Frankie and Johnny


1h 27m 1966
Frankie and Johnny

Brief Synopsis

A riverboat gambler has to choose between his true love and the woman who's his lucky charm.

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Drama
Musical
Adaptation
Release Date
Jan 1966
Premiere Information
Baton Rouge, Louisiana, opening: 31 Mar 1966
Production Company
F & J Pictures
Distribution Company
United Artists
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 27m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.66 : 1

Synopsis

Frankie and Johnny, singers on Clint Braden's riverboat, are in love, but Frankie refuses to marry Johnny until he stops gambling and losing all his earnings. A gypsy fortune-teller predicts that a redheaded woman will appear and can reverse Johnny's fortune. Soon after, redheaded Nellie Bly, Clint's former girl friend, comes aboard the riverboat, and Johnny begins to win. Meanwhile, Cully, Johnny's piano-playing sidekick, writes a song, "Frankie and Johnny," that is introduced on the showboat. A music publisher hears the song, likes it, and invites Frankie and Johnny to come to New York City to perform. Hopeful that Nellie's presence will bring him luck, Johnny tries to win enough money to take him and Frankie to New York. Frankie becomes jealous of Nellie, who is only interested in marrying Clint, and breaks off with Johnny; at the same time, Clint admonishes Johnny, telling him to stay away from Nellie. At the Mardi Gras ball in New Orleans, Nellie and Frankie dress exactly alike, and Johnny, thinking he is with Nellie, gambles and wins. When Frankie unmasks, Johnny realizes that she brings him as much luck as Nellie. Clint's dim-witted bodyguard, thinking that he is looking out for his employer's interests, places real bullets in the gun Frankie uses to "shoot" Johnny in the musical number. Luckily, the bullet lodges in a charm Frankie had given Johnny, and he is unharmed. Frankie and Johnny decide to marry, as do Nellie and Clint.

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Drama
Musical
Adaptation
Release Date
Jan 1966
Premiere Information
Baton Rouge, Louisiana, opening: 31 Mar 1966
Production Company
F & J Pictures
Distribution Company
United Artists
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 27m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.66 : 1

Articles

Frankie and Johnny - Frankie and Johnnie


Falling between Paradise, Hawaiian Style and Spinout in the year 1966, Frankie and Johnny marked Elvis Presley's twenty-first motion picture and holds the unusual distinction of being inspired by a barroom ballad from the early 1900's. You know the song - torch singer falls for dashing gambler, is jilted by him for a female rival and empties her gun into the jerk. Somehow producer Edward Small and screenwriter Alex Gottlieb expanded this bare-bones storyline into a musical romance with a Mississippi riverboat setting and a happy ending - Johnny gets off lightly with a flesh wound.

First some background. The first published version of the "Frankie and Johnny" ballad - originally known as "He Done Me Wrong" - is generally attributed to Hughie Cannon in 1904. Since then, many others have recorded the song - Ted Lewis, Gene Autry, Mae West (in her 1933 film, She Done Him Wrong) Brook Benton, Sam Cooke, Johnny Cash and, of course, Elvis in 1965 - but, it was in 1936 when the first film version of Frankie and Johnny appeared. In it, Helen Morgan played a singer in a St. Louis casino named Frankie who forms a romantic triangle with gambler Johnny (Chester Morris) and rival Nellie Bly (Lilyan Tashman). In the 1966 remake, Elvis's Johnny is more than just an amorous cardsharp; he's got a singing act with Frankie and gets to perform such non-hit wonders as "Make Petunia's Tulips Mine, "What Every Woman Lives For," and "Please Don't Stop Lovin' Me." If you really want to know what killed Elvis, it wasn't the drugs or the overeating; it was movies like Frankie and Johnny.

The character of Nellie Bly, played by Nancy Kovack in this version, was actually based on a real person, a newspaper reporter for The Pittsburgh Dispatch who made front page headlines when she went around the world in seventy-two days, six hours, eleven minutes and fourteen seconds, beating Phileas Fogg's record in the Jules Verne adventure, Around the World in 80 Days.

Not one of Elvis's more popular films, Frankie and Johnny is probably more significant as a turning point in the singer's life than anything else. According to biographer Peter Guralnick (in Careless Love: The Unmaking of Elvis Presley), during the making of Frankie and Johnny, "Elvis was visibly overweight; and perhaps the most notable aspect of the filming was the spiritual connection that he made with his co-star Donna Douglas. Instead of dating her, according to Sonny West, he took a genuine intellectual interest in her. They exchanged books and ideas, spoke of Daya Mata and the Self-Realization Fellowship to which she, too, belonged, and meditated together. He showed her many of his books, Larry [Geller] noted proudly, "and they would go over his marked passages together." It certainly wasn't the image most people had of the off-screen Elvis or Douglas who was starring as Ellie Mae in the then-current TV sitcom, The Beverly Hillbillies.

