Forget the total crap Elvis was forced to make. This is the era to see him at his best.
Vince Everett (Elvis) gets his paycheck and buys a round. A bar fly gets some and her boyfriend objects. He makes the mistake of pouring a drink on Vince. As a result Vince kills him in a fight and ends up in prison on a manslaughter rap.
His cellmate is former country singer Hunk Houghton (Mickey Shaughnessy). His bookings started getting slim and he robbed a bank. He tells Vince how the system works. Cigarettes are the currency for favors. Vince is totally broke and says he’ll do it without the cigarette trade. His awful haircut changes his mind.
Vince is assigned to the coal yard. The prisoners hate the new warden. That night they start yelling from their cells. Hunk gets his guitar and sings “One More Day.” Then Vince gives it a try and sings “Young And Beautiful.” The cons dig it.
A state investigating committee is coming up for a look see. The warden wants to appease them by putting on a talent show that’s to be broadcast on TV. Hunk convinces Vince to appear…that’s after he learns some guitar. His playing is terrible. In the show he sings “Treat Me Nice.” The fan mail pours in only the warden won’t let him know about it. Hunk doesn’t say anything either and talks him into a fifty-fifty contract after he gets out.
The months go by and Vince is released. Before he leaves the warden gives him the fan mail. Now that he’s out he buys a guitar from a pawn shop and goes to a bar owned by Hunk’s pal Sam Brewster (Percy Helton). Vince thinks he’s getting a singing job but Sam only wants him as a bar boy.
Vince goes on stage anyway and does a number but no one pays attention. It’s even worse when a drunk keeps laughing while talking with his girlfriend. Vince loses it and smashes his guitar on the man’s table. Taking it all in is record company exploitation employee Peggy Van Alden (Judy Tyler).
She gets Vince to cut a record but he has to do it again with some punch. They take it to Geneva Records where their biggest star has racked up a number of gold records. Jack Lease says he’ll play the tape over the phone for the boss. The next day he says the man didn’t like it and that’s that.
Peggy gets him a contract with a smaller label and Vince is fast becoming a sullen jerk. At a party at Peggy’s house he insults her parents and their guests and walks out. Then he puts the moves on Peggy outside. That gets her attention.
The next day they stop in a record shop to see how his record is doing. It’s flying off the shelves. They go to a booth to hear it. Uh-Oh. It’s a cover version from Geneva. Vince storms into Lease’s office and slaps him around and storms back out.
Vince convinces Peggy they should start their own label, Laurel records. She’ll get forty percent to be the promoter while Vince gets sixty percent. She convinces her DJ friend Teddy Talbot (Dean Jones) to play it. He does and a career is born. Vince starts having big parties and Peggy isn’t such a romantic interest anymore.
Hunk is released and wants him to make good on their deal. Vince agrees to put him on a TV show. Now there’s a corny production number of “Jailhouse Rock.” After that it’s Hunk’s turn. The producer can’t stand his old out of style singing and cuts the number from the show.
Vince reminds him about hiding his fan mail and cuts the contract to ten percent. Then it’s off to Hollywood and the movies. The studio has him run around town with co-star Sherry Wilson (Jennifer Holden). She soon falls for him.
At another big party Vince’s lawyer Mr.Shores (Vaughn Taylor) tells him about a nice offer from Geneva Records to buy Laurel. Vince tells Peggy he’s selling the company they built and she runs out. Later Hunk has had it with his attitude and decides he needs an adjustment. Then the worst happens.
The movie comes to a predictable end but it’s supposed to and it fits right in. If you’re looking for a good Elvis movie then this one is what you’re looking for. My favorite of his is “King Creole” (1958). Other songs Elvis sings in this one include, “(You’re So Square) Baby I Don’t Care”, “I Want To Be Free” and”Don’t Leave Me Now.”
In 1947 Judy Tyler was Princes Summerfall Winterspring on “Howdy Doody.”
This was Jennifer Holden’s first movie. Her career ended after three.