Elvis Presley musical. Elvis walks through the role of Guy Lambert, a pop singer who becomes involved with intrigue while playing the discotheque scene in London and Antwerp. Guy’s problems begin when he meets heiress Jill Conway, played by young Annette Day, who has a crush on the singer — much to the chagrin of her guardian. Jill leads Guy through numerous adventures involving spies, counterspies, jewel thieves, and harebrained detectives. The latter, played by the zany Wiere Brothers, provide the film’s comic relief. Eventually, Jill succeeds in casting her spell over Guy, and the two marry. Based on a novel by Mark Brandel, the working title was ‘You’re Killing Me’ and the idea was to give the movie the same feel as that of the zany comedic Beatles films ‘Hard Days Night’ and ‘Help’. Although the movie is set in Europe, it was filmed in Hollywood.
Easy Come, Easy Go is a 1967 musical film starring Elvis Presley.
In Easy Come, Easy Go, his last film for Hal Wallis, Elvis Presley stars as Navy frogman Ted Jackson, who is about to be discharged from the service. On one of his last dives, Ted discovers a treasure chest on a sunken ship. Captain Jack, a local expert on nautical lore, is unable to tell Ted the exact treasure or cargo of the ship. But Captain Jack does reveal the name of the only descendant of the ship’s captain. Ted tracks down this descendant — a vivacious young woman named Jo Symington, played by Dodie Marshall. Jo believes the chest contains pieces-of-eight. She agrees to help Ted if the money is given to the community arts center. Their attempts to retrieve the treasure are impeded by scoundrels Gil Carey and Dina Bishop.
Carey and Bishop steal Ted’s equipment and kidnap Captain Jack, but Ted tracks them down and rescues Jack. When Ted opens the chest, he discovers that the coins are copper, not gold. Ted donates the money for a down payment on a new arts center, winning Jo in the process.
The story was written by Allan Weiss, who had written the scripts for five other Elvis movies. This film centered around Elvis’ character Ted Jackson, a former Navy diver who helps a free-spirited woman find a lost sunken treasure. Elvis, as marine-diver this time, searches for a treasure together with dancer Joe Symington (Dodie Marshall). But his final treasure is the dancer.
Spinout is a 1966 musical film and comedy starring Elvis Presley as the lead singer of a band and part-time race car driver.
Elvis Presley stars as dashing Mike McCoy in Spinout. Mike fronts a popular singing group, and he is also the defending champion on the racing circuit.
Fast cars are not nearly as dangerous for Mike as beautiful women, all of whom want to race him down the aisle to marriage. Les, played by perky Deborah Walley, works as the drummer in Mike’s band, and she is extremely jealous of his attention toward other women. Also vying for Mike’s affection is sophisticated Cynthia Foxhugh, played by Shelley Fabares, who is the daughter of wealthy auto magnate Howard Foxhugh. Finally, representing the intellectual type is writer Diana St. Clair, played by Diane McBain, who falls in love with Mike while finishing her book The Perfect American Male.
In an ending that seems to mock Elvis films in general, Mike does not end up marrying any of these women. Instead, he succeeds in wedding them to friends and associates, while he remains free to begin a new romance.
Paradise, Hawaiian Style is a 1966 music comedy film starring Elvis Presley. It was the third and final motion picture that Presley filmed in Hawaii.
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 negotiations with local women may cost Rick the business and Danny his home.
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.
Frankie and Johnny is a 1966 musical starring Elvis Presley as a riverboat gambler. The role of “Frankie” was played by Donna Douglas, star of the hit television series, The Beverly Hillbillies. Elvis gambles with his luck as he goes for a lucky redhead, Nellie Bly, instead of his beautiful blonde, Frankie.
Johnny and girlfriend Frankie are singers on a Mississippi riverboat, which also has a casino. Johnny is a gambler who is down on his luck and in debt.
Johnny and his friend Cully, a musician and composer, visit a gypsy camp to get his fortune told. A lady reads tea leaves and tells Johnny that he will soon meet a red-haired woman who will bring him luck.
Back on the boat, Johnny and Cully meet Nellie Bly, their boss Clint Braden’s on-again, off-again girlfriend. Nellie catches Braden seducing another singer, Mitzi. Since she has red hair, Johnny persuades Nellie to touch his chips for luck. After he wins, Johnny is convinced that the gypsy must be correct.
Frankie finds out and becomes jealous, as is Johnny’s boss. In a bit of musical theatre, Frankie shoots Johnny for dancing with Nellie Bly, while singing Cully’s new song. A Broadway recruiter sees the riverboat show and buys the rights to this new song, suggesting that Frankie and Johnny should work together in New York.
Landing in New Orleans, the musical cast and riverboat crew attend a masked ball. Frankie, Nellie and Mitzi all rent the same Madame Pompadour costume.
