King Creole was the last film Elvis released before entering the military. His performance is unlike any other you will see from him later on.
Released July 2nd, 1958 was King Creole. This drama was directed by Michael Curtiz and would be Elvis’s last film before being drafted into the army. Elvis was granted a 60-day deferment for beginning his military service to finish the film. This movie is actually based on a novel from 1952 A Stone for Danny Fisher by Harold Robbins.
*Spoilers up ahead, so do not read if you have not watched this film yet!*
Elvis portrays Danny Fisher, a nineteen-year-old high school student that works before and after school to support his family. The story takes place in French Quarter in New Orleans. Danny’s mother died, and his father lost his job as a pharmacist leaving Danny the sole provider for them and his sister Mimi. One morning at work, Danny saves Ronnie (portrayed by Carolyn Jones) from her abusive date. To thank him for saving her, she kisses him. After getting into a fight at school over the kiss, Danny learns he will not be graduating. Danny decides to drop out of school and find work, even though his father wishes he would stay in school.
After another fight occurs, Danny joins a gang and begins to get in trouble. After robbing a store, Elvis meets Nellie, portrayed by Dolores Hart (also starred in Loving You with Elvis), and invites her to a party in a hotel room. Once getting to the hotel and realizing the party is not real, Nellie cries and leaves but declares she wants to see Danny again.
Danny is now employed at The Blue Shade nightclub. Ronnie is there with her boyfriend, who owns the club, Maxie Fields aka “The Pig” who is played by Walter Matthau. Ronnie claims to know Danny because he sang once and Maxie demands he proves his talent, to which he sings Trouble. He impresses Charlie LeGrand, owner of the King Creole nightclub, and offers Danny a job as a singer at his club.
Maxie is so impressed with Danny’s talent he wants him for his nightclub. One of Danny’s former gang members works with Maxie and arranges a plan to trick Danny into working there.
The story continues to unfold as Maxie blackmails Danny and has Danny attacked in an alley. Ronnie finds Danny and takes him to her house to recover. Danny kisses Ronny and explains it would not be difficult to love her as Maxie drives up and fatally shoots Ronnie.
As Long As I Have You
This is one of Elvis’s finest acting jobs. Elvis always wanted to act in movies. He looked up to James Dean and Marlon Brando. This film shows just what Elvis was capable of. Later on in life, Elvis has said that of all the characters he has portrayed, Danny Fisher was his favorite.
I had watched other Elvis movies, such as Fun in Acapulco, before watching King Creole. I did not expect the movie to be as heart-wrenching as it was. Watching Elvis in this movie is completely spellbinding. Though it is almost too intense for me to watch, this is still one of my top 5 favorite Elvis movies because his acting skills are so impressive.