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"Probably one of Presley's finest movies!"
jamesraeburn20037 January 2004
Elvis Presley plays Danny Fisher, a misunderstood teenager who is forced to live in a neighbourhood frequented by hoodlums because his father's business went bankcrupt and lost their other house. Danny flunks out of high school and does several dead end jobs in order to make ends meet, but it is discovered that he has a talent for singing and he is hired by nightclub owner Charlie Le Grand. However, sadistic blackmailer and criminal Maxie Fields (Walter Matthau) also has corrupt designs on Danny's talent.

Probably one of Presley's finest movies with a fairly strong storyline and assured direction by Michael (Casablanca) Curtiz. The acting is good from Presley in one of his better roles and Matthau scores as the ruthless gang boss. The film is shot in gorgeous noir black & white and the memorable tunes include "King Creole", "Trouble" and "As Long As I Have You".
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Elvis in One of his Rare Good Films
eibon0420 November 2001
An unusual Elvis Presley vehical which actually gives him the opportunity to act. Elvis was a talented actor who was put in crap for most of his career. The Hollywood system always put him in films where he sings without doing much else. Its only when he worked with talented directors such as Michael Curtiz and Don Siegal that his abilities as an actor were fully used. King Creole(1958) is such a film where he is given the chance to act and he passes with flying colors. King Creole(1958) and the western, Charro(1968) are my two favorite Elvis Presley films because of their dark tone and the excellent acting performances by Elvis. One of the better directed Elvis films by veteran filmmaker and Casablanca(1942) director, Michael Curtiz. One of the people who wrote the story was Michael V. Gazzo, who would later play an important role in The Godfather Part 2(1974). Walter Matthaw is terrific in one of his pre Odd Couple and comedic roles. A musical Noir done during the final year of the genre before becoming extinct.
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Never be the same again...
Callum Gee13 January 2001
To a lot of critics and non-fans of the Master of Song or King of Rock 'n' Roll, to give him his correct title, Elvis Presley was merely a wooden celluloid freak who just sang to children, animals, and everybody's Grandmother on a movie set. That might have been the case during the mid-'60's when Elvis didn't know how to perform on a movie set any other way than to follow the less than mediocre script which was getting more tedious and morose as the previous one. This trend was set by the formula that started with "G.I. Blues" and finally reaffirmed with the classic, "Blue Hawaii", from then on in with the exception of "Flaming Star", it was a pretty poor rag-bag bunch. However, "King Creole" was Elvis' jewel in the crown. The film is a testimony to a time when rebellion amongst teenage life was coming to the fore and the struggle for a young person's individuality in society was a constant threat to many parents of the 1950's genre. If Elvis was to be a big movie star this is the one that certainly went a step further than "Jailhouse Rock" to ascertain that position. Elvis' acting improved over the three film period of 1956-57, and in "King Creole" you can see the transition. He brings to the screen all the grittiness, excitement, tension that his character, Danny Fisher, is all about. This great quality movie really pays justice to a classic piece of film making by Director Michael Curtiz and a great supporting cast that Elvis gained so much from performing with in this story. Another transition also happens in this movie and that is one of the music. Apparently, Elvis never really liked Jazz music, but he certainly forgot all about that when he cut the soundtrack to this movie. I'm sure that Jazz music featured slightly higher on his list after he realised what he could do in the studio with this kind of music and blending it with his own rock rythmns and blues orientations. To me, this is one of the greatest films ever made, by one of the most underrated actors of our time. To the critics and non-fans alike: Watch it and Weep!
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a good Elvis movie
didi-515 August 2004
Elvis Presley can act! This is perhaps his best movie and certainly the one with the strongest plot. Based on the Harold Robbins novel ‘A Stone for Danny Fisher', Elvis plays Danny with that teenage angst you'd associate more with James Dean or the young Marlon Brando. The music too is exceptional, with the sexy title track alongside of such gems as ‘Steadfast, Loyal and True', ‘Crawfish' (that unusual of things, a duet between Elvis and Kitty White), ‘Hard Headed Woman', and ‘Trouble'.

The supporting cast is also eminently watchable – Dean Jagger, Walter Matthau, Vic Morrow, Carolyn Jones – and help to move the pace along. The look of the film in its non-musical moments is strictly noir, and the whole piece is slickly directed by Michael Curtiz.

‘King Creole', and a handful of other Presley movies, hint at the movie career that he could have had without his manager Col. Parker's constant greed to display his peacock client in an ever-grating role of innocence to make money.
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Elvis at his Best
clairus998 January 2002
I've heard it said that this was Elvis' favourite of his own films. And no wonder. It's about the only film he ever did that allowed him to be an actor. And let's remember, Elvis had no formal acting training, and sure, the film is, as usual, peppered with great Elvis numbers and no-one doubts his talent there.