Johnny wants the luck of redhead Nellie to win more money, contrary to Frankie’s expressed wishes. Being masked and in costume, Frankie and Nellie switch places. Johnny wins ten thousand dollars at a roulette wheel, but when he kisses the woman he believes to be Nellie, he discovers the switch. Frankie is furious. She throws the ten thousand dollars out the window.
Blackie, who works for the boss, hears Braden drunkenly complain about how he has lost Nellie, so Blackie switches the blank in Frankie’s stage gun for a real bullet. The boss tries to prevent the impending disaster, but arrives at the theatre too late. Frankie has shot Johnny for real. Frankie forgives his gambling as he lies on stage. Johnny then stands up, apparently unhurt. Johnny was saved because he was wearing a lucky medallion that Frankie had given him, which the bullet struck.
Harum Scarum, released in Europe as Harem Holiday, is a 1965 musical film and comedy starring Elvis Presley. The film is regarded by many Elvis fans as one of his worst, despite being the only film he received a million dollar salary for appearing in. Some of the film was based on Rudolph Valentino’s The Sheik released in 1921.
Produced on a very low budget by Sam Katzman, Harum Scarum features Elvis Presley as matinee idol Johnny Tyronne. A takeoff on Elvis himself, Johnny is a famous movie and recording star who makes the women swoon and the men jealous. On a personal appearance tour in Lunarkand — a fictional country somewhere in the Middle East — Johnny is kidnapped by a gang of assassins and suddenly thrust into a plot to kill King Toranshah.
Johnny escapes and falls in with a band of pickpockets and rogues, all the while rescuing damsels in distress and singing a variety of pop-styled tunes. Johnny falls in love with a beautiful handmaiden, played by Mary Ann Mobley; unbeknownst to him, she is really Princess Shalimar, daughter of King Toranshah. Johnny thwarts the assassination attempt on the king, wins the heart of Princess Shalimar, and returns to America with a new act.
Tickle Me is a 1965 western comedy-musical starring Elvis Presley. It is also the only Elvis film released by Allied Artists Pictures. It is said to have singlehandedly saved the Allied Artists studio from financial despair.
The film was first released onto the home video market in the VHS format in the early ’80s in a limited version from Allied Artists Home Video. It was issued again by CBS/Fox video in 1985, 1987 and 1992. Its final VHS issue was from Warner Home Video in 1997. In the summer of 2007, the film was released for the first time on DVD, in the wide-screen letterbox format.
Elvis stars as Lonnie Beale, a singing rodeo cowboy who moonlights as a handyman at a beauty spa. Though several women try to catch the attention of Lonnie, including spa owner Vera Radford, played by Julie Adams, the rodeo rider falls for Pam Merritt. Pam, portrayed by Jocelyn Lane, is visiting the spa to investigate a nearby ghost town where her grandfather has supposedly hidden a cache of gold.
Pam enlists the help of Lonnie and his sidekick Stanley, played by Jack Mullaney, to recover the treasure. Unscrupulous locals, also looking for the gold, try to frighten the hapless trio into leaving the territory, but the three eventually prevail. Lonnie and Pam marry at the end, marking one of the few times that one of Elvis’s characters actually weds on-screen.
Girl Happy is a 1965 musical romantic comedy in the beach party film style, starring Elvis Presley.
Rusty Wells and his band are just about ready to leave Chicago for their annual spring break trip to Fort Lauderdale. That is, until Big Frank extends their stay at his club. Big Frank’s daughter decides to go to Lauderdale with her friends for spring break, so he gets Rusty and his band to look after her and to make sure she stays out of trouble. While he attempts that, Rusty has to contend with a good-time girl, Deena, who has no patience for guys who stand her up or keep her waiting.
Elvis stars as struggling pop singer Rusty Wells, whose musical combo works for a tough Chicago nightclub owner known as Big Frank.
Big Frank’s big weakness is his only daughter Valerie, who insists on spending her Easter vacation in sunny, sinful Ft. Lauderdale.
Frank sends Rusty and his friends to Florida to keep an eye on Valerie without her knowing about it.
Rusty attempts to pursue a few college coeds of his own, but he is constantly interrupted by the need to rescue Valerie from various Ft. Lauderdale loverboys. Naturally, Valerie, played by Shelley Fabares in her first Elvis Presley musical, falls in love with the smooth-talking Rusty.
Roustabout (1964) is a Paramount Pictures musical feature film starring Elvis Presley as a singer who takes a job working with a struggling carnival. The film was produced by Hal Wallis and directed by John Rich from a screenplay by Anthony Lawrence and Allan Weiss. Roustabout was panned by Variety but was nominated for a Writers Guild of America award. The film’s spinoff album was one of Presley’s most successful.
