Directed by Michael Curtiz
Nineteen-year-old high school student Danny Fisher works before and after school in order to support his father and sister Mimi. After Danny's mother died, his grieving father lost his job as a pharmacist, and moved his impoverished family to the French Quarter in New Orleans.
When he leaves the school grounds, three young men take him into an alley. Their leader, Shark (Vic Morrow), wants revenge for Danny hitting his brother. Danny defends himself so well that Shark invites him to join them. Later, Mr. Fisher tries to convince his son to stay in school. Instead he helps Shark's gang shoplift at a "five-and-dime" by singing "Lover Doll" to distract the customers and staff.
That night, Danny meets Ronnie again at "The Blue Shade" night club, where he is working. At first, she pretends not to know him, as she is accompanied by her boyfriend and the club's owner, Maxie Fields, aka "The Pig". When Maxie does not believe her, she claims she heard Danny sing once. Maxie insists that Danny prove he can sing. His rendition of "Trouble" impresses Charlie LeGrand , the honest owner of the "King Creole" club, the only nightspot in the area not owned by Maxie; he offers Danny a job as a singer.
Meanwhile, Mr. Fisher gets work as a pharmacist in a drug store, but his boss, Mr. Primont, is constantly demeaning him, much to Danny's embarrassment. That makes it easier for Danny to go against his father's wishes and take Charlie's offer. When Danny is a hit, Maxie tries to hire him. Danny declines his offer out of loyalty to Charlie.
Shark, now working for Maxie, suggests to Danny they beat up Primont to help his father. When Mr. Fisher leaves the store dressed in Primont's hat and coat (lent due to a rainstorm), Shark recognizes him, but decides to mug him anyway, as that would be even better for Maxie's purposes. Danny's father is so badly injured, he needs an expensive operation; Maxie pays for a specialist to perform it. Maxie later blackmails Danny into signing with him by threatening to tell his father about his involvement in the mugging, then does it anyway. Danny pummels Maxie for the betrayal and helps Ronnie leave him.
Maxie sends his henchmen after Danny. Shark and another gang member trap him in an alley. Danny knocks out one of his pursuers. Then Shark stabs Danny, but is himself killed. Ronnie finds Danny and takes him to her house on a bayou to recover. She asks him to forget her sordid past and pretend to love her. Danny replies that it would not be difficult and kisses her. Maxie drives up, accompanied by Dummy (Jack Grinnage), a member of Danny's former gang. Maxie fatally shoots Ronnie. Dummy, who had been befriended by Danny, grapples with Maxie; the gun goes off, killing its owner.
Danny returns to the "King Creole". He sings the lines "Let's think of the future, forget the past, you're not my first love, but you're my last" to Nellie in the audience. Mr Fisher shows up to listen to his son sing.
Elvis Presley as Danny Fisher
Steadfast, Loyal And True
Hard Headed Woman
Don't Ask Me Why
As Long As I Have You
King Creole is a 1958 American musical drama film directed by Michael Curtiz and starring Elvis Presley, Carolyn Jones, and Walter Matthau. Produced by Hal B. Wallis and based on the 1952 novel A Stone for Danny Fisher by Harold Robbins, the film is about a nineteen-year-old who gets mixed up with crooks and involved with two women.
Presley later indicated that of all the characters he portrayed throughout his acting career, the role of Danny Fisher in King Creole was his favorite. To make the film, Presley was granted a 60-day deferment from January to March 1958 for beginning his military service. Location shooting in New Orleans was delayed several times by crowds of fans attracted by the stars, particularly Presley.
The film was released by Paramount Pictures on July 2, 1958, to both critical and commercial success. The critics were unanimous in their praise of Presley's performance. King Creole peaked at number five on the Variety box office earnings charts.
The soundtrack song "Hard-Headed Woman" reached number one on the Billboard pop singles chart, number two on the R&B chart, and was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), while the soundtrack album peaked at number 2.