If only the Colonel had chosen to exploit the acting side a little more, perhaps we would have a lot more memorable stuff like this to remember than some of the later films, such, there you go, I don't remember any. Perhaps Elvis would have been a lot more proud too.

Anyway, alongside Elvis is a wonderful Carolyn "Morticia Adams" Jones and a fairly early Walter Matthau, showing us that he didn't just make us laugh in his movies, but he was able to impress us with dramatic roles also.
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My favourite Presly film
Bjorn (ODDBear)23 April 2004
King Creole is not only a great Elvis Presly movie, it's a great movie period. Elvis is simply terrific as hard-edged Danny Fisher, a street wise punk who hits it big time as a singer in a flashy New Orléans club, run by sleazy Matthau. The overall look of the film is excellent, it's fast paced and gritty, moody and athmospheric, and directed by the same man who brought us Casablanca. The dialouge is good and seems authentic enough, Presley is excellent and Matthau is great (as always). Plus, the songs are good. 9 out of 10.
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King Creole (1958) ***
JoeKarlosi27 January 2007
Adapted from the book "A Stone for Danny Fisher", Elvis Presley plays a rebellious kid with a wimp of a father (Dean Jagger) who quits school and takes up singing at a night club in New Orleans, only to get mixed up with a group of thugs (headed by Vic Morrow) and their crime boss (Walter Matthau). Elvis considered this melodrama his best film and I happen to agree. It's nicely photographed in noirish black and white and directed by Michael Curtiz, featuring Elvis' most cultivated performance. It's a good story too, complimented by good actors in their roles. Walter Matthau is ideal as Maxie the heavy, who practically owns the whole town. Carolyn Jones is properly pitiful as his pathetic tramp, and Vic Morrow does well as the lead hoodlum who caters to Matthau. The songs Presley sings fit nicely into the action and are pleasant, though I don't believe any of them were signature biggies for Presley outside of, possibly, "Hard Headed Woman," and "King Creole" itself. It's a real shame that the best hit rocker, "Hard Headed Woman," is really given a raw deal as we only get to hear the end of it within the movie. The best music performance is Elvis' rendition of "Trouble" as he dominates the nightclub stage with authority and toughness while fearlessly singing it at Maxie. *** out of ****
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To Watch 'King Creole' is to See the Light
Gary Wells (LateShow)9 August 2003
I had an epiphany tonight. 'King Creole' is a better film than 'Jailhouse Rock'. 'Jailhouse' may contain King's best acting but 'King Creole' is his best film. Why? I would say King's acting is only slightly less convincing in 'Creole' but two things make it a better film: the cast and the story. 'King Creole' boasts the finest cast by far of any Presley film. Only Ann-Margret is sexier than Carolyn Jones, Vic Morrow has that ferocious mouth, Dean Jagger is almost perfect as the beaten father and Walter Matthau is deliciously vile. Harold Robbins' novel 'A Stone for Danny Fisher' is gritty and at times hard to read. Although the screenplay (co-written by 'Frankie Five-Angels', Michael V. Gazzo) is quite a bit more tame it is still tough. Think about it: King plays a character who kills a man in an alley with a switchblade. Here he is not 'Jailhouse Rock's amoral Vince Everett. Instead he is, at times, IMmoral. Forget all you think you know about the icon, Elvis Presley, and watch his eyes when, as Danny Fisher, he tells his father 'you go to school. I'm goin' out to make a buck'. If you don't see it, if you don't see IT, you're just not looking.
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Jc-10110 August 1999
Whether you are an Elvis fan or not, this is just a great movie. It shows that Elvis had that natural acting ability which unfortunately didn't matter to the money hungry corporate jerks. After this movie I think is when all his movies were just made to make money, which they ALL did. Elvis unfortunately became a joke in comparison to other actors all because of the terrible scripts. There was one movie (can't remember which one, there were over 30) in which he reportedly told the director after filming was done "Hey nice movie, maybe I'll read the script sometime" . In other words, Elvis hated the fact that he wasn't getting good scripts. He was the first real money making star which is what ultimately lead to the atrocious film roles. Well except for maybe 4 or 5 of his films. Anyway if you never saw Elvis in a movie before (which I find hard to believe with all the Elvis marathons on tv), see this one!
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"And He Goes By The Name of King Creole"
bkoganbing6 December 2006
By this time Elvis Presley was a big movie box office name due in no small measure to the astute management of Colonel Tom Parker. I have no doubt that the Colonel got him Michael Curtiz as a director and a top flight supporting cast consisting of Oscar winners like Dean Jagger as the King's father and Walter Matthau as the villain of the piece. And other such outstanding players as Carolyn Jones, Vic Morrow, Paul Stewart, and Dolores Hart.

