Elvis Presley plays Danny Fisher, a young, tough musician making his way in New Orleans. Matthau plays Maxie Fields, a kingpin of organized crime in the city, with Jones as Ronnie, a call girl with limited prospects. With its aspects of film noir, its relatively realistic depiction of the mix of poverty and ambition, and in the unsentimental relationships between the three principal characters, King Creole fits in the mold of films from that era like The Big Knife and Sweet Smell of Success. Most critics cite this as Presley’s best film, and best acting performance.
King Creole was one of Elvis Presley’s favorite of the films he made. This was also the last Elvis movie filmed in black and white. The director of King Creole was Michael Curtiz, who won the Academy Award in 1943 for Best Director for Casablanca. The movie was loosely based on a 1952 novel A Stone for Danny Fisher by Harold Robbins.