All of the main cast scenes were filmed in Hollywood on indoor sets, in front of process screens, and on backlots. Location and exterior shots were filmed in Germany, but they used stand-ins and were intercut with the process-screen shots.
According to the Hal B. Wallis papers at the AMPAS Library, Frank Gorshin tested for the role of Cookie and both Russ Tamblyn and Johnny Carson were considered but the filmmakers decided to go with an older actor who could be a "breezy conniver with the girls" in order for the character to be portrayed successfully.
The songwriting team of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller wrote two song for the movie, "Dog Face" and "Tulsa's Blues", but later withdrew the songs when they didn't like the royalty payments contract that Elvis' manager Col. Tom Parker insisted that they sign.
The song "Wooden Heart" is a cover version of the famous German folk song "Muss i denn zum Städtele hinaus" (Must I then go away to the town), of which Elvis Presley also sang a few lines in his version. The song was first released in the 1830s. Elvis Presley's version was a big hit in Germany and about 400 000 records were sold within a few weeks. However The Bavarian Radio broadcast and the Westberlin-radio broadcast were boycotting this version due to "deliberated Schmultzyness of German folk songs" and because the stations wanted to broadcast serious folk music.
The song "Tonight is so right for love" is based on the aria "Barcarole" by Jacques OFfenbach from his opera "The mermaids of the Rhine" from 1864. Due to copyright issues in Europe an alternative version was released based on "Geschichten aus dem Wiederwald" by Johann Strauß.
Generally regarded as the film that set the mold for every Elvis Presley musical to follow. Indeed, within the first 30 minutes, Presley is established as a scheming, fun-loving ladykiller, meets a hard-to-get leading lady whose ice doesn't melt in response to charm, and sings two songs in a bar setting, escalating into a fistfight in which he and his buddies wreck the joint.
Juliet Prowse made this film on the heels of Can-Can (1960), which brought her good personal notices despite generally derisive reviews. Buoyed by this, Paramount borrowed Prowse from Fox, but the film did not lead to Hollywood stardom, and she finished out her Fox contact with secondary roles in three minor films before turning to stage and nightclub work.
The plot was fashioned after the classic 'three servicemen on leave' motif that had fueled many musicals during wartime. As such, the film gives a generous amount of screen time to the romantic exploits of Tulsa's best friends, Cookie (Robert Ivers) and Rick (James Douglas). This would quickly change as Elvis Presley moved forward in his film career. Following G.I. Blues (1960), Elvis would be portrayed as more of a loner, and any sidelick activity in his films would be limited to backup vocals and/or plot device exposition.
The first of Elvis Presley's films to add the trademark 'echo chamber' reverb to his vocals, the production team making no attempt to disguise the studio origin of the prerecordings, even when outdoors.
This film marked a turning point in Elvis Presley's screen persona. Up until his stint in the U.S. Army, art imitated life, with Presley typically cast as a shy, unassuming country boy. Following his release from the armed services, Presley kicked off the hayseed, emerging as a slick, articulate bon vivant. He would occasionally mix the two personas, as in Wild in the Country (1961), but for the most part, Presley would veer toward the hip side for the rest of his career. That said, Presley's inability to obscure his drawl dictated that most of his characters came from the south.
Juliet Prowse did not reveal herself to be a singer until after she left Hollywood for the stage, where she triumphed as the triple-threat star of the London production of "Sweet Charity." Her musical presentation in G.I. Blues (1960) was limited to the nightclub floor, where she was given two indifferently choreographed dance numbers that made scant use of her considerable talents.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
Rick (James Douglas) and Marla's (Sigrid Maier) child is revealed to have been illegitimate when Rick tells Tulsa (Elvis Presley) that Marla ran out on him with a baby on the way, despite the fact that he "already had a license to marry" her. This was a daring plot device in 1960, which is generally regarded as the year the Hollywood Production Code began to crack.