Presley steps into James Dean territory here, had he lived I'm sure Dean would have played the part of Danny Fisher in what would have been a non-musical story or one where Dean's singing would have been dubbed. Danny Fisher is just the kind of troubled youth searching for himself that Dean excelled with in East of Eden and Rebel Without a Cause. In fact in the relationship between Presley and Jagger you can see a lot of the dynamics of Dean's and Jim Backus in Rebel Without a Cause.

Elvis has had to go to work because his father has been unable to hold down a job ever since the death of his wife. So's Elvis's sister, Jan Shepard, also had to work. He gets a break in Walter Matthau's club with an impromptu audition, but it's rival owner Paul Stewart who hires Elvis. That sets the stage for a lot of the action to come.

For those who are used to seeing Walter Matthau as the lovable grouch starting from The Odd Couple it would surprise many to learn most of his early roles were bad guys. He's an exceptionally nasty bad guy in King Creole.

The title song became one of Elvis's early best sellers and it is also the name of the club Matthau owns in the New Orleans French Quarter. Presley has some other good numbers in this film as well.

Some other reviewers have mentioned that Elvis should have done more dramatic stuff like King Creole. Maybe he should have, who knows. But I think the point should be made is that first and foremost Elvis was a singing icon, not an acting one. As were the idols of former generations Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra. I don't think Elvis was willing to push himself as player in the same way they were. Neither Crosby or Sinatra also had a manager with as tight a control over them creatively as Colonel Tom Parker. Both Crosby and Sinatra got Oscars, but it was for parts that they knew they could handle and went after, especially Sinatra. Maybe Elvis in the words of another icon, knew his limitations or the Colonel did.

King Creole also was one of the first of Harold Robbins's novels to be made into a film. Yet it's never thought of as a Robbins film like The Carpetbaggers or The Betsy. It's an Elvis film, first and foremost.

And that's good enough for fans of the King and others.
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Without question Elvis' best
jjnxn-12 July 2013
Made early in his career when he was still bursting with promise and not strait-jacketed by an image this is the best film Elvis ever made and probably his best performance. Based on one of Harold Robbins few good novels the film gives him a real character to play and shows that had he been allowed he could have progressed to becoming a fine actor. I'm not trying to knock him, in most of his films he's an enjoyable presence but except for Wild in the Country and this none of them required much in the way of stretching his ability.

While he is memorable in the lead there are several other factors that help make this such a strong picture. Chief among them is the presence of the master of any genre Curtiz in the director's chair lending his firm hand to keep the film focused and compelling. Something else that adds to this is the cast. Elvis usually was supported by one sometimes two strong veteran actors or actresses but here the film is loaded to the rafters with talent. Walter Matthau, Dean Jagger, Paul Stewart, Vic Morrow and Dolores Hart all contribute strongly to the texture of the film with best in show honors going to Carolyn Jones as a fragile, damaged woman with a good heart. It's a standard role but she makes something quite lovely out of it.
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KING CREOLE (Michael Curtiz, 1958) ***
MARIO GAUCI21 August 2007
If LOVING YOU (1957) seemed to me at times to play like a lighter version of A FACE IN THE CROWD (1957), this reminded me of another Elia Kazan masterpiece, ON THE WATERFRONT (1954) which is quite appropriate since this is one of Elvis Presley’s better and most popular vehicles and one of the few with genuinely talented Hollywood craftsmen behind them.

This was one of the earliest film adaptations of Harold Robbins novels – the most notable of which would prove to be THE CARPETBAGGERS (1964), THE ADVENTURERS (1970) and THE BETSY (1978; which I have on VHS but have yet to watch) – but, Hollywood being Hollywood, it had its Chicago setting relocated to New Orleans; the screenplay was co-scripted by Michael V. Gazzo who was then still fresh from the Broadway success of A HATFUL OF RAIN (later filmed by Fred Zinnemann in 1957) but is nowadays perhaps best-known for his Oscar-nominated performance in THE GODFATHER PART II (1974).

Elvis is backed by a rather stellar cast: once again, lovely Dolores Hart is featured as his love interest – when he’s not being ensnared by long-suffering gangster’s moll Carolyn Jones, which doesn’t sit at all well with vicious kingpin Walter Matthau (effectively cast as the sleek heavy of the piece); the older generation is represented by Dean Jagger, appearing as Elvis’ submissive pharmacist father and Paul Stewart playing the owner of the “King Creole” establishment (who eventually hitches up with Presley’s older sister) and the only one who’s unafraid to stand up to Matthau’s control of the territory and who signs up “busboy”/failed graduate Elvis when he’s revealed to be a talented singer. Other cast members making notable contributions are Vic Morrow as Matthau’s chief lackey/thug and an uncredited Gavin Gordon as Jagger’s bossy superior.

