Saturday, July 9, 2011

Elvis: That's the Way It Was (2001 Special Edition)

The King reigns in this reboot of the 1970 documentary, Elvis: That's the Way It Is.

This Is Elvis (Two-Disc Special Edition) includes the original 1970 theatrical documentary and this 96-minute effort that focuses solely on Elvis Presley preparing for, and performing, during a four-week engagement at the International Hotel in Las Vegas.


Presley's between-song banter is mostly bland, but he proves he's an extraordinary showman in an hour-long set pieced together from six nights of performances.

The King performs a number of his early hits including show opener That's All Right (also his first single), Heartbreak Hotel, Love Me Tender, Don't Be Cruel and more recent songs such as his chart-topping Suspicious Minds and In the Ghetto, both from 1969.


Presley looks, and sounds, fantastic. He doesn't prance around a lot, but he does move with great vigour. At one point, Presley hops off the stage to walk through the crowd during Love Me Tender. Imagine Bono or Britney Spears trying that in 2011. He doesn't stop there. The King signs autographs and kisses numerous ladies, and shakes at least one man's hand, in-between songs.

The film's first 35 minutes feature rehearsals at MGM Studios and at the International Hotel. Presley includes The Beatles' Get Back in his 1961 hit, Little Sister during one session.

A nine-minute featurette, Patch It Up: The Restoration of Elvis: That's the Way It Is, includes interviews with band members Jerry Scheff (bass), Ronnie Tutt (drums), Glen Hardin (piano) and James Burton (guitar).

Presley had a 32-inch waist in 1970. An overweight King of Rock and Roll died seven years later at age 42. What a waste.

RATING: 8/10

No comments: