Elvis Presley is remembered as the King of Rock and Roll, but did you know that he also starred in over 30 feature films? In fact, as a kid Elvis wanted to be an actor, not a singer. He worked as a cinema usher as a teenager, where he was introduced to actors such as Marlon Brando, James Dean and Tony Curtis. In 1956, Elvis’s dreams of the silver screen came true when he debuted in Love Me Tender – a movie titled after his hit song of the same year. With the song’s sales hitting over a million dollars (for the first time in music history) and the movie raking in over $4.5 million, it was lucrative year for the King.
However, Elvis’s film career wouldn’t always be so peachy. Although he desired to play more serious, dramatic roles in non-musical movies, Hollywood directors wanted to make the most of their star’s hybrid abilities. Movie after movie starring Elvis as a fictional entertainer was released, and while some, like Blue Hawaii, are still loved today, others were complete duds. In ’69 Elvis quit films altogether, disillusioned by unfulfilling roles and bad reviews.
As much as Elvis came to resent his film career, this clip from 1960 shows just how excited and committed he was to acting in the early days. It comes from one of his most-loved films, G.I. Blues, a love story filled with some of Presley’s greatest hits. Interestingly, parts of the movie were filmed while Elvis was on location with the Army in Germany, with the rest shot upon his return to America. No matter how many times we’ve seen this scene, it always makes us smile.