At almost two hours, the film is slightly overlong but the meatier-than-usual plot line, the tawdry atmosphere of the Deep South (vividly-captured through exemplary noir-ish lighting by Russell Harlan), the star’s own instinctive performance (clearly modeled after his Method-trained heroes Marlon Brando and James Dean), dazzling musical interludes (whose sheer power remains undimmed) and occasional bouts of violence keep one watching. It is said that KING CREOLE was also Elvis’ favorite among his own movies and, having now watched it myself, I can easily understand why.
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New Orleans film noir with Elvis Presley.
TxMike6 January 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Danny Fisher (Elvis Presley) was a pretty good kid but not very smart. Three years earlier when his mom died, his pharmacist dad (Dean Jagger) became a borderline bum so Danny had to work mornings before school, and evenings after school to earn money for him and dad and his sister Mimi (Jan Shepard). He was supposed to graduate from high school the prior year, but instead had to repeat his senior year. A hot head, he found it hard to turn the other cheek, and as a result was always in some sort of scrape it seemed.

This was Elvis' 4th movie, and made right before he was drafted into the Army at age 22. Although much of the movie has a "staged" feel to it, Elvis does a credible job, and his singing is featured when he gets a job in a New Orleans FrenchQuarter night spot. A somewhat young Walter Matthau, doing a decent Bogart impression, plays the heavy, Maxie Fields, who always bends the rules, often breaking them, to get his way. Carolyn Jones, who later was popular on the TV series "The Addams Family" is good as Ronnie, who belongs to Maxie but longs for Danny. Dolores Hart, who left the movies and became a nun just a few years later, was 19 here playing Nellie, the good girl that falls for Danny too.

SPOILERS FOLLOW. Danny's first scrape in this movie comes in the morning before his last day of school, cleaning up at a night spot, two men are bothering Ronnie, so he breaks a bottle for defense, and gets her into a taxi and out of there. At school some guys tease him for kissing her and Danny punches him out. The school decides to fail him again, no graduation! Discouraged he vows to get a job, he's had enough of school.

Charlie LeGrand, who owned a night spot called the 'King Creole' and was a rival of Maxie's, heard Danny and offered him a job singing for $85 a week. Meanwhile dad went back to work as a pharmacist, and one rainy night taking the day's money to the bank was mugged by 'Shark' (Vic Morrow) who worked for Maxie. Dad ended up in the hospital for 4 weeks but recovered. Maxie tried to blackmail Danny into working for him but Danny beat him up instead and went on the run. A knife fight in the alley and 'Shark' was dead. Injured, Danny was taken by Ronnie to her hide away near the lake. Maxie finds them, is gunning for them, hits Ronnie, but 'Dummy' whom Danny had treated nicely before runs and tackles Maxie, who shoots himself while falling into the water. Mortally wounded, Ronnie dies in Danny's arms on the wooden walkway. Which leaves Danny and Nellie to each other.
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Probably The King's Best
BJJManchester22 April 2012
Warning: Spoilers
That Elvis Presley's film career gradually petered out after years of making trivial,hackneyed,fluffy and empty-headed movies is to be regretted,yet in several early films (JAILHOUSE ROCK,FLAMING STAR),he showed he could give a perfectly decent acting performance alongside good scripts,directors and actors.It is arguable that KING CREOLE was his best overall film,and perhaps his most effective big screen performance.

Disillusioned youth Danny Fisher (Presley) lives in New Orleans' French Quarter with his recently widowed father (Dean Jagger) and sister (Jan Shepard).His pharmacist father is finding it tough to cope without his wife and cannot find regular work,while Danny flunks his college studies to work in a nightclub owned by sleazy crook Maxie Fields (Walter Matthau), and begins to take romantic interest in a boozy if pitiable tramp,Ronnie,used by Fields as a mistress (Carolyn Jones).He toys with joining a gang of hoodlums led by Shark (Vic Morrow),and attracts the attentions of a sweet-natured shopgirl,Nellie (Dolores Hart).With his talent for singing,Danny decides not to work in Fields' venues,but of his rival Charlie LeGrand instead,the King Creole,where he is a great success.Fields resents Danny's behaviour and is determined fair ways or foul to force Danny to work for him,but Danny will make his own decisions who he works and falls in love with.