Musician Charlie Rogers (Elvis Presley) is fired from a gig at a teahouse after brawling with a few rowdy college boys in the parking lot. After a night in jail, Charlie hits the road on his Honda 305 Superhawk motorcycle. He spots pretty Cathy Lean (Joan Freeman) driving along with her father Joe (Leif Erickson) and their employer, Maggie Morgan (Barbara Stanwyck). When Charlie tries to become friendly with Cathy, Joe forces him off the road and the bike is wrecked.
Maggie offers him a place to stay and a job with her struggling traveling carnival while the bike is being repaired. Charlie becomes a carnie. Maggie recognizes his musical talents and promotes him to feature attraction; his act soon draws large crowds. Off stage, Charlie romances Cathy, which does not endear him to Joe. After the two men repeatedly clash and Charlie is accused of stealing a customer’s lost wallet, Charlie leaves to star in the much better financed show of rival carnival producer Harry Carver (Pat Buttram).
Once again, he is a great success. However, when Charlie learns that Maggie is facing bankruptcy, he returns to her carnival. In the musical finale, he is happily reunited with Cathy.
Viva Las Vegas (1964) is an American romantic musical motion picture co-starring Elvis Presley and Ann-Margret.
The movie is regarded by fans as one of Presley’s best and is noted for the on-screen chemistry between Presley and Ann-Margret, plus 10 musical numbers.
Lucky Jackson (Elvis Presley) goes to Las Vegas, Nevada to participate in the city’s first annual Grand Prix. However, his race car is in need of a new engine in order to compete. Jackson raises the money but mislays it when distracted by a local swimming instructor, Rusty Martin (Ann-Margret). Soon, Jackson’s main competition arrives in the form of Count Elmo Mancini (Cesare Danova), who attempts to steal both the race and Rusty.
Lucky, a race-car driver whose car desperately needs a new engine, arrives in Las Vegas for the Vegas Grand Prix. Sporting the impossibly comic-book perfect names Lucky Jackson and Rusty Martin, the two stars forge a romance against the backdrop of the Vegas Grand Prix, which Elvis, naturally intends on winning. Lucky Jordan arrives in Las Vegas for the big Grand Prix race, but has engine trouble. He also falls in love at first sight, with a girl, Rusty Martin. Not knowing her name or address and assuming she is one of the showgirls in Las Vegas, Lucky and his racing rival, Count Elmo Mancini, search various nightclubs for the girl.
Ann-Margret was Elvis Presley’s leading lady, playing Rusty Martin to his Lucky Jackson in the movie. They had a brief romance and then remained friends throughout Elvis’ life. The Swedish born singer/actress was raised in Illinois and was discovered by George Burns. She had appeared in ‘Pocketful of Miracles’, State Fair’, and the Elvis-inspired musical ‘Bye, Bye Birdie’ prior to being cast in ‘Viva Las Vegas‘. She went on to receive numerous accolades including ten Golden Globe nominations with five wins and five Emmy Award nominations. She also received two Academy Award nominations, one for her work in ‘Carnal Knowledge’ and the other for ‘Tommy’.
Kissin’ Cousins is a 1964 musical film starring Elvis Presley in two roles, one as an American soldier, the other his lookalike hillbilly cousin.
Elvis’ fourteenth film was 1964’s Kissin’ Cousins. In this film Elvis played the dual role of look-alike cousins: Josh Morgan, a dark-haired air force officer, and Jodie Tatum, a blond mountain man. Elvis Presley plays a dual role in Kissin’ Cousins, an extremely low-budget musical comedy set in the hills of Tennessee but mostly shot on Hollywood sets. As Air Force officer Josh Morgan, a dark-haired Elvis plays a responsible military man; as blond-haired Jodie Tatum, he appears as a girl-chasin’, guntotin’ mountain Romeo. Josh is assigned the task of persuading the Tatums, his distant relatives on his mother’s side, to sell their land for use as a missile site.
When he visits the Tatums, Josh runs into his blond-haired double as well as two beautiful country cousins, Azalea and Selena. The two girls, played by Yvonne Craig and Pam Austin respectively, both vie for Josh’s affections. Josh eventually chooses Azalea but not before pairing off Selena with his best friend. In the meantime, Jodie takes up with Midge, a beautiful but fiery WAG played by Cynthia Pepper. Josh persuades Pappy Tatum to sell one side of his mountain to the government as long as the military does not interfere with Pappy’s moonshining on the other side.
Fun in Acapulco is a 1963 American motion picture starring Elvis Presley and Ursula Andress.
While some exterior scenes were shot in Acapulco, Mexico, Elvis’s scenes were shot in Hollywood. He never went to Acapulco in his lifetime.
Mike works on a boat in Acapulco. When the bratty daughter of the boat owner gets him fired, Mike must find new work. A little boy named Raoul helps him get a job as a lifeguard and singer at a local hotel. Clashes abound when Mike runs into a rival lifeguard, who is the champion diver of Mexico. He is angry at Mike for taking some of his hours, and for stealing his woman.