Producer: Alex Gottlieb, Edward Small
Director: Frederick De Cordova
Screenplay: Nat Perrin (story), Alex Gottlieb
Cinematography: Jacques R. Marquette
Film Editing: Grant Whytock
Art Direction: Walter M. Simonds
Music: Fred Karger
Cast: Elvis Presley (Johnny), Donna Douglas (Frankie), Harry Morgan (Cully), Sue Ane Langdon (Mitzi), Nancy Kovack (Nellie Bly), Audrey Christie (Peg).
C-88m. Letterboxed.

by Jeff Stafford
Frankie And Johnny - Frankie And Johnnie

Frankie and Johnny - Frankie and Johnnie

Falling between Paradise, Hawaiian Style and Spinout in the year 1966, Frankie and Johnny marked Elvis Presley's twenty-first motion picture and holds the unusual distinction of being inspired by a barroom ballad from the early 1900's. You know the song - torch singer falls for dashing gambler, is jilted by him for a female rival and empties her gun into the jerk. Somehow producer Edward Small and screenwriter Alex Gottlieb expanded this bare-bones storyline into a musical romance with a Mississippi riverboat setting and a happy ending - Johnny gets off lightly with a flesh wound. First some background. The first published version of the "Frankie and Johnny" ballad - originally known as "He Done Me Wrong" - is generally attributed to Hughie Cannon in 1904. Since then, many others have recorded the song - Ted Lewis, Gene Autry, Mae West (in her 1933 film, She Done Him Wrong) Brook Benton, Sam Cooke, Johnny Cash and, of course, Elvis in 1965 - but, it was in 1936 when the first film version of Frankie and Johnny appeared. In it, Helen Morgan played a singer in a St. Louis casino named Frankie who forms a romantic triangle with gambler Johnny (Chester Morris) and rival Nellie Bly (Lilyan Tashman). In the 1966 remake, Elvis's Johnny is more than just an amorous cardsharp; he's got a singing act with Frankie and gets to perform such non-hit wonders as "Make Petunia's Tulips Mine, "What Every Woman Lives For," and "Please Don't Stop Lovin' Me." If you really want to know what killed Elvis, it wasn't the drugs or the overeating; it was movies like Frankie and Johnny. The character of Nellie Bly, played by Nancy Kovack in this version, was actually based on a real person, a newspaper reporter for The Pittsburgh Dispatch who made front page headlines when she went around the world in seventy-two days, six hours, eleven minutes and fourteen seconds, beating Phileas Fogg's record in the Jules Verne adventure, Around the World in 80 Days. Not one of Elvis's more popular films, Frankie and Johnny is probably more significant as a turning point in the singer's life than anything else. According to biographer Peter Guralnick (in Careless Love: The Unmaking of Elvis Presley), during the making of Frankie and Johnny, "Elvis was visibly overweight; and perhaps the most notable aspect of the filming was the spiritual connection that he made with his co-star Donna Douglas. Instead of dating her, according to Sonny West, he took a genuine intellectual interest in her. They exchanged books and ideas, spoke of Daya Mata and the Self-Realization Fellowship to which she, too, belonged, and meditated together. He showed her many of his books, Larry [Geller] noted proudly, "and they would go over his marked passages together." It certainly wasn't the image most people had of the off-screen Elvis or Douglas who was starring as Ellie Mae in the then-current TV sitcom, The Beverly Hillbillies. Producer: Alex Gottlieb, Edward Small Director: Frederick De Cordova Screenplay: Nat Perrin (story), Alex Gottlieb Cinematography: Jacques R. Marquette Film Editing: Grant Whytock Art Direction: Walter M. Simonds Music: Fred Karger Cast: Elvis Presley (Johnny), Donna Douglas (Frankie), Harry Morgan (Cully), Sue Ane Langdon (Mitzi), Nancy Kovack (Nellie Bly), Audrey Christie (Peg). C-88m. Letterboxed. by Jeff Stafford

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

Previously filmed in 1936. Some sources credit the dancers as the Earl Barton Dancers.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States on Video December 6, 1988

Released in United States Spring April 1966

Released in United States Spring April 1966

Released in United States on Video December 6, 1988