Elvis In The Movies: Jailhouse Rock (1957)

August 3, 2016
Elvis in the Movies: Jailhouse Rock (1957) Header

Containing one of Elvis’s most well-known songs, Jailhouse Rock is unlike many of the musical films you may have seen him in before. Elvis was able to give an incredible performance for this dramatic film and is one of his top-earning films.

Premiering on October 17, 1957, Jailhouse Rock became Elvis’s third motion picture. It was a drama directed by Richard Thorpe and showcased Elvis’s real talent as an actor. Elvis starred alongside Judy Tyler in her first big motion picture. Sadly, just weeks after completing filming on July 3rd, Judy Tyler and her husband were tragically in a fatal car crash.

Elvis wept when he heard the news and did not attend the premiere once the film was released. It became one of his most successful films earning $8.6 million at the time.

*Spoilers ahead.*

Elvis and Judy Tyler
Elvis Presley and Judy Tyler

Elvis portrays Vince Everett, a young man who finds himself in a terrible situation. Vince is short-tempered and winds up in a fight with a belligerent man, accidentally killing him. He was found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to one to ten years in jail. Vince ends up with a cellmate by the name Hunk Houghton, portrayed by Mickey Shaughnessy. Hunk is a former country singer and teaches Vince to play the guitar.

Hunk can see Vince’s talent and convinces him to participate in the upcoming inmate show broadcasted nationwide on television. Vince finds himself with much more attention after the broadcast of his performance. This is something that does not sit well with Hunk.

Jailhouse Rock

Elvis Presley performs Jailhouse Rock

After serving 20 months, Vince is a free man looking for a job. He wanders into a nightclub and walks out with a job as a bar boy. Even though he was hoping to be a singer. In the nightclub, he meets Peggy, portrayed by Judy Tyler. Peggy is a promoter for a popular singer and the perfect person for Vince to meet.

During a band break, Vince takes to the stage to perform Young and Beautiful. Vince’s short temper returns when he is laughed at by a customer. He smashes his guitar and storms out of the nightclub. The film changes course as Vince’s career takes off, as does his relationship with Peggy. Hunk is paroled and his jealously returns resulting in Vince and Hunk fighting. This fight leaves Vince unable to sing. But there is a happy ending.

Young and Beautiful

Elvis Presley performs Young and Beautiful

Throughout Vince’s career, you will see Scotty Moore, Bill Black, and DJ Fontana performing alongside him. Keeping his original bandmates behind him helps to keep Elvis authentic to his true performing self.

Until we meet again,

TCB and TCE,

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2 Comments

  • Reply Janet August 3, 2016 at 6:27 pm

    I will always remember watching this movie at the theatre when it came out. I was 9 years and have loved Elvis since then.

    • Reply Little Sister August 5, 2016 at 1:03 am

      That is incredible! I cannot imagine watching this movie, or any Elvis movie, in theaters when they came out. That is such a wonderful memory you have!

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