Elvis Presley made his motion picture debut in the Civil War drama Love Me Tender. Elvis, however, is not the star of the proceedings: that honor goes jointly to Richard Egan and Debra Paget. The story concerns three brothers–Egan, William Campbell and James Drury–who steal a Union payroll on behalf of the Confederacy, only to discover that the war is over and that they’re now technically outlaws. Rather than return the money, the brothers divvy it up amongst themselves. Upon returning home, Egan discovers that his sweetheart (Debra Paget) has married Elvis, his youngest brother. Since Love Me Tender has been played incessantly on TV since the early 1960s, it is giving away nothing to reveal that the film is one of two in which Elvis Presley’s character dies at the end. Naturally, Elvis is afforded plenty of opportunities to sing: the scene in which he launches into an anachronistic hip-swivelling performance at a county fair is one of the high points of mid-1950s kitsch.
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