Elvis Presley had some good scripts offered in his earlier film career like the above fore-mentioned,and KING CREOLE was possibly the best of them.He not only had a good script and story but a top-class producer (Hal B.Wallis),legendary director (Michael Curtiz),fine actors (Matthau,Jones,Jagger,Morrow,Paul Stewart),accomplished cameraman (Russell Harlan),good production and musical numbers too.Presley is very good as the mean,moody but sympathetic youth veering from delinquency to hard work,recalling the ambiance of a younger Marlon Brando or James Dean.He is well supported by Ms Jones,making her somewhat trashy character into a three-dimensional,tragic near-heroine,Matthau as the crooked nightclub operator,Jagger as his vulnerable father,Morrow as a streetwise thug,and Hart,Shepard and Stewart doing efficiently in minor but interesting roles.Wallis and Curtiz of course worked together on one the all-time greats CASABLANCA (1942),and although KING CREOLE is nowhere in that class,a certain moody,smoky atmosphere like the Bogart/Bergman classic is successfully evoked by Harlan's shadowy,noir-like lighting and angles in scenes set in the French Quarter and clubs,and is immeasurably helped by some high quality songs such as the haunting opener 'Crawfish' (where Elvis sings in a duet),'Trouble','Dixieland Rock','Hard Headed Woman' and of course the peerless title track.Occasionally,there are one or two uncomfortable dramatic moments that Presley struggles with,and the film is somewhat overlong,but KING CREOLE is generally a fine crime drama with musical and noirish elements well handled by the master of versatility Curtiz.

Pre-1961,The King made a number of fine films like this,but under the influence of Colonel Tom Parker,he was forced into garishly coloured and obviously contrived entertainments which utilised the same banal plots,dull and repetitive scripts,uninspiring actors and ageing or mediocre directors which caused Presley to call a halt on his film career by the end of the 60's.Had he managed to work with the kind of script,story and crew he collaborated with on KING CREOLE,who knows how better his tarnished reputation on movies would've been;as it is,we can be grateful that KING CREOLE shows us how good Elvis was with such top technical and artistic backing,and how better he may have become as a screen actor.
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King does King Creole
noyb cutshall17 August 2005
Presley's acting career may never have been able to fully be utilized but King Creole shows promising possibilities that if given the opportunity, Presley could have acted well.

As Danny Fisher, Presley combines good acting talents with excellent songs. His character is both convincing and talented through the entire movie.

Danny, his sister and his father have been forced to live in the lower class area of town. By coincidence, Danny's singing talent is discovered. He is given the opportunity to sing in two different night clubs but he may have to choose between his new career and his family.

The entire cast provide a fully powerful and sometimes emotional support to Danny. The songs that Danny sings are second to none.

This movie should have been nominated for academy awards but if it had we would never have the later Presley vehicles to watch and perhaps Presley's career would have been taken into a different area.
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Elvis and his roots
dimplet16 July 2013
Sure, Elvis is the star, but the real force making it a great movie is Michael Curtiz. King Creole has a great cast, great acting, a solid script and many interesting musical numbers, not to mention excellent cinematography. Without all this, it might have just been another Elvis vehicle.

Look at the list of Curtiz' movies -- Yankee Doodle Dandee, Casablanca, Mission to Moscow, to name three in a row -- can you find a more versatile director? I don't think there is any "Curtiz style;" each is unique, in each he fits the movie to the material. His work begins in the silent era, 1912, yet King Creole epitomizes the 1950s. And Curtiz, 72, knows how to showcase the talent and energy of Elvis, presenting him as an artist.

Yes, Elvis can act. There isn't a wrong note anywhere, and it is a relatively complex role. I suppose the next question the studios would have asked is whether he had the depth to play a wide range of characters. Could Elvis transform himself into someone else? That is great acting. I'm thinking of someone like Paul Newman -- or Walter Matthau. Elvis never got a chance to find out. Perhaps the studios looked at King Creole and decided not to push their luck and stick to the Elvis persona?

To do good acting you need a good cast to react off of, and he had it here. We see some real chemistry and sparks flying as they interact with Elvis. Here is Matthau at his finest. This is no mobster don caricature; we see cruelty and cunning, but also rays of kindness and genuine appreciation for Elvis' talent. And who would guess that Ronnie -- Carolyn Jones -- was also Morticia in the Addams Family or Julie Rawlings in How the West was Won?

I am not a big Elvis fan, though I do respect the emotional energy of his style. Those who are not familiar with Elvis should watch King Creole to understand why he was so influential.

