Thoughts on King Creole

I got wind of King Creole because I was doing some Carolyn research again and found out that she actually starred opposite the King of Rock and Roll himself, Elvis Presley. I never really knew Elvis Presley’s work or songs. I mean I knew his musical style, his trademark hair, and all that that has become such an icon in pop culture, but I’d never watched him sing or perform before. So I had to watch this. King Creole would be the first time I would get acquainted with Elvis.

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King Creole with Elvis Presley, Carolyn Jones and Dolores Hart

King Creole is about this guy Danny Fisher (Elvis Presley) trying to find himself. He works at the club called the King Creole as a singer against his dad’s wishes after finally dropping out of school, pitting himself against the most powerful man in the city, Maxine Fields (Walter Matthau). Fields owns most of the establishments in town and wanted Danny to work in his club but Danny said no to the bully, so Maxine was determined to make him pay. He gets into trouble with the city mobsters because he don’t take orders from no one and he’s a pretty good fighter so he can stand up for himself. Along the way, he gets involved with two women, the innocent girl-next-door type Nellie (played by Dolores Hart) and the darker, worldly Ronnie (Carolyn Jones).

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Elvis with Dolores Hart (Nellie)
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Elvis with Carolyn Jones (Ronnie)

I really liked the show, especially Elvis’ character. I thought he was really good at playing his role as the boy becoming man, wanting to be his own person independent of the mobsters and his father. Danny does make mistakes, to the point of his father disowning him and I dunno, I guess that makes him relatable, kind of. He was actually a good actor and I was really impressed. This was apparently Elvis’ favourite show and was the one last one he’d shot before he got hauled up to the army.

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Elvis in the opening scene

Admittedly didn’t pay much attention to the songs cos I was too caught up in the story. Elvis is adorbs though. Really really liked his character. Much hawt.

Didn’t really get the Danny-Nellie chemistry. He’d met Nellie at the five and dime store where she worked and he had been in the middle of helping a bunch of hooligans steal stuff. He just strolled in singing with his guitar as a distraction and the very observant Nellie knew what his was up to and let him off. Guess she’s into the bad boy types. She was probably the kind of girl his father expected him to marry and raise a family with. He probably thought so too.

Lel he actually brought her to a hotel and everything and she was so lost at what was happening. When she kind of got it, she started tearing up, not because she was scared or angry, but I think because she was genuinely sad because she’d “liked him a lot” and I think she didn’t want it like that.

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Nellie and Danny

So he apologised and brought her home lol and they went and planned to get married and everything. I was so thrown off. Like what was going on. Whot. Lol. I don’t get. I don’t get how it feels so gentlemanly. It’s such a strange thing to be gentlemanly about but he was. :/ Don’t know how to feel about this. Towards the end they kind of broke up. I called it.

Much preferred Danny and Ronnie. Loved them all the way~

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Ronnie: Maybe we’ll meet some place by accident.

Danny: Well you tell me where you think the accident will take place and I’ll make sure I’m there.

It wasn’t something I’d expect the dark, weather-beaten Ronnie to say. The hint of the woman inside who still has hope for a real love despite her hard life.

Lol lol. And I absolutely loved the ending scene. The lines ❤

Danny, I’m not proud. I haven’t got much pride left. I know what can be and what can’t be… But… do you think that… maybe for a little while, you could make it the way I dreamed of? That you could love me, and that my dream could come true?

It wouldn’t be hard to love you.

Then love me, Danny. Take a day out of your life and love me.

My gosh, the romantic in me is just dying. Melts. Like the way she speaks and delivers them. Carolyn has such a lovely way of speaking.

She always get these amazing lines, Carolyn, and I just love them. The lines in King Creole I still get. The really famous one that helped her get an Oscar nomination I don’t. It’s in this clip from The Bachelor Party at about 4.51.

Say you love me. You don’t have to mean it. 

Lel didn’t get what she was talking about her whole long rant since the start of the party and didn’t get that line either. Maybe I have to watch the show to get her character and stuff. But yas. Her lines.

Only thing I didn’t like about Ronnie was her hairstyle lol and how she was pretty much kept drunk in the movie. Her character was a little hard to get at the start, at least until she and Danny ran away.

