‘Elvis’: Why a Scene Featuring ‘In the Ghetto’ Was Removed From the Movie


  • The movie Elvis initially had a scene of Elvis Presley recording “In the Ghetto.”
  • The director removed the scene from the film.
  • “In the Ghetto” was a huge hit for the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.
"In the Ghetto" singer Elvis Presley holding a guitar
Elvis Presley | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

“In the Ghetto” is one of Elvis Presley‘s most famous songs from the 1960s. Baz Luhrmann’s movie Elvis initially featured a scene of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll recording the song in his famous Jungle Room. Subsequently, Luhrmann decided to remove the sequence from the film for a very specific reason.

The makers of the film ‘Elvis’ visited Elvis Presley’s home

Luhrmann is the director of the film Elvis as well as earlier films such as Moulin Rouge!, Romeo + Juliet, and The Great Gatsby. During a 2022 interview with Collider, he discussed going to Graceland. “They brought us back to Graceland and we had a barbecue and we go inside the building, we’re drinking in the jungle room, hanging, like it’s a home,” he recalled. “We’re in Graceland and we’re being treated to a warm, loving home.”

Luhrmann was there with Olivia DeJonge, the actor who played Priscilla Presley in the film. “I’m sitting there with Olivia DeJonge and she says, ‘Baz, this is crazy. Because remember you rebuilt the jungle room,'” Luhrmann recalled. She said, ‘I’ve never been here to Graceland. This is exactly like the jungle room set that we shot ‘In the Ghetto,’ Elvis recording.”

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Baz Luhrmann said a scene of Elvis Presley recording ‘In the Ghetto’ didn’t work with the film’s structure

Luhrmann explained why he cut the scene of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll recording “In the Ghetto” from the movie. “As much as you love that scene, you go, ‘No. Structurally if we go there, we’re not going to go onto the drama of the next beat,'” he said.

Luhrmann discussed his editing process. “So it’s relentless cut and recut, try and restyle,” he revealed. “I’m even doing revoice overing and pickups as I go through the editorial process. It’s like molding clay. I never finish.” Notably, “In the Ghetto” still appears in the film over the end credits.

RELATED: Elvis Presley: Why His Manager Didn’t Want Him to Record ‘In the Ghetto’

How ‘In the Ghetto’ and the movie performed commercially

“In the Ghetto” became a huge hit in the United States. It reached No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100, staying on the chart for 13 weeks. The song appeared on the album From Elvis in Memphis. The album reached No. 13 on the Billboard 200, remaining on the chart for 34 weeks.

The movie Elvis became popular as well. According to Box Office Mojo, the film earned over $31 million during its opening weekend. Thus far, the film has earned more than $157 million worldwide.

“In the Ghetto” is one of Elvis’ most famous songs even if a scene featuring it was cut from Elvis.

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