Today in American History — Nov. 15, 1956

On Nov. 15, 1956, Elvis Presley‘s first Hollywood movie, Love Me Tender, debuted at New York’s Paramount Theater. Originally entitled The Reno Brothers, the movie co-starred Richard Egan and Debra Paget. Elvis plays Clint Reno, the younger brother to Egan’s Vance, a Confederate soldier.

Clint and Vance are both in love with Kathy (Paget), but Clint marries her after hearing that his brother has been killed in the war.  Turns out, Vance was alive, and when he returns to Texas, trouble ensues. While not dead, Vance is in a jam: he has robbed a train of some Federal money, and the Feds are on his trail. Vance is devastated about losing his love, who still has feelings for her brother-in-law.

Vance wants to return the stolen money, but his Confederate confederates have another idea. Bad becomes worse, and a shootout, involving the Feds, both brothers, and Vance’s gang, results in Clint’s dying — in the arms of Kathy.

That’s right — in his movie debut, Elvis dies in the end. But not before he gets to sing his monster hit, the eponymous “Love Me Tender,” along with three other songs.

Trivia: according to Wikipedia, Love Me Tender was the only movie Elvis made for which he did not receive top billing.

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