Can I spoil the rest of King Creole? So after this romantic scene where they’d run off from town, Maxine finds them and tries to kill them (did I mention that Ronnie is Maxine’s ‘property’? She’s apparently a prostitute. Didn’t catch that one) and he ends up shooting Ronnie before shooting himself cos his crony turned on him. Ronnie dies just like that in Danny’s arms and it’s most tragic. 😦 So I was thinking of writing a one-shot fanfic on that. Just to let her and Danny live together for a while before she gets shot and killed.

That’s pretty much where King Creole ends and if you love old stuff, black and white and all that, watch this. 🙂 Black and white so sexy I cannot.

Of course, being the fangirl I am, I had to do a bit of stalking cos Elvis left such an impression on me. I felt like his character Danny wasn’t far from his real character. So.

I found this little snippet of an interview from someone who had a booklet of candids Elvis and Carolyn did on King Creole and there was this part where Carolyn was interviewed on Elvis.

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What was it like working with Elvis Presley?

Oh, he was so young and innocent, and a dream to work with. He really placed himself into the role of Danny Fisher and was sensitive enough to convey the drama and nuances of his character.

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We spent lots of time together in between scenes and off-camera too, and I so enjoyed being with him and how respectful and inquisitive he was about becoming a fine actor. You couldn’t help but feel his honesty and great talent. In fact we’d sit at the piano and sing ballads from the old days, and of course we sang “As Long As I Have You,” which in the movie was my theme song [“Ronnie’s Theme”]. He’d sing harmony with that beautiful baritone of his. He also played the piano quite well.

Years later I met Elvis, accidentally, in Hollywood where I was living. He was riding in a limousine and I was out walking my dog. He spotted me and pulled over. We went over to my home and sat out front talking about old times and his love for “King Creole.” After a while he grew melancholy and confided in me, “Carolyn, I’ve lost my way home.” It was heartbreaking as he had grown weary and disillusioned with what movies they legally forced him to make over the years.

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We spoke awhile longer as his fondness for director Michael Curtiz [“Casablanca,” and “King Creole’] became more apparent. Curtiz believed Elvis was destined to become a great actor, but the Hollywood moguls had other plans in mind after he made “Flaming Star,” another excellent film of his. I’ll always remember Elvis with fondness and sentiment.” – Carolyn Jones (who played the prostitute, Ronnie, in their film together).

😥 Yea, it’s so sad. The showbiz. It made him do what he didn’t want to.

There was another interview with the actress who played Danny’s sister, Jan Shepherd, and she was recalling how Elvis gave her a teddy bear called Danny Boy for her birthday. ❤ He’d said that if he had a sister, he would have wanted it to be her. Then when she saw him a little later in his life, he’d changed. Less happy than he was in King Creole where he was always with people, singing and playing the guitar, having fun. Well, not anymore.

And then I looked him up on the wiki and found out he’d OD around his 40s, passed out and never woke up. He’d been taking lots of drugs and had packed a real tight touring schedule, pushing himself while being barely coherent onstage. And then just like that, he was gone. Showbiz.

I’m left wondering at whether he made it to heaven. (Yea, I have a kind of penchant for thoughts on the afterlife. It’s just one of those things I think about constantly at the back of my mind. It’s one of those things that matters to me. And it extends to worrying about the fates of my movie stars.)

That’s the problem with loving really old movies and movie stars. Half of them are really old and half of them are dead. And I grieve the losses as soon as I learn about them, even though I’m decades late. I really feel the grief, though. Like, it’s ok to die if you’re going to go to heaven. I wouldn’t spend that much time grieving if I knew that because you’d be in a better place. But it’s an absolute tragedy if you weren’t. It would be a permanent loss. And after living such a tiring life. Sighs.

I dunno. I really hope somewhere somehow he made it. And hopefully Carolyn made it too. I had a bout of this grief with Harvey Korman too, back at the start of the year, lol. And this just makes me wanna pray for all these people whom I’ve been so blessed by in their work and their shows/tv/ movies/whatever. Those who are still alive. Yea.

Ok I just made this really morbid but that’s what I felt anyways. It’s not just Elvis, I feel this with every movie star I fall in love with. It’s a thing. Cos ❤ themm.

All in all, it was a good movie and I liked it. Yas.

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