10 Outrageous Behind The Scenes Facts About Elvis's Movie Career

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10 Outrageous Behind The Scenes Facts About Elvis's Movie Career

Elvis Presley's music has stood the test of time, but one of the singer's other passions - his film career - never took off the way he hoped it would.

Elvis calls the shots on the set of "Loving You"Graceland

Sure, Elvis starred in 33 movies (sometimes starring in 3 in a single year) but while he dreamed of being a dramatic actor like James Dean he wound up making lots of lighthearted musicals.

Elvis entertains the crew on the set of "Girls! Girls! Girls!" Graceland

Revisit some of the King's best films as we share 10 surprising facts about his movie career:

1. Blue Hawaii

One of the singer's most popular movies and one of 3 he filmed in Hawaii, there was no shortage of drama on the set of this musical. The hard-partying star showed up for filming looking so pale the director had to recommend a tanning lamp for him.

You might notice some of Presley's female co-stars look tired in this movie too. The singer hosted nightly parties, and the director had to ban the cast from attending because they showed up looking like zombies the next day.

2. Clambake

Elvis hated this film, because to him it represented exactly the kind of goofy movie he didn't want to star in. In her book Elvis and Me, the singer's wife Priscilla Presley blames Clambake for making Elvis gain weight.

Elvis in "Clambake."presley-elvis / tumblr

In fact, Elvis ballooned from 170 lbs to 200, and producers forced him to take diet pills so he wouldn't look bloated on-screen.

3. Loving You

While Elvis is famous for his black hair and his "ducktail" haircut, the singer's real hair color is brown. He died it so it would look better on screen for Loving You, his feature film debut. Of course the iconic look stuck, and Elvis only stopped dying his hair during his time in the Army.

While "Loving You" was a hit song, it couldn't compare to the popularity of "Love Me Tender."

4. Love Me Tender

For Presley's first starring role in a movie, he went all-out to impress his cast-mates. Elvis showed up on set the first day of shooting with the whole script memorized. Not just his lines, but everyone else's too!

During a break in shooting, Elvis performed "Love Me Tender" for the first time on the Ed Sullivan Show. Pre-sales for the song were so huge that the record was Gold certified before it was even out, the first time that had ever happened.

But one thing fans didn't appreciate about the movie was Elvis's on-screen death. In fact, his mother Gladys Presley was so upset he had to promise he would never die in a movie again.

5. Aloha from Hawaii Via Satellite

Along with his musicals, Elvis made a number of concert films that did big business around the world. The most popular of all was Aloha from Hawaii, the first concert to ever be broadcast by satellite. More than 1 billion people in 40 countries around the world watched the concert, which was meant to make up for the fact that Elvis never did a world tour.

Elvis only ever did 3 concerts outside of America (all in Canada) because his manager Colonel Parker was an illegal immigrant from Holland, and he feared being caught and deported.

6. Wild in the Country

This movie was one of Elvis's few dramatic roles, and the only one of his 33 movies to lose money at the box office. The back to back flops of Wild in the Country and Flaming Star meant Elvis was typecast in more goofy musicals for the rest of his career.

7. Backstage relationships

Elvis was famous for his many romantic dalliances outside his marriage, and that applied to his movie career as well. All of Elvis's leading ladies are either confirmed or strongly suspected of having an affair with the King, and some of them had interesting careers afterwards.

Elvis and Jocelyn Lane.Elvis Women

Jocelyn Lane, who starred in Tickle Me, went on to marry the Spanish Prince Alfonso of Hohenlohe-Langenburg. Meanwhile, Dolores Hart, the leading lady in Loving You and King Creole, became a nun and eventually a Mother Superior. A documentary about her life was called God is Bigger Than Elvis.

Elvis and Dolores Hart.Everett

Speaking of King Creole, Elvis almost didn't get to make it...

8. King Creole

Elvis said his role as an up-and-coming musician in this movie was his favorite of all time, but he almost didn't make the film because he was drafted just before shooting began. Paramount studios managed to get a 60 day deferment after proving how much money they would lose if Presley backed out of the picture.

Notice the King looks different in this movie? The director made him shave his famous sideburns for the role.

9. Viva Las Vegas

Elvis and Ann-Margret on set.Karin Mednis Shaw

While fans love this movie, it was a big headache for Elvis and Priscilla, since his affair with Ann-Margret led to a showdown between the actress and Presley's then-fiance. For the record, Margret still called Elvis her "soulmate" in her memoirs.

The church in the famous final scene is the Little Church of the West, the oldest wedding chapel in Las Vegas.

10. Jailhouse Rock

To get the right look for his prison scenes, Elvis actually wore a wig over his iconic haircut. Pretty clever! The dance scene in this movie is one of Elvis's best, but apparently he was busting a move a little too hard.

One of Elvis's metal fillings was knocked loose by his dancing, and the singer spent a night in the hospital after it would up falling into one of his lungs.

Which of Presley's movies was your favorite? Share this list and tell us!

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