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"Dancing To The Jail House Rock"
bkoganbing10 January 2009
For his third feature film Colonel Tom Parker over to MGM where they assigned a couple of very experienced hands behind the camera, producer Pandro S. Berman who among other folks he produced for was Fred Astaire and director Richard Thorpe. He was one of MGM's busiest craftsmen, who directed just about every MGM star during that studio's golden years. As he always did, Colonel Parker made sure that his star got the best possible support and he didn't fail him in Jailhouse Rock.

In Jailhouse Rock, Elvis plays a rather surly, ill tempered youth whose quick with his fists. A brawl in a bar and Elvis kills a guy with his fists. Granted the deceased was a lout, still the state does frown on that and Elvis got a term for manslaughter. While there, he shares a cell with old time country singer Mickey Shaughnessy.

Mickey helps Elvis survive prison and discovers he's got a voice. When he's released before Shaughnessy, Elvis goes out in search of a career and determined to let nothing stand in his way. He discovers the music business is a cutthroat one and he responds in kind. He gets his success, but it costs him the love and respect of all around him, including young record promoter Judy Tyler who develops a thing for the king.

Elvis has some good songs to sing with the title song being the biggest hit from this film. Jailhouse Rock is given a good MGM style production, worthy of anything you might have seen MGM give one of Fred Astaire or Gene Kelly's musicals. And the record of course is still selling good.

Mickey Shaughnessy appeared in a lot of good films in the Fifties, but usually playing cheerful oafs. This was one of the few times he had a serious part and he carries it off well.

I was disappointed that Judy Tyler did not get to display her musical talents. Elvis's is not the only tragic story from the cast of Jailhouse Rock. Young Judy Tyler with a brilliant career in front of her was killed shortly after completing this film with her husband in an automobile accident. I remember it well because she had been Princess SummerFallWinterSpring on the Howdy Doody Show a few years earlier. After leaving that she got good notices on Broadway in one of Rodgers&Hammerstein's lesser shows, Pipe Dream.

My guess is that Colonel Tom did not want anyone sharing musical time with Elvis so early in his career. Otherwise she might have gotten a number on her own and a duet with the king. Her musical talent would have been preserved in a hit film, but who could have known? Elvis would have to wait until Viva Las Vegas and Ann-Margret before he got a leading lady who could sing and dance to match him.

The plot of the film is similar to The Carpetbaggers so if you've seen that you know how this one comes out. Elvis does a fine acting job and singing, well he is the king.
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quite possibly Presley's best film
didi-515 January 2009
Great songs, a fine leading actor and actress (Elvis, not the world's greatest actor but doing his Method bit here; and the ill-fated Judy Tyler), and an engrossing story make 'Jailhouse Rock' a great rock 'n' roll musical, and by far one of the best movies made by The King at the peak of his powers.

Yes, there are some cringeworthy bits ('it's only the beast in me'), but in the main this is a rags to riches tale which showcases some raw Presley performances, especially the title track and the quieter 'Young and Beautiful' alongside a contemporary tale of fights, attitude, and the county jail.

The great surprise is that this film still looks and feels fresh after more than fifty years. The pity is that Elvis would only have a handful of decent performances before the rot set in with 'Kissin Cousins', 'Tickle Me', and the like.
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The King of Rock and Roll rocks it in jail
TheLittleSongbird25 February 2017
Elvis Presley was a hugely influential performer with one of the most distinctive singing voices of anybody. He embarked on a film career consisting of 33 films from 1956 to 1969, films that did well at the box-office but mostly panned critically (especially his later films) and while he was a highly charismatic performer he was never considered a great actor.

Personally am of the opinion that some of his early stuff is actually pretty good (a few even more so than that), the writing and stories weren't always a strong suit but they had good supporting performances, great soundtracks with some iconic songs, they didn't look like they were made on the cheap and Elvis actually showed himself to be a decent enough actor when the songs and material allowed it. The later films when Elvis was past prime not only had those story and script problems but did have problems with production values, less good supporting cast and Elvis being past prime and didn't even have the benefit of having good soundtracks.

