JAILHOUSE ROCK

(1957)
With Elvis Presley, Judy Tyler, Mickey Shaughnessy, Jennifer Holden, Dean Jones
Directed by Richard Thorpe
Black and White
Reviewed by JL and JB

I wanna stick around while I get my kicks     Not a bad little b-film on its own terms, but JAILHOUSE ROCK's main attraction is a snarling, hip-swiveling young bolt of lightning named Elvis Presley.  Whereas the following year's KING CREOLE might qualify as Elvis's best film, JAILHOUSE ROCK is his best showcase vehicle.  He may not have a polished acting technique, but Elvis's portrayal of arrogant, ex-con singing sensation Vince Everett is raw, genuine, and heartfelt.  He's also given plenty of opportunity to sing and swivel those famous hips to a memorable score by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller.  The "Jailhouse Rock" production number is perhaps Elvis's greatest musical moment on film.  If you don't "get" Elvis after seeing JAILHOUSE ROCK, there's no hope for you.  You're strictly squaresville, Daddy-O.  4- JL


     JAILHOUSE ROCK is one of the few films where Elvis is allowed to play a complex character.  We're not talking Hamlet here, but just compare his Vince Everett in this film to the smooth, smiling buffoons Elvis would play all through the sixties, and you will clearly see that what could have been a fine acting career quickly went out the window with Elvis's post-army films, in which the only acting Elvis usually did was feigning interest in the scripts. 3 - JB

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