Neatorama presents a guest post from actor, comedian, and voiceover artist Eddie Deezen. Visit Eddie at his website.
The movie career of Elvis Presley was a Greek tragedy, much like Elvis' life itself. In 1956, the red-hot, eager, fresh-faced, 21-one-year-old came to Hollywood, signed a contract, and proceeded, over the course of the next decade and a half, to star in 31 films (plus two full-length documentaries).
After showing great potential in his first four movies (all of which are actually enjoyable to varying degrees), Elvis was drafted into the Army. His movie career after his military hitch, much like his musical career (not to mention Elvis himself), was never to be the same.
The resume of what any movie fan or serious critic now knows as "the Elvis Presley film" quickly sank into around two dozen or so mediocre grade-B movies where Elvis would routinely be cast as a semi-anti-hero who routinely got into some fights, sang a half-dozen songs, courted and eventually got the girl and succeeded in his chosen endeavor- against all odds.
As sad as Elvis’ career in films was, perhaps an even sadder facet of Elvis' career is his unrealized film projects, each one of which Elvis could fairly easily have gotten, but some factor (most usually Elvis' very greedy manager, Colonel Tom Parker, who relished the millions of dollars Elvis' lousy movies always reaped and the lucrative contracts he watched Elvis sign for more of the same.)
By the cruelest of ironies (at least to Elvis) no matter how terrible his progressively worsening films got, each one inevitably made a healthy profit at the box office. While Elvis and the Colonel were both paid very generously for Elvis to star in his crummy films, only Elvis did the suffering, singing to bikini-clad bevys of girls, reciting inane dialogue, and being reduced, by the mid-60's, to dancing "the clam" on a beach movie set. The Colonel happily raked in the dough, while Elvis had to watch his dreams of becoming "the next James Dean" go down the toilet, along with his reputation as "the King of Rock 'n' Roll.”
The following are a few of the potential films Elvis could have either starred in or been a part of (as one last sad irony, a great majority of the films on the below list are vastly superior to any Elvis actually appeared in):
The Girl Can't Help It (1956) Elvis was offered the chance to perform a musical number in this semi-classic, albeit very campy, Jayne Mansfield comedy. But the colonel didn't like Elvis sharing the spotlight with several other singers.