it was by Elvis’ own admission that as a child he dreamed of being Tony Curtis. He also claimed that when he became a cinema usher in 1951 it was not only for the much-needed money but also to see all the movies for free. Childhood friends of Elvis have said that the young singer was a huge fan of Rudolph Valentino who actually died some nine years before Elvis was born. Billy Smith, a cousin of Elvis’, said that the young Presley was fascinated with the way Valentino projected so many emotions with his eyes. And of course the teenage Elvis modeled his hairstyle on that of Tony Curtis.
When Elvis went to Hollywood, arriving on Friday August 17 1956, to make his first film, The Reno Brothers, eventually re-titled Love me Tender, for Hal Wallis he was under the impression that he would act and not sign in his films. The previous year Presley had read for Hal Wallis and had believed he was being lined up to play alongside Burt Lancaster and Katherine Hepburn in The Rainmaker. And as strange as it may now seem there were hopes that Presley would be the next James Dean – the singer idolized Dean and by his own admission had seen Rebel without a Cause 44 times. Later when Presley met the film’s director, Nicolas Ray he reportedly got down on his knees and recited entire chunks of Rebel’s script. He had memorized not just Dean’s lines but also those of everyone else, a habit Presley would keep for his entire movie career.