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The film, named after the song, stars Richard Egan (Vince), Debra Paget (Kathy), and Elvis Presley (Clint) in his film debut. It is in the Western genre with musical numbers. Because it was Presley's movie debut, it was the only time in his acting career that he did not receive top billing.
Love Me Tender was originally to be titled The Reno Brothers, but when advanced sales of Presley's "Love Me Tender" single passed one million—a first for a single—the film title was changed to match.In its first week of release the film grossed $540,000, #2 at the box office for that week, beaten only by James Dean's posthumous release Giant, and had made back the money it cost the studio to produce it. Within weeks it had recouped the costs of the negatives, and despite being released in November, the film finished 1956 as the 23rd highest grossing film of the year. Despite many critics giving it a lukewarm reception, a number of critics viewed it in a positive light. The Los Angeles Times wrote: "Elvis can act. S'help me the boy's real good, even when he isn't singing." Presley would later express regret at making the film, and was disappointed that the additions of songs had set up the future of his Hollywood career.
The four EP soundtrack songs were recorded at Fox's Stage One in Hollywood, at three sessions on August 24, September 4, and October 1, 1956.
The title song had already been released as a single on September 28, 1956, and went to #1 on the singles chart. The music was based on the Civil War ballad "Aura Lee," with new lyrics by Ken Darby.
Darby, in fact, wrote all of the soundtrack songs, but credited them to his wife, Vera Matson, while Parker cut his publishing company, Hill and Range, in on the royalties by further crediting the writing to Presley as well. A reprise of "Love Me Tender" was recorded on October 1 and is heard at the end of the film; this short track was not released until after Presley's death.The sessions for these songs were the only time in the decade that Presley recorded with musicians outside his regular coterie