'Jailhouse Rock' is often considered Elvis' best film, a consensus agreed with by me. It may not be a masterpiece of film and it's not perfect, but for an Elvis film it's very good, proving that not every Elvis film is deserving of scorn regardless of initial reputations (though actually for an Elvis film "mixed reviews" shows that it was still better received than most of them). The dialogue once again is not a strength in 'Jailhouse Rock', too many times making one cringe in its corniness and soapiness. A few of the situations are a touch on the hackneyed side too.

However, 'Jailhouse Rock' is well shot and is hardly a film that while not looking expensive not looking cheap. Richard Thorpe always struck me as a very capable director but tended to be somewhat of an undistinguished one, he does well here and does nothing to undermine Elvis' star power or the emotional impact of the story.

The soundtrack is magnificent and one of the best for an Elvis film, while the iconic title song (have always had great fun singing and dancing along to this song) is stunningly choreographed and iconic for good reason making just as big an impact are a tender "Young and Beautiful" and a soul-blistering and blood-stirring "Baby I Don't Care".

While the story is unexceptional structurally, it is one of the better stories in an Elvis film, it is unusually dark and very moving often with a personal edge that makes it even sadder to watch. Elvis' performance here is one of his most natural (very little stiffness here) and while he is not in the same ball-park as his influences Marlon Brando and James Dean this is the closest he ever came in his film career to be as good as Dean, he's charming, tormented, charismatic in an easy-going sense and there is once again like in his previous two films a genuine emotional honesty. He sings sublimely and distinctively.

Judy Tyler is endearing (tragic what happened to hear) and Mickey Shaughnessy excels in a serious role.

Overall, a very strong contender for Elvis' best (gets my personal vote for that distinction) and Elvis himself rocks it. 8/10 Bethany Cox
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Not bad
preppy-37 May 2005
Vince (Elvis Presley) is a backwoods boy with a HUGE temper problem. One day he beats a guy to death in a fight and is sent to prison. While there he's cell mates with Hunk (Mickey Shaughnessy) who gets him interested in playing the guitar and singing. When released Vince makes it big with the help of Peggy (Judy Taylor)...but becomes an obnoxious jerk. He treats Hunk and Peggy like dirt. Will he come around and treat them better? What do you think?

I tuned into this just to watch the "Jailhouse Rock" number. I'm not a fan of Presley but I heard this was good. I was surprised at how much I liked it. All the songs are good and the "Jailhouse Rock" number is just stunning--easily one of the best choreographed musical numbers ever caught on screen. Taylor is pretty and just charming in her role (sadly she died right after completing this) and Shaughnessy offers strong support. Also it's well-directed in Cinemascope.

The only debits are the overly familiar story and Presley's acting. He was a great singer but no actor--sometimes it was almost embarrassing to watch how badly he played scenes. But it's still worth watching for the songs and the other performances. I give this a 7.
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Cashing in on Elvis' great popularity.
TxMike16 August 2020
As soon as Elvis became an international sensation in 1956 he started making movies, built around him as a singer. This was the third of a long list and it was shot over a 2 month time period in the studio in 1957. But what amazes me even more is that he was a credible, natural actor from the very beginning. This young guy from rural Mississippi.

In "Jailhouse Rock" he had spent a short time in prison before plying his trade as a singer with a guitar. After some early shenanigans by record labels he decided to form his own company, with his partner, Judy Tyler as Peggy Van Alden. In real life young Elvis was apparently smitten with the 24-year-old beauty. Tragically she died in an automobile accident only a few weeks after shooting wrapped up for this movie.

None of the Elvis movies are great movies but they all entertain, including this one.
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"That ain't tactics honey, it's just the beast in me."
hitchcockthelegend7 February 2010
Elvis Presley plays "Vince Everett" who goes to jail after accidentally killing a man in a bar fight. While in the big house he is paired in his cell with Hunk Houghton (Mickey Shaughnessy), an ageing country singer whose best days are behind him. The pair strike up a friendship and Houghton teaches Everett to play the guitar, however, it's apparent that Everett is all about the voice. Recognising this fact, Houghton is quick to strike up a contract with Everett so that once both are on the outside they can make some money in the music industry. Paroled well early into his stretch, Everett meets Peggy Van Alden (Judy Tyler), a record company talent scout, who eventually gets won around by Everett and they record a song. Although there are initial problems with the industry, the song takes off after the pair set up their own record company. But with fame comes internal conflict and Houghton is now released and wanting to call in on his and Everett's prison contract.

