Jailhouse Rock - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Jailhouse Rock Reviews

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March 15, 2015
Vince was a douche but the movie left us with an iconic dance scene
½ November 2, 2015
Elvis brings in a good performance as a young brash, arrogant loner in this 50's Rock n roll movie its typical of those Rock movies at the time but this is one of the better ones with Presley clearly having charisma that shines and also acting ability.
½ June 28, 2015
1957 Elvis is perhaps the best Elvis. It's twenty years away from the Fat Vegas years that ended with his tragic death, ten from his failed marriage to "Naked Gun" staple Priscilla, one after his film debut, "Love Me Tender". It shows an Elvis not yet let down by what life had to offer, an Elvis excited by his success and willing to smolder for the camera so long as it pleased his adoring fans.
"Jailhouse Rock", his third film and his first for Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer, is a black-and-white musical drama that hardly paints its lead star as a saint. The majority of Elvis' movies altered their then-controversial star into an ersatz Southern gentleman, a good guy so incapable of doing any wrong that all we could do is sit back, appreciate his presence, and savor his musical abilities. "Jailhouse Rock" all but shifts every preconceived notion regarding the star's cinematic persona - here, he is a rough-and-tumble punk with a mean streak and a short attention span when it comes to women. It's easier not to root for him here than it was in "Viva Las Vegas", and that's a problem when a film is so in love with its protagonist that every single character seems to wait on them hand and foot.
Missing from "Jailhouse Rock" is the sense of fun his other films carried on their shoulders; his best, 1964's "Viva Las Vegas", was so irresistibly colorful and spry it was impossible not to want to take a vacation in Elvis' Vegas. And even his worst moments (most of his films were bad, so it's best not to talk about them), were frothy, delectable pieces of escapist fluff that turned our frown upside down as they sneakily took George Washingtons out of our wallets. Since "Jailhouse Rock" plays it straight, with its borderline soap operatic drama, we find ourselves less chirpy and more down in dumps, wondering how our beloved King of Rock 'N' Roll can really be a youth capable of manslaughter, how he can be capable of beating up every man who does him wrong, how he can ignore Judy Tyler as she gives him her love and a record deal. I would dramatically cry if I cared more; but a movie as clichéd and hard-bitten as this one doesn't allow such emotions to pour out.
Elvis never had much talent as an actor, unlike Frank Sinatra, the previous generation's go-to musical sex fiend, so most of his projects centered on his strengths - and as an actor, those said strengths were limited. He only seemed to shine with a mic in hand or when an Ann-Margret wannabe fell into his arms without much hesitation. Since "Jailhouse Rock" was only his third movie, Elvis' inexperience in the film industry is more clear than it should be; he's so stiff in his non-musical scenes that one can only wish there was a way to give talented people more of a personality when it came to selling themselves onscreen. But the musical sequences, as few and far between as they are, burn in the memory. We've all seen the number the film has become famous for, and, in the context of the movie, it harnesses nostalgic power unseen by his other films. I was entertained by "Jailhouse Rock", but, in the end, it pays more attention to its star than the audience interested in its star. It's too bad the star isn't much of an actor. Then we'd have something.
March 16, 2015
Woah, Elvis got real. A much darker origin story for Elvis- that genuinely gets surprisingly dark for a pop music movie- in which a guy who has major anger issues and a huge chip on his shoulder for no explained reason rises to the top and wallows until he gets punched in the neck and reconsiders some of his choices. I wish this went even darker, like maybe throw Robert Mitchum in there or something as the other prisoner, but a pretty solidly enjoyable film either way.
February 25, 2015
So so Elvis movie, pales in comparison in every aspect to his next movie King Creole.
November 30, 2014
one of the beat films. i love them all
August 17, 2014
Elvis Presley plays a short-term convict who rockets to success after appearing on a nationally-televised prison talent show (Hey, that could possibly be a real thing that actually happens). Of course, there are also the usual plot points about the problems of fame and the pitfalls of romance. Elvis is an awkward actor even in his best moments here, but this is probably the best film he ever appeared in. This is largely because the soundtrack debuted such classic tunes as "Treat Me Nice", "(You're So Square) Baby I Don't Care", and the immortal title track.
June 2, 2014
Sometimes amusing fare that'll only really be remembered for introducing the song Jailhouse Rock itself.
October 20, 2013
When looking at the greatest performers who ever lived, one who would definitely be near the top of the list is Elvis Presley, the "King of Rock and Roll." While I was born long after his death in 1977, I do strongly believe that Elvis's music is pure gold in the development of rock music. "The King" also succeeded well in the film world, with his most famous film being the one I'm about to review, Jailhouse Rock, named after the awesome song about a "warden who threw a party in the county jail". And while the story is clichéd and sometimes cheesy to experience, Jailhouse Rock is a fun Elvis film, and is an entertaining look at the development of celebrity stardom.

In Jailhouse Rock, Elvis plays Vince Everett, a young, tough, and "dangerous" country boy who ends up in prison after accidentally killing a man in self-defense. In prison, Vince develops a bond with cellmate and former country singer Hunk Houghton (Mickey Shaughnessy), who suggests Vince that he should perform in the prison show. When that goes over well, Vince decides to perform for a living, and after being released from jail sentence, he teams up with music expert and attractive Peggy Van Alden (Judy Tyler) to achieve success in the music industry. After a failed attempt at making a hit, the two decide to form their own record company, and there, Vince goes huge in the market, but his fame cause Vince to go overboard in his wealth and attitude.

