Dismissed as lightweight entertainment devoid of any cinematic quality, the 31 narrative films of Elvis Presley are generally maligned as the reason behind the creative and physical decline of the singer during the 1960s. His films, condescendingly dubbed “vehicles” by rock music historians and biographers, are blamed for everything from his poor recordings of that period to the depression and boredom that led to drug use. (1)
The four musical dramas released before Presley’s induction into the army are the exception to the contempt in which his films are held, primarily because they do not follow the rigid formula of his post-army musical comedies. Three of the pre-army films refer to his image as notorious rock ’n’ roller, thereby securing a privileged position for them in the Elvis Presley texts by rock music critics and historians.