Chances are that if you asked a group of film lovers to name an Elvis Presley motion picture, the majority would say Jailhouse Rock. Now that's not to say that is because it's the best film from The King because that would be King Creole or Flaming Star. Or that it's the most fun film of the 31 pictures he made, because that would be Viva Las Vegas. Its standing probably has more to do with the title song than the actual film itself. Which is actually a shame because although Jailhouse Rock is a weak film in many ways, it's also a film where Presley got to play a moody, rebel like character. The like of which we would not see again. This was Presley's third feature length film, and the first for MGM. Shot in black & white by Robert J. Bronner, it's directed by Richard Thorpe and penned by Guy Trosper out of a story by Nedrick Young.

The problems exist within the weak plot that has holes the size of Leavenworth Prison. Characters come and go without any purpose or meaning and Thorp uses shortcuts to keep the film's running time as trim as Presley's waist line was here. Yet to me these are forgivable issues as Presley embraces his rebel with a heart and gives it the full tilt lip snarling treatment. His Vince Everett is the guy that girls want to bed (lots of Elvis bare torso here girls) and the guy that guys want to be. And of course there is also a great set of songs and the choreography to lap up at every other turn. Along with the famous and quite brilliant title song we also get "Treat Me Nice," "Baby, I Don't Care," "I Want To Be Free," "Don't Leave Me Now" and the sublimely tender "Young & Beautiful". The latter of which stops this particular viewer in his tracks and instils a warmth that normally only Judy Garland gives me when warbling over the rainbow. Yes I love this film in spite of its obvious failings.

The sad footnote to the film concerns co-star Judy Tyler who along with her then husband, Greg Lafayette, was killed in an automobile accident a couple of weeks after filming had finished. Thus never even getting to see the film released. Elvis was shattered and is said to have never watched the film as it would have been too painful. So as Elvis sings "Young & Beautiful" it becomes, one feels, a fitting tribute to a young actress cut down in her prime. In 2007 a Deluxe edition of the film was released on DVD, remastered in sound and picture, it's a triumphant release that really does the film justice. For now, Elvis, Judy and those wonderful songs, have never looked or sounded so great as they do now. 8/10
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Reactions to one of Elvis' best flicks
funkyfry15 October 2002
I heard a young woman who hadn't seen "Jailhouse Rock" before leaving the Parkway Theater here in Oakland say "I didn't expect it to be so sad." And yes, it's a pretty dark version of Elvis' own early life. To add to the dark shadow over this film, Elvis' lovely and tolented young co-star, Judy Tyler, died before this film was released (I believe it was a car accident, but I could be wrong). Elvis was pretty broke up about it, and so am I. Well, enough said, it's got the classic "Jailhouse Rock" number (often excerpted and included in TV retrospectives on Elvis), with some pretty smooth dance moves revealed by the often immobile Elvis. E really shines in this one; one of his best films.
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Elvis's best film
wjfickling8 January 2005
I saw this film when it came out. I was a sophomore in high school, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I just saw it again on TCM, and guess what? I still enjoy it! This is by no means a work of art; it's plain old fashioned entertainment. Some of the actors in the supporting parts are stilted, and Elvis himself will never be confused with Brando or Dean. But Elvis was a singer, to this day the greatest in rock and roll history, and the musical numbers are first rate. Mickey Shaughnessy, who I can't recall seeing anywhere else, is perfect for the part of Elvis's hillbilly cell mate, and the tragic Judy Tyler shines as the leading lady. (For trivia buffs, she was Princess Summerfallwinterspring on the Howdy Doody Show.) And for those too young to remember the 50s, which probably includes the majority of this website's users, this will provide a good sample of popular entertainment in that era. 7/10
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some reviewers need anger management help!
unclerussie20 March 2003
Wow..did you see the review of this film by "chowderhead"? Well, "chowderhead" is appropriately named and definitely needs some help. Sure, reviews if any kind are always merely one guy's opinion, but some people really go off the deep end. I believe this is one of Elvis' BEST films. How can you say it's the worst? Have you seen "Paradise Hawaiian Style" of "Harum Scarum" lately? This was the brief period in Elvis' career when he was taken somewhat seriously by his directors and fellow cast members. Elvis really tried too; before giving up and giving in to the Colonel and a parade of bad scripts and horrible soundtracks. The late Judy Tyler is great in this movie and the songs are pure early Elvis; good old Rock and Roll! A favorite is "(You're so Square) Baby I don't care". Check out the dance sequence for the song "Jailhouse Rock". It's Elvis at his swivel hipped best. Chowderhead, you must be a huge Pat Boone fan and although he is still a wonderful talent, I wouldn't say he is a hundred times better than Elvis! Debby Boone'e "You Light Up MY Life" is HIP? Get real! And Little Richard has no talent? Stay off the caffiene and chill out. You'll feel better. By the way, Pat Boone NEVER recorded "Hound Dog", so how could his "version" outsell Elvis"? Get your facts straight. Better yet, rent a video or DVD of Jailhouse Rock and this time, watch it with your eyes open.
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If Only All Inmates Were Like This
ccthemovieman-110 July 2006
Elvis Presley was a great singer and, of course, one of the real legends in the history of show business.....but his films? Well, I guess some people liked them. They were too sappy for me, sort of like those Frankie Avalon-Annette Funicello Bikini Beach movies of that era.