Obviously we know how the story is going to end, cause the film stars the great Elvis Presley, where he becomes a singing sensation and becomes a nicer man. This is a very predictable story, and in a couple of places, becomes very goofy at times, especially in a scene involving Elvis in a "life-threatening" situation with his voice. I didn't feel moved here cause I already knew how it was going to end even without watching it. But why do I still give it a fresh score? Well, it's the personality of the great rock icon that makes Jailhouse Rock an enjoyable film and not a disappointing failure like Kissin' Cousins was.

When watching Jailhouse Rock. I was surprised at the rough side of Elvis in this one. When watching some of his other films, like Kissin' Cousins, Elvis portrayed a nice man who has plenty of charm to impress women and always sung in places of love. Here, Elvis plays a selfish and greedy man who takes advantage of women, is obsessed with money, and only cares about himself. What fascinated me about Elvis's performance is that while he played a rude and selfish celebrity, I was still impressed with Elvis's personality and charisma presented on screen. Also impressive is Judy Tyler's role as the love interest. She may not be the greatest actress in the world, like Ingrid Bergman or Judy Garland, but Tyler managed to act well with Elvis in the cheesy, predictable moments I mentioned earlier. It's sad that she died not too long after production cause I felt she would have had a strong career after this film.

What makes Jailhouse Rock different from other musicals, particularly Elvis films, is that all the songs are performed either on stage or in the studio, kind of similar to the musical numbers in the even more excellent film Yankee Doodle Dandy. It's these songs that makes Jailhouse Rock worth watching, and make Jailhouse Rock the entertaining film it is. Songs include the catchy "Treat Me Nice", the fun "You're So Square", the awesome ballad "Don't Leave Me Now", and of coarse, the excellent title number, "Jailhouse Rock", featuring awesome choreography that Elvis staged himself! It's easily the most fun sequence in the whole movie, and makes the whole film worthwhile, even for non-Elvis fans who can't stand the lip-motions, the hip-shaking, or the vocals.

While the story is very goofy in places and extremely predictable about a man's rise to stardom after serving time in prison, Elvis's surprisingly rough and "dangerous" side performance and the musical numbers makes Jailhouse Rock one of the more entertaining Elvis films out there. If you're wondering why Elvis was the excellent entertainer he was, then Jailhouse Rock is the proof of discovery.
August 17, 2011
Jailhouse Rock is the best Elvis movie ever. And you see here the wildest Elvis as you've never seen in the other Elvis movies.
½ March 29, 2013
Honestly, if it was any other actor playing Vince, I would've turned this off. The songs are great, but the movie is just too fast paced. It was definitely entertaining though!
January 25, 2013
It's in black & white but i still like the movie.
½ January 24, 2013
I am, admittedly, not a huge fan of Elvis. He has just never been my thing, I've always preferred The Beatles and other post-50s rock groups. Even compared to other artists in the 50s, I prefer Chuck Berry to Elvis Presley. So with my lack of enthusiasm for Elvis in mind, I did mostly enjoy watching "Jailhouse Rock". I haven't seen too many Elvis movies really...I sort of saw "Blue Hawaii" and "Viva Las Vegas" when I was much much younger, but I can barely remember them. Here Elvis shows his acting range by playing himself as a rebellious young man who has a terrific lawyer that gets him only 20 months in prison for murder. Once he is out he does his best to rise to fame as a music star. The film's iconic sequence for the title song is pretty much the best part, as it is one of the few Elvis tunes I genuinely like, but the sequence itself is well choreographed. The film is fairly average on the whole, but it is iconic and probably (based purely on what I've heard and barely seen) one of Elvis' best features.
December 27, 2012
So-so story, and really just a platform for Elvis Presley's vocal and musical talents. But what talents they are! The music is great and Elvis puts in a convincing performance. Good support from Judy Tyler (especially) and Mickey Shaughnessy.
October 14, 2012
Elvis is just great in his 3rd movie...This does not get full marks because the last 5 mins are pretty shallow...The Jailhouse Rock dance number is a total classic.

"That ain't tactics, honey. That's just the beast in me"
August 17, 2012
It's definitely one of the much better Elvis flicks, even though it does follow the same formula of Scene-Set up Song- Sing Song- Woo Woman- Next Scene- Set up Song- Sing Song- Woo Women. Elvis's charisma masks this as well as the film's male chauvinistic characteristics. One Last note, Judy Tyler died not long after filming ended, in a car accident with her husband. Elvis was so emotionally hurt, he would never be able to watch the film once released.
June 12, 2012
Great music and a convincing performance by Elvis almost makes you forget the silly plot and the unrealistic look into prison life. Other than that, the title song is still catchy as ever.

Grade: B
June 6, 2012
one of elvis' best movies full of hit songs
March 31, 2012
Fantastic movie musical, even showcasing some great acting talent from The King.
½ February 27, 2012
For me, this is the Elvis Presley film that stands out above the rest.

All the other Elvis movies seem to be very formulaic to me, and while this one contains some of those elements, it's packaged in a way that makes it much fresher to me.

This is probably to do with Mickey Shaughnessy's solid performance, and the killer soundtrack, which contains some of my favourite songs from the King.
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