Elvis Presley is ‘Loving You’

“A rock-and-sock story about the rock and roll kid!”

That’s one of the taglines for Elvis Presley’s second movie, the sort of, not really, maybe just a little bit autobiographical “Loving You.”

In the film, Elvis stars as Deke Rivers, a young delivery man and singer who is discovered by a musician, Tex (Wendell Corey) and a publicist, Glenda (Lizabeth Scott). The pair help launch Deke’s career, but a few complications arise as another young singer, Susan (Dolores Hart) falls for Deke, while Glenda leads Deke on with promises of a bright future.

There are similarities between Elvis’ life and the film’s plot: Like Deke, Elvis was a delivery man before launching his music career; Elvis and Deke’s music both had parents and concerned citizens worried that they were bad influences on kids and teenagers; Elvis’ band members, Bill Black and Scotty Moore, served as his band members in the film; Deke often broke his guitar strings, like Elvis did; and Glenda employs many Col. Parker-esque tricks to get Deke more publicity and fans.

Can you spot Elvis' parents in this scene of the movie? You can find Vernon and Gladys Presley in the audience while Elvis sings.

Can you spot Elvis’ parents in this scene of the movie? You can find Vernon and Gladys Presley in the audience while Elvis sings.

The movie isn’t an actual Elvis autobiography, though. Writer/director Hal Kanter visited with Elvis and his family in December 1956 to get a feel for the young superstar and what his life was like. He enjoyed Gladys’ fried chicken and joined Elvis on a sight-seeing tour of Memphis. He also traveled to Shreveport, Louisiana, to watch Elvis perform on the Louisiana Hayride. He incorporated a lot of elements from those performances into the script – including the twin girls clapping together one-handed, which actually happened during one of Elvis’ Hayride shows.

"Loving You" features seven Elvis songs, including "(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear" and the title track.

“Loving You” features seven Elvis songs, including “(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear” and the title track.

In another art-imitates-life moment, Elvis’ parents are in the audience in the final scene – and they often watched their son’s concerts.

“Loving You” is Elvis’ second movie, but his first in color. Elvis began dying his natural blonde-brown hair black for this movie because he thought it would show up better on film, like Tony Curtis’ hair. Elvis dyed his hair for the rest of his life – except for his time in the Army.

Elvis' co-star Lizabeth Scott was also a film noir star.

Elvis’ co-star Lizabeth Scott was also a film noir star.

Famous costume designer Edith Head worked on this movie, and many of Elvis’ movies. Head designed costumes for many movies and TV shows, including Audrey Hepburn in “Sabrina” and “Roman Holiday,” Elizabeth Taylor in “A Place in the Sun,” Gloria Swanson in “Sunset Boulevard,” Bette Davis in “All About Eve” and Ingrid Bergman in “Notorious.”

“Loving You” also sees Elvis’ first character on-screen kiss by actress Jana Lund, who plays a young fan who ambushes Deke in his dressing room. Dolores Hart received the first on-screen kiss initiated by an Elvis character at the end of the movie. Hart also starred with Elvis in “King Creole.” Hart eventually left her acting career behind to become a nun.

Elvis took a few minutes out of his busy schedule to meet and greet with fans.

Elvis took a few minutes out of his busy schedule to meet and greet with fans.

It’s “Loving You”’s 60th anniversary – the movie premiered in Memphis on July 10, 1957, at the Strand Theater, and it was released nation-wide on July 30. In a very rock ‘n’ roll move, Elvis did not attend the premiere, but took his date Anita Wood and his parents to a private midnight screening.

Do you love Elvis movies? Keep learning! We have a new Elvis movie podcast, Starring Elvis Presley, where we’re covering every Elvis movie in chronological order. We’re up to “Viva Las Vegas” now, but you can check out all of the episodes here on Graceland.com.

Also, watch this episode of The Gates of Graceland featuring Elvis biographer Peter Guralnick, who discusses Elvis’ Hollywood career:

 

Don’t forget – we have Elvis movie artifacts galore in our new museum, Elvis: The Entertainer Career Museum. See everything from scripts to costumes to props and more. Make your plans to see the museum when you visit Graceland.

Now it’s your turn – tell us your favorite songs and scenes from “Loving You.”


12 Comments

  1. BethAnne Weatherford

    My favorite songs in Loving You are the title track and “Let’s Have a Party.” Favorite scenes are the one with Deke Rivers in the graveyard telling his manager where his name came from and when Deke sings “Loving You” after he explains the whole truth to the audience.

  2. Ev Dorn

    I do remember seeing Elvis’s parents in the audience of one of “Deke’s” performances. His mom was leaning into the aisle as she clapped and clapped!

  3. Franci Mendiola

    How can one pick just one song, they’re all sooo good.
    Got a lot of loving to do, it’s happy and, makes you want to get up and dance

  4. Rita Zinn

    The scene from Teddy Bear and singing to his parents in the audions

    • joe davis

      So sad when gladys died. I think elvis would have lived a lot longer if his mamma was around

  5. Franklin R. Barefield Jr.

    Loving You is a great song, but on the FTD the New Bonus Masters, there are quite a few that have that raw power that Elvis delivers as if he was at SUN. One Night and One Night (of Sin), are my favorites. With this reviewing of LOVING YOU, it seems very funny why as a fan of Elvis movies you can not find this movie at the Graceland shops in that area. Also looking this movie on-line you can’t find it for DVD without it being extremely expensive. Will the EP enterprises be making this movie available soon?

  6. Rocky

    Any word when this film will be released on Blu-ray?

  7. John Montgomery

    Now how do you pick “a” song when they are all great?
    His gospel songs due tug at a lot.
    Long live the “King’s” songs.

  8. stephen stathis

    I like the ending when Ms. Scott tells Deke: “stop being a mama’s boy .” Kanter must have picked up on EP’s closeness to Gladys. The actor that Elvis fights after singing Mean Woman Blues was also in G.I. Blues in a fight scene. Saw the movie in ’57 and it was like a concert as the females in the theater were screaming when EP sang. Too bad his mother was so depressed and couldn’t enjoy her son’s success: his leaving her.

  9. Bruce Roy

    “Loving You” is a tough one to find. 2 weeks ago, I was fortunate to find a shrink wrapped version of “Loving You” at a local odds and sods shop in Ottawa, Canada for, get this, $5! And the bonus – with that purchase it completed my personal collection of all 31 dramatic films.

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