I did check this one out, hoping there would be a number of fast songs in here, such as the great title tune "Jailhouse Rock." To my disappointment, almost all the songs were ballads.....hardly something to get pumped over.

The inmates in this prison were most clean-cut, nicest and most polite "jailbirds" you ever did see. This wasn't a jail; it was the Young Republicans Club. The only nasty person was the warden. Well, they set a trend there as wardens have been nasty in the movies ever since. As for Elvis, let's just say I preferred his records to his movies.
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A pop culture time capsule from the late 1950's decade
marxsarx29 March 2003
"Jailhouse Rock" is an entertaining film which Elvis Presley, its star, carries all the way. Judy Tyler is gorgeous as a love interest and Mickey Shaughnessy is tough but goodhearted as his jailhouse buddy. They provide good support. This is an early film for Elvis, maybe only his second film after his debut in "Love Me Tender." This movie felt like a pop culture time capsule from the late fifties era with the clothes, the music and the cars. It is a forerunner of many Elvis films of the same type where Elvis sings, overcomes obstacles and gets the girl, and yet it has the charm and innocence often typical in this era. The concept is still fresh in 1957, and it shows in Elvis's performance which is good. The plot is a bit weak in places but passable. "Jailhouse Rock" features roughly half a dozen performances by Elvis and they all add to the fun. There are also one or two numbers by costar Mickey Shaughnessy and they also enhance the film. This is one of the more substantial Elvis Films and a good one to watch to introduce you to the phenomenon of Elvis Presley. Sadly, Elvis's lovely costar Judy Tyler was killed in an automobile accident before the film was released in theaters. It has been said that Elvis refused to watch "Jailhouse Rock" ever again after Judy's death. I give this movie an 82/100 points.
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I Can See Where Elvis Fans Come From
gavin694217 February 2016
After serving time for manslaughter, young Vince Everett (Elvis Presley) becomes a teenage rock star.

I was never a big Elvis fan. I liked some of his songs, had not seen any of his movies, and never really understood the obsession some people had with him. While the "obsession" still confuses me, after seeing a few of his movies I can really begin to understand the appeal. This one in particular is quite good.

