A more serious-minded Elvis Presley picture than most, King Creole was originally intended to be a non-musical with James Dean in the starring role. Directed by skilled studio veteran Michael Curtiz (Casablanca, Mildred Pierce), Elvis displays an acting ability that had only been hinted at in previous roles. Presley always said that Creole was his favorite film; it and the previous year's Jailhouse Rock are most likely his best features. He was drafted into the army soon after the film's release, and, upon returning in 1960, he cut back on performing music to concentrate on his acting career. Throughout the 1960s, he put out two or three movies a year; unfortunately, the pictures remained mostly repetitive, empty serials designed to capitalize on his name and music. While garish, King Creole is nonetheless more of an attempt at a real movie. Like many Elvis movies, this one is produced by the legendary Hal B. Wallis; unlike the others, Creole is based on a well-respected work of fiction, Harold Robbins' A Stone for Danny Fisher.