At first I was disappointed that there wasn't a broader range of musical styles displayed, given the title "King Creole" and the fact that Elvis's musical roots are in the black jazz and blues of Memphis, Tennessee. It appeared to be all all high octane Elvis. But then I looked closer and realized that Elvis' musical roots are, indeed, on display in the movie. Even in the slower numbers, the Elvis intensity just made them seem high octane.

The only Creole influence is seen in the opening number of street vendors calling out their wares, Crawfish, similar to the Street Cries number in Gershwin's Porgy and Bess. But it does set up the musical environment.

The first performance number, Trouble, shows Elvis singing with a Dixieland group, but it is actually a solid blues number in a style similar to T-Bone Walker (Stormy Monday). Now this is Elvis' roots.

The closest to a slow love ballad is Lover Doll in the Five and Dime, accompanied only by a bass.

The closest to jazz is "New Orleans," which starts slow like W.C. Handy, and shows a connection between Elvis' style and jazz, including a banjo and some Dixieland riffs.

In the number "King Creole," the only connection to the movie's title aside from the club's name, we see typical Elvis energy and tempo, but also some of the blues and jazz roots we saw more clearly in earlier numbers.

Later, we have a somewhat gratuitous Dixieland Rock, which sounds a lot like Jailhouse Rock, and is closer to pure Elvis than most numbers here. The distinctive double clapping by Elvis that sets up the number, echoed by the band, corresponds to the sound of a car driving over a loose manhole cover. If you'd ever lived with one outside your window, you would recognize it.

Don't Ask Me Why is a slow number in the style of many Fifties pop songs, and a takeoff of O Sole Mio, an old Italian song that's seen many permutations, including Elvis' later It's Now or Never.

What stands out, at least to the modern listener, is the high energy, fast beat Elvis style that became so famous. But actually Curtiz does a good job of mixing styles and tempos, and of providing a sort of chronology of musical influences on Elvis in the various numbers. The range could have been a bit broader, but this was 1958 and the movie was helping to establish Elvis' musical identity.

The influence of black jazz and blues is there to the observant viewer, but not fully highlighted. This was the Fifties, and displaying too much black influence would have been risky. What we do see was a actually a bold move (though setting it in New Orleans makes it more acceptable), and probably enhanced Elvis' edgy, bad boy image with the teenagers and James Dean crowd. (Now, if they had made Elvis' role truly Creole, part black and part French, that would have been ballsy for the time.)

I suppose you could say the best Elvis movie is the one that was never made, the mature actor singing in a broad range of styles: rock, jazz, blues, creole and ballads. It's too bad he didn't return to his musical roots in later years, as well as acting. But King Creole comes surprisingly close to providing Elvis' musical testament.

In the end, Curtiz delivers not only fine acting and a fine script, but also some fine music in an assortment of Elvis' style. Once again, Curtiz fitted the movie to the material.
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Very good
SanteeFats14 July 2013
Warning: Spoilers
This is not your typical Elvis movie!!! It is pretty dark, not the light hearted romps that most of his movies are, and the songs are few and I guess because this takes place in New Orleans, they are bluesy. Which I think Elvis had a great voice and presence for the blues. Walter Matthau plays the heavy here. He has the stereotypical Hollywood gangster image. A woman beating, murderer. Carolyn Jones, well before the Addams Family, plays the gangsters girl and she looks pretty good and acts well. The family dynamics of Elvis's screen family, the Fisher's, is a little weird. The actress playing the sweet kind of naive girlfriend is nice to see compared to today's way too smart about everything young girl roles that get cast now.
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Great Noir
Petr_44 February 2013
Warning: Spoilers
This is not a typical Elvis movie.I believe that this is the first serious attempt of the King to became a real actor.

The film located in New Orleans reminds a lot the 50s Rebelion movies like "Rebel without a Cause" with James Dean or the "Wild One" with Marlon Brando.

Elvis in King Creole is not the good guy,but an outsider kid with problems to finish the school, who fights,steals,cheating girls,became a part of the underworld,only because he don't wont to be a working man with the head down,like his father.

The cast is superb,not only the King,but an excellent Walter Matthaou as the bad guy and Dean Jagger as the Father of Elvis.