In Fun in Acapulco, Elvis Presley stars as Mike Windgren, another version of his musical comedy persona: a former circus performer trying to escape his past. Mike’s circus career ended when he caused his partner to be seriously injured during their trapeze act. Traumatized by the accident, Mike has developed a fear of heights. At the beginning of the film, he finds himself in Acapulco, where he hires on as lifeguard at a resort hotel. In the evenings, he entertains the guests by singing.
Mike becomes involved with two exotic women – hotel social director Marguerita Dauphin, played by Ursula Andress, and lady bullfighter Dolores Gomez, played by Elsa Cardenas. Mike soon finds himself in competition with another hotel lifeguard, who every night performs a death-defying jump off the ocean cliffs near the hotel. This rival uncovers Mike’s past and tricks him into jumping off the cliffs. Ultimately, Mike’s decision to jump helps him overcome his fears. He decides to spend his life with Marguerita.
In much of the publicity generated during Elvis Presley’s Hollywood movie career, the press noted that the singer performed many of his own stunts. In Fun in Acapulco, Elvis chose to participate in a few stunts that the producers considered risky. In the opening scene, Elvis Presley’s character is performing as an aerialist in a circus. The scene called for the character to swing from a high trapeze without a net, 20 feet above the circus floor, and accidentally miss his partner, who plummets to the floor. Every precaution was taken to provide safeguards for Elvis out of camera range, but producer Hal Wallis was still nervous because his star insisted on doing the stunt himself.
As a precaution, the studio scheduled the stunt to be performed during the last days of the movie’s production, when all of Elvis’ other scenes had already been filmed. Elvis, who was in top physical condition, performed the stunt without incident. One stunt that Elvis did not do for the movie, was the thrilling 136-foot dive off the cliffs at La Quebrada.
It Happened at the World's Fair is a 1963 musical film starring Elvis Presley as a cropdusting pilot.
The motion picture was filmed in Seattle, Washington, site of the Century 21 Exposition, the 1962 World’s Fair. The governor of Washington at the time, Albert Rosellini, suggested the setting to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer executives.
The Seattle Center, including the Seattle Center Monorail and the Space Needle, serve as backdrops for several scenes in the film. Security officers pursue Presley and the girl through the fountains at what is now the Pacific Science Center. The truck drives by the largest wooden trestle in the Pacific Northwest, the Wilburton Trestle, which is located in Bellevue.
Mike and Danny fly a cropduster, but because of Danny’s gambling debts, a local sheriff takes custody of it. Trying to earn money, they hitch-hike to the World’s Fair in Seattle. While Danny tries to earn money playing poker, Mike takes care of a small girl, Sue-Lin, whose uncle has disappeared. Being a ladies’ man, he also finds the time to court a young nurse, Diane.
It Happened at the World's Fair, a musical comedy filmed against the backdrop of the 1963 Seattle World’s Fair, Elvis Presley’s character, Mike Edwards, and partner Danny Burke, portrayed by Gary Lockwood, hitchhike to Seattle to find work.
The two desperately need money to reclaim their airplane, on which the sheriff has attached a lien. They hitch a ride with a Chinese farmer and his seven-year-old niece, Sue-Lin, played by talented Vicky Tiu.
When business unexpectedly occupies the uncle, Mike takes Sue-Lin on a tour of the World’s Fair, where he meets and falls for nurse Diane Warren, portrayed by Joan O’Brien. When Sue-Lin’s uncle fails to return, Mike takes responsibility for the little girl. Mike’s situation goes from bad to worse when Child Welfare takes Sue-Lin away and Danny inadvertently becomes involved with a smuggling operation. Mike, Danny, and law officials eventually subdue the smugglers. The film ends happily when Sue-Lin finds her uncle and Mike and Diane find each other.
Girls! Girls! Girls! is a 1962 musical comedy film starring Elvis Presley as a penniless fisherman who loves his life on the sea and dreams of owning his own boat.
The film was shot on location in Hawaii.
Elvis plays Ross Carpenter, a fishing guide/sailor who loves his life out on the sea. When he finds out his boss is retiring to Arizona, he has to find a way to buy the Westwind, a boat that he and his father built. He is also caught between two women: insensitive club singer Robin and sweet Laurel.
With the huge success of Blue Hawaii, producer Hal Wallis had decided to promote Elvis as an entertainer rather than the rebel actor, reminiscent of James Dean, as Elvis had been seen in King Creole. Thus another script was set in scenic Hawaii. The working titles for ‘Girls! Girls! Girls!’ had been ‘A Girl In Every Port’, ‘Welcome Aboard’, ‘Jambalaya’, and ‘Gumbo Ya-Ya’,which is said to be a Creole expression for ‘everybody talks at once’.
