“Jailhouse Rock” is a 1957 musical drama film that is a feature length version of Elvis Presley’s song of the same title. This film can also be confusing because several parts of this film paint a false image of jail, but viewers still see this as a classic and an innovative film. The overall intention was to share a story about how Vince Everett (Elvis) became a well-known musician who learned to play the guitar and sing while serving prison time for an accidental crime.
During the initial viewings in movie theaters, critics were stunned that an exterior shot of a prison in North Carolina was put into the film because MGM did not have permission to film there, according to North Carolina State Prisons director W.F. Bailey. The prison director expressed extreme disappointment over this, but the issue was that nobody ever contacted MGM if filming was allowed to occur outside of the prison or not. W.F. Bailey also was displeased with the interior jail shots because it can promote more prison violence in the North Carolina system, which he does not want to see, but nobody else saw this offensive.
Despite the issue with the prison scenes, the overall film had a nice balance between dialogue and rock n’ roll music scenes. The balance gave viewers an opportunity to have a wave of feelings on how the character develops from a prisoner to a well-known rock n’roll musician. It turns out that the jail scenes were likely one of the best scenes in this movie, as the filmmakers were able to show that this film is entirely for entertainment and not a sad emotional traditional story. The most memorable scene in jail was the actual song “Jailhouse Rock” where Elvis and a few other inmates began dancing and it was shown how Elvis had a controversial way of dancing.
The film and cinematographic techniques were not used too well to tell the story because the intention for this film was just pure entertainment rather than telling an actual story that has a beginning middle and end. Although those parts were clearly stated, the storyline and cinematographic techniques were all over the place which can easily detract viewers from the story and are just there to enjoy the entertainment of the new Rock N’ Roll Drama.
Elvis Presley was fairly a new musician and was a part of a new form of music, and this was his second year where he started becoming well known to the public community. However, film critics and parents were displeased during this time with the rock ‘n roll. As a result of this film, riots erupted across the country as well as being mocked by several newspapers as “musicians with profanity and a criminal record”. There also was an increase of rowdy behavior among teenagers, and this became a time where films became bad influences on several age groups.
This film today provides a good sense of humor how young musicians that came out of prison have a second chance to become very well-known and receive a good income. The music and sound effects were used at the correct time to give viewers a great show for everyone to be entertained and open minded how the film will play out. If this film was ever remade or colorized, this would be a much different experience than this original film because the experience for the viewers would be completely different as jail and having a tough life is very dark for many people.