Who knew Elvis was not just a lover but a fighter? He is cast as a kid with a short tempter and even kills a man in the first few minutes. I never expected to see that, especially after the silliness of things like "Blue Hawaii". This is not edgy filmmaking like that of Sam Fuller, but i guess I need to give Elvis more credit.
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Good songs and there's a screenplay.
dbdumonteil16 July 2004
"Jailhouse rock" belongs to the handful of Elvis flicks which are watchable ,nay even entertaining:there is also "love me tender" "King Creole" and the best of them "flaming star".

There's a real director here (Richard Thorpe) who is not a drudge like Norman Taurog.The songs (the title track and "treat me nice" ) are very exciting and kept to the minimum.There are several interesting scenes ,notably the one when Elvis visits his (female) manager's folks and is confronted to a bunch of snobs :Elvis in his rebel's part indeed. On the other hand ,the scenes in the jailhouse -except for the whipping- may seem tame by today's standards.
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Jailhouse Rock is Elvis' acting at his most compellingly insolent
tavm15 August 2007
After seeing Elvis Presley's second movie, Loving You, in which he was a young innocent who occasionally got into fights and accidental meetings with teenage girls, I played Jailhouse Rock in which he knocks down a man who dies, gets in penitentiary with a former country singer (Mickey Shaughnessy), after time served coincidentally meets a female record executive (Judy Tyler) who-after hearing him sing-offers to take him, and then acts like a jerk when the success goes through his head. In this, Elvis' third movie, his character-Vince Everett-is very surly and rude so frequently, you hope Shaughnessey, after getting free himself, really gives it to him! On that note, this is one of Presley's most interesting acting performances I've seen him in yet having been used to his more goody-goody, "for the family" parts during much of the '60s. Tyler and Shaughnessy are also good for their parts as they provide plenty for the King to chew on. All the musical numbers, especially the title number, are spot on. Highly recommended for Elvis fans. Look for Disney regular Dean Jones in an early role as a disc jockey who plays Everett's record in exchange for a date with Tyler.
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Well, the music is really nice.
planktonrules19 January 2015
I am not a big fan of Elvis films. In fact, the only films of his I've seen up until now have been his worst ones, as I have a perverse love of dreck. However, I know "A Change of Habit" and "Spinout" are bad and it's not fair to base my opinion of Elvis films based on these! So, when what is supposed to be his best film, "Jailhouse Rock", came on TV I decided to give it a look.

The film had a lot of good and a lot of bad....but mostly bad. On the positive side, the songs are great and when Elvis is singing, the film is at its best. Unfortunately, while folks back then might have enjoyed the plot, I thought it was dreadful. Instead of making Elvis likable, the guy he plays in "Jailhouse Rock" is brooding, rude and a real hot-head. Much of the time, he's inexplicably angry at the world-- yet the character wonders why the girl doesn't like him! If I didn't know better, I'd have sworn that Elvis' character was supposed to be suffering throughout the film with a very bad case of PMS!

The bottom line is that the writing was the problem with this film. Whether or not Elvis was a good or bad actor is something the movie simply doesn't address as no musician could come off very well based on the lousy dialog and character he's given in this one.
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One of Elvis' greatest: 8/10
aidosh947 March 2009
"It ain't tactics, honey. It's just the beast in me." Elvis is smoldering in this classic flick, and he delivers a great performance as Vince Everett; a youngster who is thrown in jail on the charges of manslaughter, and then becomes a rock star when released. Judy Tyler is wonderful, and it's a shame we lost her at such a young age. Mickey Shaughnessy gives a solid performance as Hunk Houghton, the jealous former cell mate and business partner. The soundtrack is amazing, featuring songs as Jailhouse Rock, Young And Beautiful, One More Day, Don't Leave Me Now, and my favorite, I Want To Be Free. You can't help but wonder how many other great movies like this Elvis could've made if his manager Col. Tom Parker didn't screw things up for him. Ah well, see this great movie and enjoy, because it's a one of a kind.
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The Elvis Show
grantss27 December 2019
So-so story, and really just a platform for Elvis Presley's vocal and musical talents. But what talents they are! The music is great and Elvis puts in a convincing performance. Good support from Judy Tyler (especially) and Mickey Shaughnessy.
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For an Elvis film, this film actually had a somewhat dark story line.
AlsExGal10 June 2017
Sure, Elvis isn't the best actor in the world, but his persona works well here.