Ross Carpenter, Elvis Presley’s character in Girls! Girls! Girls! epitomizes the type of role Elvis is most associated with – the handsome, carefree bachelor with a colorful occupation. Ross works as a charter boat pilot who moonlights as a nightclub singer to buy a sailboat that once belonged to his father. Wealthy Laurel Dodge, played by Laurel Goodwin, falls hard for Ross and secretly buys the sailboat for him.
When Ross discovers that Laurel has purchased the boat, his pride is damaged, and he sails off by himself. Laurel quickly follows in a boat piloted by wealthy Wesley Johnson, portrayed by Jeremy Slate, who turns out to be a wolf in tailored clothing. Ross rescues Laurel from Wesley’s clutches, realizing that he loves her. Ross asks Laurel to sell the sailboat so that he can feel free to marry her and build a new boat.
Kid Galahad is a 1962 musical film starring Elvis Presley as a boxer. The film was released by United Artists.
The movie was filmed on location in Idyllwild, California and is noted for having a strong supporting cast. Most critics rate it as one of Presley’s best performances.
The film is a remake of the 1937 original version starring Edward G. Robinson, Bette Davis, and Humphrey Bogart. UA had owned the original version at the time of the remake’s release.
Willy Grogan is a small-time boxing promoter, based in the Catskills resort region of New York. He has debts to pay and often pays too little attention to the woman who loves him, Dolly.
Into their midst comes Walter, a young man recently discharged from the Army who loves the peaceful setting almost as much as he loves working on old cars. Walter’s simple goal is to go into business as a mechanic at a nearby garage.
One day he intercedes on a lady’s behalf and decks one of Willy’s top fighters. Willy is persuaded to let this “Galahad” take a shot in a legitimate ring. Both men are reluctant, but each has a need for the money. Walter begins working out under the watchful eye of Willy’s top trainer, Lew.
The attractive Rose, younger sister of Willy, shows up unexpectedly. She and Walter almost immediately hit it off. The obsessively protective Willy doesn’t want his kid sister falling for some “grease monkey” mechanic and two-bit boxer. Dolly is envious of the young couple’s romance and resents Willy’s interference.
After several successes in the ring, Walter is readied for his biggest fight. Gangsters want him to take a dive so that Willy can pay off his debts to them, but “Galahad” throws his muscle behind Willy and saves the day. He wins the big fight as well as Willy’s approval, retiring undefeated to his vintage car and his new love.
Follow That Dream is a 1962 musical film starring Elvis Presley. The movie was based on the novel Pioneer, Go Home! by Richard P. Powell. It was filmed in Levy County, Florida. Inglis, Florida and Yankeetown, Florida memorializes his stay in the form of their major highway, Follow That Dream Parkway.
A vagabond family composed of Pop Kwimper (Arthur O’Connell), his son Toby (Elvis Presley), and various “adopted” children, including sixteen-year-old Holly Jones (Anne Helm), is traveling in Florida when Pop drives onto an as-yet-unopened section of highway. When the car runs out of gas, Holly persuades Pop to take up residence on the land next to the road. A chance encounter with an avid fisherman (Herbert Rudley) gives Holly an idea. They build a thriving business catering to sports fishermen.
Trouble soon follows. Toby rejects the advances of amorous social worker Alisha Claypoole (Joanna Moore), who goes to court to have the children taken away in revenge. Also, her government official boyfriend considers the squatters’ home to be an eyesore and wants to evict them. Finally, since the area is outside the jurisdiction of any law enforcement, two gamblers (Jack Kruschen and Simon Oakland) soon set up a casino in a trailer.
In the end, Toby’s earthy wits win over the judge and the family returns to its new land and home. Holly also gets Toby to recognize that she is a grown woman.
Blue Hawaii is a 1961 musical film set in the state of Hawaii and starring Elvis Presley.
Chadwick Gates (Presley) has just gotten out of the Army, and is happy to be back in Hawaii with his surfboard, his beach buddies, and his girlfriend. His mother wants him to go to work at the Great Southern Hawaiian Fruit Company, but Chad is reluctant. So Chad goes to work as a tour guide at his girlfriend’s agency.
Although it is mentioned in the film that Chad’s parents live in Kahala, one of the most expensive and exclusive areas of Honolulu as of 1961, the view from their lanai (porch or terrace) shows Diamond Head as it appears from Waikiki and downtown Honolulu. This is an error because Kahala is located on the other side of Diamond Head from Waikiki.
There were several scenes filmed in and around the famous Waikiki Beach, including the opening driving scenes as well as the office scene across the street from the “International Market”. The hotel scenes where Chad’s clients stayed and where he picked up his tour group were filmed on the property of what is now known as the Hilton Hawaiian Village on Waikiki Beach. This is also where Chad and his girlfriend spent time on the beach.
