Jailhouse Rock Premieres

A publicity shot from the film showing Elvis Presley during the dance sequence in Jailhouse Rock
A publicity shot from the film showing Elvis Presley during the dance sequence in Jailhouse Rock

Historical Context

By 1957, Elvis Presley was one of the top pop stars in America and the leading figure of a new sound called rock and roll. He had begun his transition into movie making the previous year with the movie "Love Me Tender" - but it was his film "Jailhouse Rock" that is regarded as his most successful early film.

Presley was a controversial figure at the time in America, where his sexually provocative performances (though tame by modern standards) enraged the conservative establishment. Some detested Presley's character in the movie, who is sent to jail for manslaughter and is mentored by his cell-mate in music. He learns he has musical talent, and upon his release, becomes a star only for the fame to have a negative effect on his relationships.

Jailhouse Rock is notable for the dance sequence to the title song, often regarded as Presley's greatest on-screen moment. The choreography had been inspired by Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly, the latter of whom happened to be at the first rehearsal; he thoroughly enjoyed the final product.

Shortly after the film's release Elvis was drafted into the Army and after his exit in 1960 would focus on Hollywood films, many of which were critically panned.

Photo Info


Photographer: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.
Location taken: USA

Source: Wikimedia Commons

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