King Creole was the favorite movie of Elvis and i believe one of his best together with "Wild In the Country" and "Flaming Star"
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Wonderful acting makes this movie: 8/10
Aida Nejad7 March 2009
"Danny Fisher, young delinquent, flunks out of high school. He quits his job as a busboy in a nightclub, and one night he gets the chance to perform. Success is imminent and the local crime boss Maxie Fields wants to hire him to perform at his night club The Blue Shade. Danny refuses, but Fields won't take no for an answer..." Awesome plot, great acting and a brooding Elvis is what makes this film a classic, a mix of crime, drama and musical. This is Elvis' greatest movie so far, well it's a tie between this and Jailhouse Rock, and he is amazing as Danny Fisher, the young delinquent who gets mixed up with crook Maxie Fields (the incredible Walter Matthau) and the lovely Carolyn Jones. This is probably the one movie where all leading, and supporting, actors give great performances all over. It's a must see for any Elvis (or classic film) fan. And I promise, you won't regret it.
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This is the big get-even day!
Psalm 5212 January 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Not being an Elvis-fanatic, I watched this film more for the story and the eclectic cast: Matthau, Morrow, Jaegger, Jones. I was pleasantly surprised to find the visual style and story progress (based on a novel) was quite good and rewarding. Jones really re-defines a femme fatale role and as a male viewer I was touched by the pathos she brings to the 'Ronnie' character. Jaegger as the pathetic father-figure is also excellent and is touching in his scenes w/ Elvis and Matthau. I think I liked Morrow the best. His 'Shark' is a tragic character with his soulless eyes that just tell you his life will get cut short. The director conveys a good sense of atmosphere especially towards the end when Jones and Elvis are hiding in her cabin. The sequence as Elvis emerges from inside and joins Jones as she opens herself up to him personally is dynamite in lieu of the fact that Matthau will soon shatter the almost-lover's brief tranquility.

My only dislike is the tacked on 'happy ending' which is out of place w/ the rest of the gritty New Orleans ghetto story.
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A troubled youth tries to escape the shady side of life.
Michael O'Keefe20 October 1999
Filmed in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Elvis plays a brawling busboy that becomes the brightest entertainer on Bourbon Street. Mobster (Walter Matthau) and his boy toy (Carolyn Jones) fill out the plot and subplot. Vic Morrow is a convincing thug. Dolores Hart plays the good girl love interest. This song filled flic is highlighted by numbers like "Trouble", "Hard Headed Woman" and of course "King Creole". I agree with anyone that thinks this is one of Elvis' greatest movies, if not the best!
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Elvis and Harold Robbins come up with a good movie-Huh?
mp992 November 2001
A good movie taken from one of the novels that Harold Robbins wrote back when he was actually a writer, and not just a manufacturer of adolescent sex fantasies. The original novel was about a JD turned mob-owned boxer; the movie makes him a musician and gives the story a happier (i.e., cleaned-up) ending, but the New Orleans atmosphere is surprisingly strong, the songs are great, and Elvis Presley gives a real performance as the angry, mixed-up, but decent hero, who discovers that he has more backbone than he thought. And Walter Matthau is very, VERY scary as the mobster who tries to buy Presley body and soul and gets nasty when he discovers he can't. And it's all given a nice, punchy treatment by director Michael Curtiz, who proved that his career didn't end just because Errol Flynn was too old to be jumping around in tights any longer . . .
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Elvis Noir as Rock N Roll comes to the King Creole
Spikeopath3 September 2012
King Creole is directed by Michael Curtiz and adapted to screenplay by Herbert Baker and Michael V. Gazzo from the novel A Stone for Danny Fisher written by Harold Robbins. It stars Elvis Presley, Carolyn Jones, Walter Matthau, Dolores Hart, Dean Jagger, Vic Morrow, Paul Stewart and Jan Shepard. Music is scored by Walter Scharf and cinematography by Russell Harlan. Plot finds Presley as Danny Fisher, a high school student struggling at school who falls in with the wrong crowd just as family matters of the heart start to take a hold.

He said anybody that disagreed with you got a punch in the mouth. Is that what I brought you up to do, to fight?

The last film Presley made before going off to do his service in the army, King Creole is his best film. It's one of only a small handful that showed the star actually had some acting ability, here he gets a top director to work under and a very tidy cast put along side him for him to respond too. Presley immediately warmed to Curtiz (Casablanca/Mildred Pierce), wilfully doing as he was told by the wily old director, rewarding the film fan with a performance of some merit. Presley would often say it was his personal favourite of his own films, and it's not hard to see why. Though packed with musical numbers, many of them belters as well, the film always stays dramatic, in fact the tunes form part of the narrative, they are not frothy interludes slotted in purely for fan appeasement.

Everything he touches turns to drink.

It's not unreasonable to expect King Creole to be a fun movie, the kind where Elvis flies a plane, speeds around on power boats, or saves the word during a treasure hunt, because the poster art and DVD covers lend you to think that. Honestly, one shows the King with guitar wrapped around him, hips bent and a huge smile on his face, the other has the same Elvis pose but along side him is a smiling beauty bedecked in a banana patterned dress! I mean really, would you think this film is shot in moody black and white, features murders, theft, family upheaval, drunks, knife fights, wasted life and all round dirty tricks? That the King is snarly, aggressive and channelling Jim Stark from Rebel Without a Cause? Because all these things reside within this potent and most agreeable Elvis picture.

