Co-star of the film Walter Matthau said after death of Elvis Presley this about him: ""He [Elvis Presley] was an instinctive actor...He was quite bright...he was very intelligent...He was not a punk. He was very elegant, sedate, and refined, and sophisticated."
James Dean was at one point in the running for the role that, several years later, would be played by Elvis Presley. At this stage, the film was to be a gritty urban drama. Following Dean's death and the casting of Elvis, it was retooled to suit the King.
Originally titled A Stone for Danny Fisher. It is loosely based on the best selling 1952 novel by Harold Robbins. Elvis Presley recorded a song called "Danny" ("Lonely Blue Boy"). It was later recorded by Conway Twitty in 1960 and charted #6 US Pop. Elvis' original version of the song was scrapped when the title of the film was changed. Elvis' recording wouldn't be released for 20 years.
Curiously, in the 2009 version of this film, "Hard Headed Woman" a #1 hit for Elvis Presley at the time of the film's release has been cut and added is the previously unseen stripper's sequence with the song "Banana". In 1958, the "Banana" scene, complete with female stripper, with its obvious phallic reference, would have been "too much" for the censors and many of the movie going public.
The trivia item below may give away important plot points.
Michael Curtiz was asked to direct this movie by Hal B. Wallis. At first Curtiz refused, but soon took the job. It has later been told that Curtiz did watch a few of Elvis Presley's earlier movies (story doesn't tell what movie) and after that accepted the job.