Elvis in Hollywood — It was The King of Rock ’n’ roll’s greatest dream to become a movie star. But Elvis soon learned that acting was much more challenging that singing. As a singer, Presley personally called the shots, both in the recording studio and on stage. As an actor, though, others—producers, directors, writers—were in control, and the young actor felt compelled to travel the road they mapped out for him.
“I’ve talked to veteran actors,” Elvis said in a 1956 interview. “I’ve talked to a lot of producers and directors in Hollywood, and they all give you advice … they told me that I had good possibilities.” Still, he knew he needed guidance in his budding film career. “I have never read a line,” he admitted, “I never studied acting, never been in any plays or anything—I just got out there.” And yet he looked forward to the challenge. “I think I’m gonna enjoy it. I really do,” he predicted.
Over the next 11 years for Elvis in Hollywood, there were ups and downs as he starred in 31 theatrical films. Although his movie career is generally association with producer Hal Wallis at Paramount, where he appeared in 9 films, Presley actually made more pictures for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Starting with Jailhouse Rock in 1957 and ending with The Trouble with Girls in 1969, Elvis appeared in 12 films for MGM. The studio also produced Presley’s 2 documentary films in the early ’70s.
Considering that Presley worked with hundreds of producers, directors, costars, and other film people during those years, it’s not surprising that stories abound about Elvis in Hollywood. Choose from the links below to learn more about Elvis in Hollywood. — Alan Hanson
• Elvis's Hollywood Legacy: Some Hollywood film analysts have been reassessing Elvis Presley’s films.
• Elvis's Best Movies by Year: What if Elvis had made only one film per year?
• The Elvis Film Awards: Recognizing the best in Presley's 31 Hollywood movies.
• G.I. Blues Interviews: Elvis was still readjusting to civilian life when interviewed on the set of GI Blues in 1960.
• Elvis's Movie Contracts: Highlights of the 16 Hollywood contracts that Colonel Parker negotiated for Elvis.
• Examining Elvis's Hollywood Career: Many players had a part in Elvis's controversial film career.
• Elvis's Film Career in the Sixties: Presley gave control to the Colonel and Hal Wallis.
• Other Teen Idols in Hollywood: Elvis wasn't the only young rock 'n' roller who tried to make it in movies.
Behind the Scenes …
• Love Me Tender: Elvis’s first film caused problems for MGM in 1956.
• A Loving You Interview: Columnist Dick Williams talked with Elvis over lunch in 1957.
• Loving You in Theatres: How Loving You changed how Hollywood marketed movies.
• Jailhouse Rock Chronicles: Controversies created by the release of Elvis's third film.
• G.I. Blues: Elvis's "Red, White and Blue Star-Bright Show."
• Girl Happy Revisited: Taking another look at Elvis's 1965 MGM feature.
• Tickle Me: The Elvis movie that saved a Hollywood studio.
• Debra Paget: What she learned about Elvis in 1956.
• Lizabeth Scott: The careers of Loving You costars Presley and Scott were headed in different directions in 1957.
• Judy Tyler: Elvis’s Ill-fated leading lady in Jailhouse Rock.
• Tuesday Weld: A free spirit passed through Elvis's life.
• Laurel Goodwin: Elvis's love interest in Girls! Girls! Girls!.
Cast and Crew
• Hal Wallis: The Paramount producer who reigned over Elvis's Hollywood career.
• Flaming Star: Director Don Siegel recalls the making of Elvis's sixth film.
• Colonel Parker's Role in Elvis's Film Career: Let's stop blaming the Colonel for Elvis's disappointing movies.
• Colonel Parker Talks About Elvis Movies: In a 1964 Variety interview, Elvis's manager addressed criticism that he was mismanaging Presley's Hollywood career.