A few days ago, Bill Crider posted a link to an article on musicians who hit the mark in a movie role. One of his favorites was Elvis Presley in King Creole. I didn’t remember much about that film, but I mentioned liking him in the western CHARRO!, a straight movie role, and his last I believe, that had him singing only one song(and that was only the title song over the opening credits.
That got me to thinking about the last time I saw it: probably forty years ago maybe. As I own none of his movies, where could I find a copy right away. I knew the perfect place to go. My brother-in-law is six years older than me and a huge Elvis fan. If anybody had a copy, he would.
So I watched it early this morning and must say that, while I enjoyed it(I love westerns), my remembrances of the King’s acting ability were misplaced. He did a competent job, but just. He would never have been a threat to win any kind of acting awards.
This is not the Elvis of all those peppy musicals. His face has a lot of beard stubble.
Elvis is Jess Wade, a man that had been a member of Vince Hackett’s(Victor French) gang of outlaws. He’d taken off more than a year previous to look for gold. He’d also stolen the heart of Hackett’s girl friend, Tracey Winters(Ina Balin).
Hackett couldn’t abide either action. He steals the victory cannon from Mexico City, celebrating the defeat of Maximillian I, cast from solid gold and trimmed in pure silver. One of his men is wounded in the neck and dies in the desert.
Tricking Wade into the area with a ruse of a message from Tracey, Hackett captures and brands him with a scar on his neck, having already leaked word that Wade is the wounded man. He’s now wanted on both sides of the border: $10,000.
His friend, Sheriff Dan Ramsey, is the only one who believes him innocent. When he’s shot by Billy Roy Hackett, a whining little punk, the brother of Vince, who’s brave only because big brother is always getting him out of trouble. Wade locks him up and takes the Sheriff’s job until he recovers.
Vince threatens to level the town with the cannon unless Billy Roy is released. Now Wade has most of the town against him as well as the Hackett gang. He needs that cannon and Vince to clear his name.
Other familiar faces appear in the movie. Paul Brinegar(Wishbone on Rawhide) is the town doctor and James Sikking(an officious Captain in one of the Star Trek movies) is a member of the gang specializing in cannon fire.
An interesting little movie, probably my favorite Elvis(I never was very big on musicals), despite his limited skills as an actor.
I also remember having the Harry Whittington novel many years ago. Whatever happened to it I’ll never know.
Here’s a clip of the title song with stills from the movie: