Based on a Harold Robbins novel (A Stone For Danny Fisher), King Creole casts Elvis Presley as failed student turned New Orleans nightclub singer Danny Fisher – a 19-year-old hustler out to make a fast buck.
Danny soon finds his singing talents in demand and sets his sights on the nightclubs of Bourbon Street with the help of ruthless manager Walter Matthau, becoming attracted to gangster’s moll Carolyn Jones at the same time.
Veteran director Michael Curtiz skilfully summons up the seedy, sweaty milieu in which Presley rises to stardom, and the Pelvis is given every opportunity to exercise those million-dollar vocal cords.
Originally envisaged as a vehicle for James Dean, Presley’s fourth feature film is arguably his best – and certainly his best acting performance.
Leiber and Stoller provide a great Dixieland-infused soundtrack.
Brian G Hutton