KING CREOLE features Elvis Presley's best film performance, a result perhaps of the helming of Michael Curtiz--who had also directed Cagney, Bogart, Garfield, and Flynn and who will always be revered for CASABLANCA--or of the script by Herbert Baker and Michael Gazzo, which was based on a novel written by Harold Robbins before he became a pop fiction cottage...read more
KING CREOLE features Elvis Presley's best film performance, a result perhaps of the helming of Michael Curtiz--who had also directed Cagney, Bogart, Garfield, and Flynn and who will always be revered for CASABLANCA--or of the script by Herbert Baker and Michael Gazzo, which was based on a
novel written by Harold Robbins before he became a pop fiction cottage industry. Whatever the reason, the film will be remembered for the many facets of Elvis that emerged in his portrayal of Danny Fisher, a singing busboy at a sleazy nightclub on New Orleans' Bourbon Street. One night he rescues
Ronnie (Carolyn Jones) from a drunk who is harassing her. She turns out to be the moll of local hood Maxie Fields (Walter Matthau), whom she would like to leave, but she fears for her safety. Later, Danny is kicked out of school for getting into a scuffle with some fellow students. Shark (Vic
Morrow), the brother of one of the students, jumps Danny with a bunch of toughs, then invites him to join the gang, having been impressed with his fighting ability. Eventually, Danny does join the gang, who rob the drugstore where his father (Dean Jagger) works while Danny sings and acts as a
decoy. Things begin to look up when he lands a gig singing at another nightclub, the King Creole, and soon customers are packing the place to see him. He dates the sweet Nellie (Dolores Hart), who would like him to give up this wastrel life and marry her, but he's also attracted to Ronnie, who
lives in fear of the cruel Maxie and can't act on her feelings for Danny. Maxie, meanwhile, wants to lure Danny away from the King Creole to work for him. Failing to do so, he tries to blackmail the singer by framing him for a holdup. Danny reacts by beating Maxie up and takes refuge with
Ronnie--who, however, is killed in the finale, clearing the way for Danny and Nellie to reunite at the fade-out. It's a heavy plot for a musical, but they managed to cram it all in along with 13 songs. This entertaining Elvis vehicle would be his last film before being drafted into the Army. The
tunes: "King Creole," "Banana," "New Orleans," "Turtles, Berries and Gumbo," "Crawfish," "Don't Ask Me Why," "As Long As I Have You," "Trouble," "Hard-Headed Woman," "Lover Doll," "Dixieland Rock," "Young Dreams," and "Steadfast, Loyal and True."
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