“Blue Hawaii” was the first of three Elvis movies to be filmed in Hawaii, followed by “Girls! Girls! Girls!” in 1962 and “Paradise, Hawaiian Style” in 1965.
Angela Lansbury, who played the mother of Elvis, was not yet 36 years old in 1961 when the movie was released. Elvis was 26 years old. Lansbury would later comment that her appearance here was one of the worst in her career.
It could be argued that this film set the tone for Presley’s future film career: pretty locations, gorgeous girls, and mediocre songs. Almost all of these musical-comedy films performed well, whereas more “serious” films such as Flaming Star, Wild in the Country and Charro!, did poorly at the box office. Blue Hawaii on the other hand was one of Elvis’ most successful films.
While some of the songs on the soundtrack album can fairly be described as “inferior,” others compare favorably to his non-soundtrack recordings. Presley’s remake of the title song did justice to the Academy Award-winning song, while also introducing it to an audience too young to remember Bing Crosby’s original hit version. His recording of “Can’t Help Falling In Love” compares quite well to his other Top 10 hits, and his recordings of “Rock-A-Hula Baby” and “Ku-u-ipo (Hawaiian Sweetheart)” are notable as well.
The “Blue Hawaii” soundtrack album was on the Billboard Pop Albums chart for 79 weeks, spent 20 weeks at #1 on the Pop Albums chart, and sold more than 2-million copies.
Wild in the Country is a 1961 film drama starring Elvis Presley in which he portrays a troubled young man from a dysfunctional family who pursues a literary career.
The movie starts off with Glenn Tyler (Elvis Presley) getting into a fight with, and badly injuring, his drunken brother. A court releases him on probation into the care of his uncle in a small town, appointing Irene Sperry (Hope Lange) to give him psychological counselling. Marked as a trouble-maker, he is falsely suspected of various misdemeanors including an affair with Irene. Eventually shown to be innocent, he leaves to go to college and become a writer. Filmed on location in the Napa Valley and in Hollywood Studios, although it is set in the Shenandoah Valley, the cast and crew created a public sensation in Napa for over two months of filming. The motel that they stayed at, Casa Beliveau (since torn down) was so mobbed that Elvis had to be moved to the St. Helena home that was being used in the film as Irene Sperry’s (Hope Lange) house where Glenn Tyler (Elvis) went for counseling. Now a top-rated Inn in the Napa Valley and known as The Ink House you can still stay in the room that Elvis slept in for over two months. Other Napa Valley locations figuring prominently in the movie are the downtown main street of the town of Calistoga where Glenn Tyler’s uncle and his cousin (Tuesday Weld) lived, the Silverado Trail between Calistoga and St. Helena, the old movie theater still in operation in downtown St. Helena where the dancehall scenes with Elvis and Tuesday Weld were filmed, and the hills and farmland behind what is now Whitehall Lane Winery just north of the town of Rutherford. At the Ink House you will recognize the house, the backyard where a drunken Glenn Tyler tries to hose down Irene Sperry through the porch window, and the 1885 barn where Irene Sperry drives her DeSoto in to attempt suicide when she is so distraught over her suspected romance with Glenn and the scandal it has caused.
This was Elvis’ last dramatic lead role until Charro! as his next film, Blue Hawaii, was his first big budget musical and was a box office sensation. All his subsequent movies were largely formula musicals which were quite lucrative but never gave him the chance to develop his potential as a serious actor that was very apparent in “Wild in the Country“.
Flaming Star is a 1960 western film starring Elvis Presley, based on the book Flaming Lance (1958) by Clair Huffaker. A dramatic role, it is said that Elvis Presley gave one of his best acting performances as the mixed-blood “Pacer Burton.” The film’s working title was Black Star. Flaming Star was directed by Don Siegel.
Elvis Presley plays Pacer Burton, the son of a Kiowa mother and a Texas rancher father. Along with his half-brother, Clint, the four of them live a typical life on the Texas frontier. Life soon becomes anything but typical when a nearby tribe of Kiowa begin raiding neighboring homesteads. Pacer soon finds himself caught between the two worlds, part of both but belonging to neither.
Pacer (Elvis Presley) and Clint (Steve Forrest) Burton arrives at their parents’ ranch in the early evening. They are welcomed with a surprise party for Clint’s birthday by their parents, Neddy (Dolores Del Rio) and Sam (John Mclntire), and some friends. Among them are Tom (L.Q.Jones) and Will (Douglas Dick) Howard and their sister Dorothy (Anne Benton). The party breaks up early because the Howards have a ten-mile ride. A Kiowa war party, led by Buffalo Horn (Rudolpho Acosta), is waiting for the Howards and everyone is killed and their ranch burned.
