Friday, August 16, 2013

Looking for Trouble

August 16th marks another year since Elvis Presley passed away, and once again, thousands of fans gather at his Graceland estate in Memphis, TN, to pay their respects. If you're a fan like me, but you can't make it to the "Elvis Week" festivities this year, perhaps you'll mark the day by cranking some of his tunes or popping in one of his many movies.

Elvis made 31 scripted films in 13 years. Many of them have been dismissed by critics, which is unfortunate because Elvis always wanted to be taken seriously as an actor. Sadly, even as the highest-paid actor in Hollywood, Elvis just didn't get many opportunities to do serious work, and he grew to hate the kinds of roles he was often forced into. From time to time, though, Elvis made waves when he got the chance to really show what he could do!

When Elvis left for the Army in 1958, he wasn't sure if he'd still have a music career when he got home or not. He was afraid Rock 'n' Roll was just a passing fad, and nobody would remember him a couple years down the road. After completing work on King Creole, however, Elvis felt sure he could come back to a serious acting career. It's sad that Elvis' movie career didn't end up the way he hoped, but this film is still often held up as one of the best examples of Elvis' acting ability, and it boasts one of his strongest dramatic plotlines.

Directed by Michael Curtiz (Casablanca) and co-starring Walter Matthau and Carolyn Jones (who would go on to star in The Addams Family), this flick features Elvis in the role of Danny Fisher, an underprivileged, inner city youth in a story that's one part teen angst (a la James Dean) and one part film noir.