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By Bad Seed
Song by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller
Excerpt from Film "King Creole" (1958)
Directed by Michael Curtiz
Hal Wallis, the producer, acquired the rights to Harold Robbins' novel "A Stone For Danny Fisher" with the intentions for it to be a non-musical vehicle starring either James Dean or Ben Gazzara. Following the death of Dean in 1955, the project was shelved. In January 1957, following the success of an Off-Broadway stage version of the story, Presley's name was suggested as a possible replacement. After negotiations were completed, the character of Fisher was changed from a boxer to a singer and the location was moved from New York to New Orleans.
Michael Curtiz, a noted director during the golden era of the Hollywood studio system whose famous productions included The Adventures of Robin Hood in 1938, Yankee Doodle Dandy in 1942, and in the same year, Casablanca, was hired to helm the project.
After seeing an early copy of the finished film Presley thanked Curtiz for giving him the opportunity to finally show people the potential he had as an actor. King Creole was said to have been Presley's favorite role of his entire career, and he had high hopes of returning from the army to pick up from where he had left off. However, despite being better received by the critics than his previous films, and ticket sales being very good, he never got the chance to be taken as seriously as an actor again.