King Creole

King Creole (1958-07-02)

Drama | Music | Crime |

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  • Status: Released
  • Runtime: 116m
  • Popularity: 13.499
  • Language: en
  • Budget: $0
  • Revenue: $0
  • Vote Average: 6.462
  • Vote Count: 91

  • John Chard

    Elvis Noir as Rock N Roll comes to the King Creole. King Creole is directed by Michael Curtiz and adapted to screenplay by Herbert Baker and Michael V. Gazzo from the novel A Stone for Danny Fisher written by Harold Robbins. It stars Elvis Presley, Carolyn Jones, Walter Matthau, Dolores Hart, Dean Jagger, Vic Morrow, Paul Stewart and Jan Shepard. Music is scored by Walter Scharf and cinematography by Russell Harlan. Plot finds Presley as Danny Fisher, a high school student struggling at school who falls in with the wrong crowd just as family matters of the heart start to take a hold. He said anybody that disagreed with you got a punch in the mouth. Is that what I brought you up to do, to fight? The last film Presley made before going off to do his service in the army, King Creole is his best film. It's one of only a small handful that showed the star actually had some acting ability, here he gets a top director to work under and a very tidy cast put along side him for him to respond too. Presley immediately warmed to Curtiz (Casablanca/Mildred Pierce), wilfully doing as he was told by the wily old director, rewarding the film fan with a performance of some merit. Presley would often say it was his personal favourite of his own films, and it's not hard to see why. Though packed with musical numbers, many of them belters as well, the film always stays dramatic, in fact the tunes form part of the narrative, they are not frothy interludes slotted in purely for fan appeasement. Everything he touches turns to drink. It's not unreasonable to expect King Creole to be a fun movie, the kind where Elvis flies a plane, speeds around on power boats, or saves the word during a treasure hunt, because the poster art and DVD covers lend you to think that. Honestly, one shows the King with guitar wrapped around him, hips bent and a huge smile on his face, the other has the same Elvis pose but along side him is a smiling beauty bedecked in a banana patterned dress! I mean really, would you think this film is shot in moody black and white, features murders, theft, family upheaval, drunks, knife fights, wasted life and all round dirty tricks? That the King is snarly, aggressive and channelling Jim Stark from Rebel Without a Cause? Because all these things reside within this potent and most agreeable Elvis picture. Now you know. That's how you get into it. With the drama relocated from the New York of the novel to Bourbon Street New Orleans, and Danny Fisher changed from a boxer to a singer, atmosphere needed to be tight to the emotionally battered story. And it is, very much so, with Harlan (Ramrod/Riot in Cell Block 11) doing a great job of making The Big Easy come off as The Big Seedy. This is a world of back alleys where hoodlum youths dwell and of wet tinged streets barely lit by gas lamps, many of the night scenes shot here are worthy of film noir status, with a rain sodden mugging sequence truly top of the line. Conversely Curtiz also paints a bustling Orleans picture, with song clubs and street sellers proving to be the heartbeat of the city. It's a twin viewpoint of Orleans that matches other duality themes that drive the narrative forward, because Danny is caught between two girls and two night club owners. Cast are very good across the board, with Matthau menacing, Morrow weasel like, Jagger and Jones sad and pitiful, Stewart elegantly honest and Hart doing a neat line in confused love. Stand out tunes include the title song, "Hard Headed Woman", "Trouble", "Steadfast Loyal and True", "Lover Doll" and the quite beautiful "As Long As I Have You". It's not perfect, serious crime goes unpunished, the main motive driving on Matthau's club boss is rather weak and the two love interest girls are written lazily as love sick puppies. Yet this is still a cracker of a movie, where Presley bristles with magnetism and emotional conflict and Curtiz and Harlan rack up the requisite amount of impressive atmospheric visuals. 8/10

  • Wuchak

    _**Elvis living on Bourbon St. in New Orleans**_ In New Orleans, Danny Fisher (Presley) fails to graduate high school for the second time and so uses his singing talents at nightclubs to provide for his destitute father and sister. Walter Matthau plays a shady nightclub baron while Carolyn Jones plays his floozy. “King Creole” (1958) mixes the Elvis formula with B&W film noir. Despite the name, don’t expect any bayous; the story takes place entirely in and around the Bourbon St. district of New Orleans. Touted as one of the best Presley flicks because it’s a relatively dark & serious Big Easy drama meshed with a few of his musical performances, it’s not as compelling or believable as Elvis’ better dramas, like "Kid Galahad" (1962) or “Roustabout” (1964) nor as entertaining as his more farcical movies, like “Viva Las Vegas" (1964). The story, which came from a book by Harold Robbins, feels contrived. You have rival club owners (one good/one bad, of course) with a “sing for me or else” element and an eye-rolling subplot involving Danny’s father, a pharmacy, back alley toughs and black mail. The B&W photography doesn’t help. Hottie Liliane Montevecchi as the banana showgirl, Forty Nina, is the best part. How anyone thinks this is the best Elvis flick is puzzling. The film is overlong at 1 hour, 56 minutes; it was shot in New Orleans and Paramount Studios, California. GRADE: C

  • CinemaSerf

    Holyrood certainly didn't stint on the resources it put into this outing for Elvis. Michael Curtis took the helm and Harold Robbins provided the original novel as we follow the escapades of "Danny Fisher". He is a skint college flunkey who takes a job in the eponymous club. His boyish charms and his moves delight the audience, and they also attract the mischievous temptress "Ronnie" (Carolyn Jones) - who just happens to be the mistress of the club's dodgy owner "Maxie" (Walter Matthau). Dangers looms, but when he realises that there is money to be made with his crooning - for the right people - he finds himself immersed more and more on the wrong side of the tracks. Luckily for him, there is hope of redemption in the form of "Nellie" (Dolores Hart). She is a good natured girl who tries to get "Danny" to see past his short term life and look to a more honest, positive future. Will his new friends allows either of them that luxury? Easily the best film Presley ever made, in my book. Curtis creates a wonderfully grim and gritty environment for this story of love, lust, greed and ambition to play out. The star himself was a bit old for his role, but still he looks every inch the wayward teen - a sort of mini-Marlon Brando; and the songs - though not his best or most memorable, are worked well into the narrative. Nope, the ending is never in doubt, but there is bags of charisma on offer here from a star who was exactly that.