A posse of white men led by Dred Pierce (Karl Swenson) arrives at the Burtons’ ranch. They demand a declaration that the Burtons are on their side. They insult Neddy (who is a Kiowa), which results in a shooting incident, after which the posse shoots some of the Burton cattle and scatters the rest. The next day Sam and Clint go to catch the remaining of the cattle, and Pacer stays to guard his mother. Pacer feeds two trappers, who, while he is outside, humiliate Neddy. She hits one with a ladle, and they fly when Pacer tells them that Sam and Clint have returned.
The next morning, Buffalo Horn arrives and asks Pacer to join him. When Pacer refuses, he is told that his ranch will be the next to go. Pacer and Neddy decide to go with Buffalo Horn to the Kiowa camp to try to stop this impending disaster for everyone. Neddy is refused by the Kiowa but Pacer is accepted and allowed to return home before making his decision. He and Neddy are escorted by his boyhood friend, Two Moons (Perry Lopez) . Will Howard has survived the massacre and is wandering the countryside, obsessed with vengeance. He kills Two Moons and badly wounds Neddy. At the ranch Sam takes care of his wife. But when he leaves to water the stock, she follows some deep instinct to go into the mountains in search of her ‘Flaming star’ of death. Sam sees her, and she dies in his arms. Pacer, Clint, Roz and the doctor arrive too late. In his grief, Pacer curses all those who delayed the doctor and decides to join the Kiowa.
Clint, decides to fight the Indians and attacks them in the middle of the night. He kills the chief, but gets badly wounded. In order to save his brother Pacer leaves the Kiowa again and ties his brother on his horse and sends him to the city. He keeps the Indians busy until he’s sure his brother is safe. Clint wakes up in bed and wants to get up to help his brother. He sees Pacer arriving in the city and wants to take care of him. But Pacer, who is still too much Kiowa knows his time has come and rides towards his flaming star.
G.I. Blues is a 1960 Elvis Presley musical motion picture played as a romantic comedy. It was filmed while Presley was fulfilling his military service obligation with the United States Army in West Germany during the height of the Cold War. It was filmed at Paramount’s Hollywood studios and on location in Germany.
U.S. Army Specialist 5 (SP5) Tulsa McLean (Elvis Presley) is a tank crewman with a singing career. Serving with the 3rd Armored “Spearhead” Division in West Germany, McLean dreams of running his own nightclub when he leaves the army, but such dreams don’t come cheap. Tulsa places a bet on his friend Dynamite (Edward Stroll), that he can spend the night with a club dancer named Lili (Juliet Prowse), who is rumored to be hard to get. She turned down one other G.I. operator, Turk (Jeremy Slate). Dynamite and Turk have vied for women before when the two were stationed in Hawaii. When Dynamite gets transferred to Alaska, Tulsa is brought in to take his place. He is not looking forward to it, but in order to keep his money, he must go through with it. McLean uses his Southern charm and calls Lili, “Ma’am.” She at first sees Tulsa as another Occupation Duty GI. Then after a day on the Rhine, Lili begins to fall for McLean. Tulsa’s friend Cookie falls in love, with Lili’s roommate, Tina (Letícia Román) from Italy. In the end, Rick and Marla’s baby son Tiger helps Tulsa win the bet for the outfit and the Lili’s heart.
The 32nd Armored was Elvis Presley’s regiment when he was in the army and again in this. The soundtrack album went to No. 1 on Billboard and spent over two years (111 weeks) on the Billboard charts.
King Creole is an American motion picture directed by Michael Curtiz, released by Paramount Pictures on July 2, 1958. The film stars Elvis Presley, Carolyn Jones, and Walter Matthau. It is Presley’s fourth movie (the third and last filmed in black & white), and adapted from the 1952 novel by Harold Robbins, A Stone for Danny Fisher.
Presley plays Danny Fisher, a young, tough musician making his way in New Orleans. Matthau plays Maxie Fields, a kingpin of organized crime in the city, with Jones as Ronnie, a call girl with limited prospects. With its aspects of film noir, its relatively realistic depiction of the mix of poverty and ambition, and in the unsentimental relationships between the three principal characters, King Creole fits in the mold of films from that era like The Big Knife and Sweet Smell of Success. Most critics cite this as Presley’s best film, and best acting performance.
King Creole was Elvis Presley’s favorite of the films he made. This was also the last Elvis movie filmed in black and white. The director of King Creole was Michael Curtiz, who won the Academy Award in 1943 for Best Director for Casablanca. The movie was loosely based on a 1952 novel A Stone for Danny Fisher by Harold Robbins.
Elvis Presley’s most critically acclaimed performance as an actor was in what is considered (rivaled only by Jailhouse Rock) the best of all the films he starred in – ‘King Creole‘. The story was based upon the Harold Robbins novel ‘A Stone For Danny Fisher’. Generally considered Elvis’ best narrative film, King Creole benefited from the talents of several Hollywood notables. Producer Hal Wallis chose one of his closest associates, the well-respected Michael Curtiz, to direct the film. Best known as the director of Casablanca, Curtiz was an expert craftsman known for his deft handling of a wide variety of film genres during his 30-year career. The tight control over the many twists and subplots of King Creole reflects Curtiz’s expertise.