Now you know. That's how you get into it.

With the drama relocated from the New York of the novel to Bourbon Street New Orleans, and Danny Fisher changed from a boxer to a singer, atmosphere needed to be tight to the emotionally battered story. And it is, very much so, with Harlan (Ramrod/Riot in Cell Block 11) doing a great job of making The Big Easy come off as The Big Seedy. This is a world of back alleys where hoodlum youths dwell and of wet tinged streets barely lit by gas lamps, many of the night scenes shot here are worthy of film noir status, with a rain sodden mugging sequence truly top of the line. Conversely Curtiz also paints a bustling Orleans picture, with song clubs and street sellers proving to be the heartbeat of the city. It's a twin viewpoint of Orleans that matches other duality themes that drive the narrative forward, because Danny is caught between two girls and two night club owners.

Cast are very good across the board, with Matthau menacing, Morrow weasel like, Jagger and Jones sad and pitiful, Stewart elegantly honest and Hart doing a neat line in confused love. Stand out tunes include the title song, "Hard Headed Woman", "Trouble", "Steadfast Loyal and True", "Lover Doll" and the quite beautiful "As Long As I Have You". It's not perfect, serious crime goes unpunished, the main motive driving on Matthau's club boss is rather weak and the two love interest girls are written lazily as love sick puppies. Yet this is still a cracker of a movie, where Presley bristles with magnetism and emotional conflict and Curtiz and Harlan rack up the requisite amount of impressive atmospheric visuals. 8/10
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"King" Elvis
FloatingOpera713 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
King Creole (1958): Starring Elvis Presley, Walter Matthau, Carolyn Jones, Dolores Hart, Dean Jagger, Lilian Montevechi, Vic Morrow, Paul Stewart, Jan Shepard, Brian G. Hutton, Jack Grinnage, Dick Winslow, Raymond Bailey, Leon Tyler...Direcor Michael Curtiz...Screenplay Herbert Baker, Based On The Novel By Harold Robbins By 1958, when this film was released, there was not a single American (unless they were Amish or lived in a cave) who didn't know who Elvis Presley was. The popular singer's albums sold fast and his concerts and performances in Las Vegas and on TV drove dozens of young teenage girls crazy. He fancied himself an actor as well or he opted to make movies to cater to his fans. Back then if you wanted to see Elvis shake his waist and hips (which you couldn't see on TV because of censorship)you could see it if you went to see his movies. Director Michael Curtiz was a fine director with great films (better than this one) to his credit- Santa Fe Trail (1940) The Sea Hawk (1940) and of course his masterpiece Casablanca (1942). The director of Casablanca was a noted Hollywood moviemaker and to engage Elvis in a film must have been awfully good for his career. In King Creole, he plays Danny Fisher a New Orleans rebel, the son of a well-to-do and respectable politician (or something like that) who flunks out of high school and decides to sing in nightclubs instead. His father wants him to marry the wealthy and sweet Nel (Dolores Hart)and to change his life for the better. But in his nightclub, Danny discovers a seedy world of corruption and danger. He encounters the beautiful, seemingly comfortable but unhappy Ronnie (Carolyn Jones) the sweetheart of a powerful mob lord. He's drawn to her on an emotional and physical level but he's torn between both his own sweetheart and Ronnie. A young Walter Matthau plays mob lord Maxie Field, with a degree of nastiness and abusive dominance, fueled by alcoholism. There are songs but this is not a musical. The songs are featured in the appropriate scenes in which Danny sings in the nightclub. This was a style of movies that Elvis did at the time although he was also in musicals. But this is one film in which he attempted to act. For fans of Elvis, he's wonderful in this role which suits him but I personally don't think he's much of an actor and he was the first celebrity to prove that singers should not transition into film acting. Later on, singers like Madonna would do the same thing in the 80's and 90's and fail miserably. But this type of a film is a time capsule of the 50's and therefore has value. Elvis would do several films in color in the 60's as well but quit after he began to age visibly. Carolyn Jones is his leading lady in this film. Sadly, she's not a well-known actress. She is known only for her role as Morticia Addams in the memorable and much loved TV comedy series "The Addams Family" (1964-1966). Give this woman some credit. She was an outstanding actress with tons of films and TV series in her resume. Here, she is subtle next to the more dramatic Elvis but she shows moments of angst in a very dramatic, sort of soap-opera-ish way. She's really good. Her voice is especially essential in her acting and it helped that she was very beautiful. This is a lovely film with an emotional core and with lots of great singing, especially the last song.
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