The world, as millions of Elvis fans knew it, came to an end in late 1957. Elvis Presley received his draft notice ordering him to report for service on December 20th. The draft board would agree to postpone his induction until March 24, 1958 so he could finish the movie, King Creole. Elvis would serve in the army for two years and be honorably discharged on March 2, 1960.
There is no doubt that Elvis made a number of uninspiring movies during his lifetime but there were several films that ranged from good to excellent. King Creole remains one of his better films and is still entertaining a half century later. It was also Elvis’ favorite film. Elvis trivia question: What was the only Presley film nominated for a Golden Globe award as best picture of the year in the musical or comedy category?
King Creole was directed by the legendary Michael Curtiz. He won the Oscar for best director for the film Casablanca. He also directed such films as White Christmas, The Adventures of Robin Hood, Captain Blood, and Yankee Doodle Dandy. This proved that with capable and creative direction, Elvis could make good movies.
The film, King Creole, also produced another interesting story. Elvis’ female co-star was Delores Hart who also starred in the film, Loving You. She would leave acting in the 1960’s and enter a cloistered convent as a nun. Today she is a Mother Superior but remains a voting member of the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and gets to vote for the best picture Oscar each year.
Elvis’ manager, Colonel Tom Parker, continued to produce many of the songs for Elvis’ films from his own writing factory. He hired writers to churn out songs which would hurt the overall quality of the films. Parker maintained an iron hand over Elvis Presley’s career and would reject any ideas, no matter how good, that would threaten that control.
The soundtrack album to King Creole was above average but not a superior effort. It is also one of those soundtrack albums that require the listener to be familiar with the film. Many of the songs come off better when they can be placed in context. There are three superior songs contained on this album. The title song “King Creole,” and “Trouble” were both written by Leiber-Stoller and not Parker’s lackeys. Both are rockers and “Trouble” would remain an Elvis concert staple for years. “Hard Headed Woman” remains a classic Elvis song and would be a number one single release.
“Steadfast, Loyal and True” was another Leiber-Stoller creation and “New Orleans” has a nice bluesy feel to it. However, such songs as “Lover Doll,” “Crawfish,” “Young Dreams,” and “Dixieland Rock” may fit within the context of the film, but taken on their own they are the first in a long line of filler songs that would grace Elvis’ soundtrack albums.
King Creole has some good and some not so good. While I recommend the movie this soundtrack is not an Elvis Presley classic. When I want to play some Elvis on the old stereo system King Creole does not come to mind.