Elvis Presley’s Movie Debut: “Love Me Tender”

On November 15, 1956, Elvis Presley made his movie debut in Love Me Tender as the film premiered at New York’s Paramount Theater.   The film is set in Texas after the U.S. Civil War.

In the movie, Elvis plays Clint Reno, the brother of a former Confederate soldier.  If you are going to make a movie with the most popular rock and roll star of the era, apparently someone thought it would be a good idea to put him in a period piece.

Presley started his music career with Sun Records in 1954, and then his first album for RCA was released in March 1956.  So at the time of the release of Love Me Tender, Presley had only been recording music for a few years.  Also, he had made his first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show on September 9, 1956, only a few months before the release of Love Me Tender.

The film initially had the title, The Reno Brothers.  But after advance sales of the single “Love Me Tender” went through the roof, the movie was renamed after the song.  Elvis sang “Love Me Tender” in the movie, along with three other songs.

The film was similar to Elvis’s later films in that it combined a story with Elvis singing. But it differed from many of his later films in that he did not play the lead role in Love Me Tender.  Additionally [spoiler alert!], Presley’s character died at the end, which would have been unthinkable in his later movies.

You may watch the entire Love Me Tender below.

What is your favorite Elvis Presley movie? Leave your two cents in the comments.

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