The picture is based on Harold Robbins’ novel, A Stone for Danny Fisher, but the locale has been switched to New Orleans, to Bourbon Street and to an indigenous cafe called the King Creole. Elvis Presley is a high school youth who is prevented from graduation by his attempts to take care of his weakwilled father and the density of his school teachers. He gets involved in a minor theft but thereafter goes straight when given a chance to perform in Paul Stewart’s Vieux Carre saloon. His brief fling at crime returns to haunt him when the local crime boss (Walter Matthau) decrees that Presley shall leave Stewart and come sing for him.
Essentially a musical, since Presley sings 13 new songs, including a title number, film runs a little long and the premise that Matthau would launch a minor crime wave just to get one performer for his club is a little shaky.
Presley shows himself to be a surprisingly sympathetic and believable actor on occasion. He also does some very pleasant, soft and melodious, singing. Carolyn Jones contributes a strong and bitter portrait of a good girl gone wrong, moving and pathetic.