The plot involves Elvis, a young man who fights a drunk man in a bar and inadvertently kills him. The man had been accosting a young woman in the bar and Elvis didn't like it and punched him, which led to the brawl. Anyway, Elvis ends up being convicted of manslaughter and is sentenced to 1-10 years in jail. While in jail, he meets Mickey Shaughnessy, a has-been country singer who seems to have been in the clink for a while. Shaughnessy hears Elvis sing and promises to teach him how to play the guitar. He later convinces Elvis to perform in an upcoming inmate variety show which is also televised. After the appearance, Elvis receives gobs of fan letters. Jealous, Shaughnessy arranges to make sure Elvis doesn't receive his fan letters. He then convinces Elvis to sign a "contract" promising to cut him in for 50% of the profits if Elvis becomes a star.

After almost two years, Elvis is released from jail, he gets a job at a nightclub where he meets a beautiful young woman, Judy Tyler. Tyler's story is tragic. Just days after completing production on this film, her first big role, she and her husband were killed in a gruesome car accident. She was only 24. I really liked her in this film. She also had a beautiful speaking voice. I think she would have made something of herself in the movie business had fate not intervened. Anyway, after hearing Elvis sing onstage (during an impromptu performance), she convinces him to record a demo for a local record studio. Elvis' song ends up being stolen by another artist and he and Tyler form their own record label to produce his music. Elvis' career takes off and so does his ego.

Elvis' character seems to be a bit quick tempered as he hits people frequently throughout the film. I thought that Tyler's character somewhat evened out Elvis' character. If he had a tendency toward being impulsive, she was more level headed and rational. Shaughnessy's character was also interesting as he was a bit of a sleaze but you also felt bad for him as well.

The songs in the film were good too, my favorite though being "Jailhouse Rock", which is part of a prison-themed performance planned for the television special that Elvis is to appear in and shows Elvis in all of his glory.

Certainly less formulaic than the 60's Elvis films, I really enjoyed this one.
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Great music not such a great film
valleyjohn31 May 2020
Jailhouse Rock is seen as one of Elvis Presley's best movies . Some would say that isn't saying too much because most of his films weren't great but for all it's faults , i enjoyed it .

Elvis plays Vince Everett, a construction worker, who accidentally kills a man in a brawl. He is arrested and sent to jail for manslaughter. His life changes when he learns to play the guitar in prison.

This is cynical film about the music Industry . It's about exploitation and how , depending on the level of success , money influences people and ultimately changes them. To be fair nothing has changed from that day to this. Elvis's character , Vince Everett wasn't a very nice person at all. He has a really bad temper and treated women pretty badly .

The film isn't brilliant. If it wasn't for the iconic musical set pieces i would probably only give this three stars at most but i can't resist those Jailhouse Rock scene and Treat Me Nice scenes.

One very sad fact is that leading lady , Judy Tyler never saw the premiere of this movie. she was killed in a traffic accident in Wyoming on July 3, 1957, only three days after the film was completed. Elvis couldn't bring himself to go to the premiere.
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Rock 'n' roll forever!
lee_eisenberg30 July 2005
Elvis Presley's movies weren't masterpieces by any stretch, but "Jailhouse Rock" was certainly fun! The King plays Vince Everett, who accidentally kills a man in a fight. In jail, he meets country bumpkin Hunk Houghton (Mickey Shaughnessy), who helps him hit it big as a rock star. Sound too simple? Well, they know how to do it right.

The theme song was also something. Not only famous for Elvis' version, but you may recall that John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd sang it at the end of "The Blues Brothers". These sorts of songs remind us what real music is all about, and that the Britney Spears/Jessica Simpson mold doesn't count.
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Not a Bad Jail to Be In
Hitchcoc6 December 2016
I have always been an Elvis fan. Of course, I've pretty much limited it to the music. It's a shame that his talents were wasted on such a pack of crummy films. Nevertheless, I did feel this one was OK. Let's face it, anyone who saw Elvis's first couple films wanted to see the singing and dancing. When I was "Love Me Tender," the girls in the audience screamed through the whole thing. Also, the songs were quite good, part of his vocal canon. Here the poor guy gets put in the slammer for manslaughter from an ill fated fist fight. In jail, he manages to hook up with a multitude of accomplished singers and dancers. The song "Jailhouse Rock" is a wonder and the choreography is marvelous. Once the young man gets out, he again falls on more hard times, but we know he will land on his feet. I wish they had found some solid scripts for him after this.
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Jailhouse Rock (1957) **1/2
JoeKarlosi18 January 2007
Fairly decent vehicle for Elvis Presley casts him as a young construction worker who gets thrown in jail after accidentally killing a man in a bar room brawl. While in prison he befriends an older convict who used to be a country singer (Mickey Shaugnessy), and Elvis learns to play the guitar and sing. Once Presley's rather short jail term has been carried out he returns to society with a dream of continuing his singing career and becoming a rich and famous star. He has the good fortune of teaming up with a spunky female record promoter (23-year-old Judy Tyler, who tragically died in an auto accident only days after completing this film) but success turns him into a snob as he steps on people's toes while climbing the ladder of success. Presley is in his absolute prime here and isn't bad in this film, though his character turns out to be a confounding mixture of likable country boy and despicable arrogant jerk. Elvis does get to perform the raunchy "(You're So Square) Baby I Don't Care," but most of the songs here are pleasant but rather lightweight. This unfortunately extends to the rather watered-down version of the normally bouncy "Treat Me Nice" single and even tarnishes the classic title powerhouse, "Jailhouse Rock". When the latter hit is performed during an entertaining and well-choreographed dance sequence, the movie version of the song contains backup singers adding embarrassing lines like: "go-go-go!" and "lay it on me, Daddy-O!". **1/2 out of ****
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Elvis rocks the house
ODDBear23 April 2004
Elvis rocks the house as Vince Everett, a former jailbird who hits it big time as a singer. Everett is one of my favourite characters ever in movies, the only one I could picture playing him instead of Elvis would possibly have been James Dean (that is if he could sing and had lived a little longer). This is Elvis Presley's best acting performance (his Danny Fisher in King Creole a close second) and it's because of Elvis that this movie gains any credibility. When Vince is in jail, after having accidentally killed a man in a bar fight, he learns to pick a guitar and discovers he has an excellent singing voice. Encouraged by a fellow inmate he performs in front of an audience and is well accepted. Upon his release from prison he makes a deal with his inmate to split his profit (should he make it big on the outside) with him 50/50. He does make it big and in the meantime treats everybody who helped get him there like dirt, even the inmate when he is finally released.

While this movie cuts a lot of corners and isn't always all that believable, you're still in awe of Presley's performance as the angry and incredibly selfish and self loving s.o.b. If Elvis hadn't been a good actor, he would never have pulled this role of as well as he did. All in all a very good film (sappy ending though) and a terrific Elvis soundtrack. What's not to like? 8 out of 10.
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Elvis very convincing as a bad-tempered "rube"!
moonspinner5517 June 2008
After attempting to defend the honor of a prostitute in a bar, working-stiff Elvis Presley beats up her pimp, killing him with his bare hands! He serves time in the jug, where his guitar-pickin' cellmate teaches the hot-headed rube a few chords. Rags-to-riches tale is surprisingly terse and cynical for a star-vehicle. Presley's beastly kid isn't always a fine, upstanding fellow, allowing the singer to give a solid dramatic performance, though the picture has a tendency to tidy up its sordid trimmings. Rather intriguing on the whole, especially with the terrific title-named number as its musical centerpiece, though the sudden narration in the second-half (by Presley's lawyer!) is a corny shortcut device. The clichés and contrivances may cause some derision among serious film buffs--and the soundtrack is littered with throwaway tunes--but it's a well-acted picture with a moral and a moving finale. Clearly one of Elvis's best on-screen efforts. **1/2 from ****
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