The Elvis Collection
A collection of three films starring Elvis Presley. G.I. Blues tells the musical tale of a singing G.I stationed in West Germany who dreams of opening his own club when he gets out of the service. King Creole stars Elvis as Danny Fisher, a singer with a knack for getting into trouble. But a romantic clinch with his mobster boss' girlfriend lands him in all sorts of hot water. Blue Hawaii rounds off the set with the tale of a U.S. serviceman who returns home to Honolulu and becomes a tour guide.
After Elvis Presley got out of the army in 1960, he was instantly ushered into this Paramount movie about an Oklahoma singer who (surprise) gets out of the army and wants to open a club. Making a potentially lucrative bet that he can seduce a cabaret singer (Juliet Prowse), Elvis instead falls in love. Refurbished from his rockabilly roots into a slicker model for early-'60s pop, the Elvis of this movie is the one who made almost 30 more just like it. The songs include the title track, plus "It's Not Good Enough for You," "Tonight Is So Right for Love," and "Wooden Heart." Directed by Norman Taurog, a studio veteran who made his first film in 1928 and worked numerous times with Presley as well as Jerry Lewis. (By Tom Keogh)
Before his handlers persuaded him to settle for the safety of a screen franchise, the young Elvis Presley had weightier ambitions as an actor. The 1958 King Creole, his fourth feature outing, hints at the underlying seriousness of his goals. Presley plays Danny Fisher, a New Orleans teenager struggling to graduate from high school while working in a sleazy French Quarter club to support his family. He's also characterised as a troubled youth with a dangerous temper and feelings of shame and resentment toward his meek, unemployed father (Dean Jagger). When Danny's gift for singing provides him with a potential career break (and the requisite excuse for Elvis's production numbers), his involvement with a ruthless gangster (Walter Matthau) and his sultry, alcoholic moll (Carolyn Jones) threatens both his future and his family.
King Creole boasts an impressive production pedigree (including producer Hal Wallis and director Michael Curtiz, the team behind Casablanca) and the supporting cast helps elicit one of Presley's most emotional performances. Jones in particular overrides the inherent clichés of her role: her self-loathing and sexuality are both palpable. Presley--still a few years away from the more sanitised image that would be integral to those franchise features--is young enough to be a credible teen, but more crucially he makes his rage and yearning largely convincing. (By Sam Sutherland).
Elvis Presley's seventh film was the first of his "Hawaii trilogy" (a group completed by Girls! Girls! Girls! and Paradise, Hawaiian Style). While its story is daft--the King has just been released from his army-posting in Italy and returned to the islands, where he's trying to avoid working in his father's fruit business--the music, including "Blue Hawaii," "Almost Always True" and the beautiful "Can't Help Falling in Love", is not. Angela Lansbury plays Elvis's mother, who can't seem to get through to him. The film is directed by Elvis's frequent collaborator, Norman Taurog.(By Tom Keogh).