What Was Elvis’ Favorite Film Role? 10 Things You May Not Know About His Films

VIVA LAS VEGAS, Ann-Margret, Elvis Presley, 1964
Everett Collection

Jailhouse Rock was Elvis’ third film, but the first to really let him cut loose with his mesmerizing energy and physical moves. Those moves — including the pelvic gyrations that already had some parents worried about the King’s influence on their kids — were the centerpiece of this musical drama’s iconic dance sequence set to the killer title tune, choreographed by Elvis himself and unlike anything seen in musicals before.

That song was one of several belted out in the film by Elvis that were penned by legendary songwriters Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller (who played the band’s pianist in the film), along with “Treat Me Nice,” “I Want to Be Free” and “(You’re So Square) Baby I Don’t Care.”

All together Elvis made 31 films, here are some facts about 10 of them you may not know.

Love Me Tender Had a Different Name

LOVE ME TENDER, Richard Egan, Elvis Presley, Debra Paget, 1956,

20th Century-Fox Film Corp./Everett Collection

His first film, Love Me Tender, was renamed from The Reno Brothers after the song sold more than a million copies before the film even debuted.


Always Mamma’s Boy

UNSPECIFIED - JANUARY 01: Photo of Elvis PRESLEY; Elvis Presley with his parents Gladys and Vernon


Elvis reportedly refused to die onscreen because his mom cried seeing his demise in Love Me Tender.


Jailhouse Rock Causes Injury

JAILHOUSE ROCK, Elvis Presley, 1957

Everett Collection

Elvis lost a cap on his tooth sliding down the pole in Jailhouse Rock’s most famous dance number and inhaled it. A surgeon had to part his vocal cords to remove it from his lungs, endangering his singing voice, which mimicked the film’s storyline.


King Creole Was His Fav

KING CREOLE, Elvis Presley, 1958

Everett Collection

King Creole’s Danny Fisher was Elvis’ favorite role.


Follow That Dream Influenced This Musician

FOLLOW THAT DREAM, US lobbycard, center: Anne Helm, Elvis Presley, 1962.

Everett Collection

Tom Petty’s uncle, a crew member on Follow That Dream, took his then 11-year-old nephew to the set to watch Elvis film. Petty credits the encounter for inspiring him to go into music.


Kissin’ Cousins was Inspired by TV

KISSIN' COUSINS, US poster, Elvis Presley, sitting on bench from left: Elvis Presley, Arthur O'Connell, Elvis Presley, back row from left: Pamela Austin, Glenda Farrell, Yvonne Craig, 1964

Everett Collection

1964’s Kissin’ Cousins was inspired by the popularity of rural themed TV shows such as The Beverly Hillbillies and Petticoat Junction. A year later, Elvis would make Frankie and Johnny with Hillbillies star Donna Douglas.


Viva Las Romance

VIVA LAS VEGAS, poster art, from left: Elvis Presley, Ann-Margret, 1964.

Everett Collection

Though Priscilla was living in his home, Elvis and Ann-Margret fell in love while shooting Viva Las Vegas and continued their romance for some time after filming ended. She became known as “the female Elvis.”


Roustabout Carny Fun

Elvis did Roustabout when his famously controlling manager Colonel Tom Parker wanted him to do a film about carnies because Parker once was one.


Harum Scarum Was a Tribute

HARUM SCARUM, Elvis Presley, 1965

Everett Collection

Elvis wanted to make Harum Scarum because he admired Rudolph Valentino. He liked his onscreen turban so much that he wore it home.


Doubts About Clambake

CLAMBAKE, Elvis Presley (in helmet, with guitar), 1967

Everett Collection

Though he made $1 million for 1967’s Clambake, he had second thoughts about the role and submitted a doctor’s excuse saying he had saddle sores to delay his arrival on set.


What was your favorite Elvis Film? Have any fun trivia? Let us know in the comments!

1950s Musicals
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1950s Musicals

November 2020

Bright and brassy, toe-tapping musicals from the 1950s

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