A troubled youth's singing sets New Orleans rockin'. With a sweet girl to love him and nightclubbers cheering, it seems he will shake off his past and head for the top. But will a mobster and his man-trap moll snare him in a life of crime?
Having flunked graduation for a second time and needing cash to support his crabby (and thus unemployed) father, Danny Fisher takes a job as a singer in the King Creole nightclub - about the only joint around not run by smarmy crook Maxie Fields who wants him for his own place. He gets on pretty well with Fields' floozy though, and all this plus his involvement with Fields' hoods and with innocent five-and-dime store assistant Nellie means Danny finds his world closing in on him all ways round.Written by
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. See more »
During Elvis's romantic boat ride with Dolores Hart both the moon and Elvis's position shift from shot to shot. See more »
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.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this