Other Hollywood veterans who made up the crew included cinematographer Russell Harlan, who photographed the film in a dark, moody lighting style that captured the seedy but seductive atmosphere of the French Quarter.
The level of experience that Wallis, Curtiz, and Harlan brought to the production of King Creole would never be matched in another Presley feature. Elvis’ supporting cast represented some of the finest Hollywood actors of the 1950s. Elvis played the role of Danny. Danny Fisher (Elvis) coming up from the ghetto to seek fame and fortune as a singer in the New Orleans Jazz clubs. Along the way he tangles with gangland boss Maxie Fields (Walter Matthau) and love interest Ronnie played by Carolyn Jones.
Danny is dissatisfied with the financial situation of his poverty-stricken family and blames his father for their problems. He sweeps up at a nightclub to earn extra money — a job that places the impressionable young man in the company of some shady characters. An encounter with Ronnie, a local gangster’s moll portrayed by Carolyn Jones, results in Danny’s expulsion from high school. On the job that night at the club, Danny runs into Ronnie and gangster Maxie Fields, played by Walter Matthau, who insist that Danny sing a song.Danny’s natural talent attracts the attention of the owner of the King Creole night spot, who offers him a job.
Danny is at a crossroads. He is torn between the love of good girl Nellie, played by Dolores Hart, and his attraction to the ill-fated Ronnie. Danny is also torn between his desire for a singing career and the temptation to join a street gang. A violent altercation with the gang’s leader, played by Vic Morrow, leaves Danny with a serious knife wound. After Ronnie nurses him back to health, a jealous Maxie shoots her in cold blood.
Maxie in turn is shot by a gang member Danny had once befriended. Danny returns to singing at the King Creole, reconciled with his family and with Nellie.
Jailhouse Rock is an American motion picture directed by Richard Trofee, released by MGM on October 30, 1957. The film stars Elvis Presley (his third ever film role), Judy Tyler, and Mickey Shaughnessy. Co-star Tyler was killed in an automobile accident a few weeks after the film was completed, and like Loving You before it, Presley was so upset that he refused to ever watch the completed film. In 2004, this film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry as being deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”
Presley plays “Vince Everett,” an ex-convict working in the music industry, and a character analogous to Presley’s then public image. After going to jail for a bar fight he did not start, Everett meets Hunk Houghton in prison, and the two men form a bond. Houghton, a washed-up country singer, teaches Everett to play an old guitar, and to sing a few songs.
Upon his release, Everett lands work at night clubs, but not singing. He meets Peggy Van Alden, a record company talent scout, who allows Everett to record a song. They bring his go to an executive at a small record label, who then records the exact arrangement with one of his established stars. Everett and Van Alden then start their own label to bring Everett’s records to the public, and fame, riches, and a film career ensue.
Everett’s prison buddy Houghton shows up, and instead of getting in on the action as anticipated, has to settle for being Everett’s gofer. Throughout the film, Everett is the epitome of the spoiled star, surly, uncommunicative, bellicose, and treating all around him with either cruelty or diffidence, especially Van Alden and Houghton. A final fight at the end of the movie with Houghton, meant to give Everett his comeuppance, damages his vocal cords, bringing into question his ability to ever sing again. He learns his lesson in humility, and expresses his true feelings for Van Alden and Houghton.
Elvis Presley’s co-star Judy Tyler was killed in a car wreck on July 4, 1957, three days after filming of Jailhouse Rock ended. Presley refused to watch the movie because of this. Composer Mike Stoller appears in the movie as the band pianist.
Loving You is an American motion picture directed by Hal Kanter, released by Paramount Pictures on July 9, 1957. The film stars Elvis Presley, Lizabeth Scott (in her final major film role) and Wendell Corey. It is Presley’s second movie, his first in Technicolor and the first with Elvis as the primary focus. The story mirrors that of his own rise to fame, and Presley’s mother and father appear as extras in the audience during the final song, “Got A Lot Of Livin’ To Do.” After his mother’s death, Presley refused to ever watch the film again.
In Presley’s first picture, Love Me Tender, he acted in a supporting role as part of a larger story for the first and last time in his film career. His second film, Loving You, sets the precedent for the remaining two films he would make before going into the army, Jailhouse Rock and King Creole, that of a rising young singing star, and of the effects that fame has on him and the people around him.
Loving You was the first Elvis Presley film in color. Presley’s parents were cast as audience members. After his mother’s death in 1958, Elvis never watched this movie again. Comedian Jay Leno said that he decided to become an entertainer after seeing this movie.