A high five to the King

Elvis Presley made 33 films, which critics calculate collectively took about an hour and a half to write. Most were mere bobbysoxer sustenance; a few, however, were pretty good. Here are the five notable ones.

Jailhouse Rock (1957)

Presley plays a happy-go-lucky construction worker imprisoned for accidentally killing a drunk he stops from beating a woman. Now embittered and on the outside, his merciless pursuit of musical stardom has turned him into a class-A jerk who alienates those who help him. Void of emotion, he finds that success is empty without someone to share the joy.

King Creole (1958)

From, I kid you not, "Casablanca" director Michael Curtiz; wise men say this is the best Elvis film. Having failed school, Presley takes a singing gig in a New Orleans club to the displeasure of a rival club’s mob-connected owner (Walter Matthau). Carolyn Jones (a/k/a Morticia Addams) plays the moll caught between them. Solid story, acting and a fractured father/son relationship reminiscent of "Rebel Without a Cause."


Follow That Dream (1962)

Elvis and his hillbilly family exploit a loophole to homestead a popular Florida beachfront where they establish a small fishing business. When it takes off, the area attracts all kinds including some Detroit undesirables who park a mobile casino there. The best of the bad Elvis films.

Elvis: That's the Way It Is (1970)

One of the first rockumentaries made, it documents the opening of Elvis’ engagement at what would be his Las Vegas home: The International Hotel, then the city’s largest. Great back story footage at MGM studios and a high-quality concert performance.

This is Elvis (1981)

Not strictly an Elvis movie, this pseudo documentary is a mix of film and music mortared with cleverly-shot footage of actors. Contains some fun inside bits including the only authentic video of upstairs Graceland. A must for Elvis fans though others may say, "No thank you, no thank you very much."

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