Elvis on Tour - Blu-ray Review
By Jeff Swindoll Aug 3, 2010, 16:04 GMT
15 cities. 15 nights. Catch him if you can! The show is over but the fans cry out for what every Elvis Presley fan wants. More! Then, an announcer speaks the words the packed house doesn\'t want to hear: "Elvis has left the building." But what an incredible show lingers in minds and hearts. Elvis on Tour is the Golden Globe-winning Best Documentary chronicle of Presley\'s whirlwind ...more
Hail to the King, baby. Elvis may be gone (opinions vary on that matter) but the legend still lives on. The King would’ve been 75 this year (again, if you see him wish him a happy birthday) and Warner brings his final film to Blu-ray to celebrate.
If the King is still alive, do you think he has a Blu-ray player? I’d imagine so, but he might be sitting on a zebra skin print couch to watch it. Elvis Aaron Presley was a multimedia force to be reckoned with. In his lifetime, he starred in movies and television specials in addition to his numerous chart hits.
1970 saw the King hit screens in the documentary film Elvis: That’s the Way it is and 1972 would see filmmakers following Elvis during a 15 city tour and the results would be formed into the Elvis on Tour documentary film. What no one would foresee is that this would be the last film that Elvis would show up on the silver screen in.
Five years later on August 16, 1977 the King would be gone (again, some argue that he’s still around) and the public would just have their albums and memories. What is nice about this document is that it was able to capture the fervor that Elvis could generate.
You truly see a cross section of ages, young parents holding babies to staid elderly ladies looking like a Norman Rockwell painting of the heartland. Elvis is not exactly a spring chicken, but he still is a far cry from the shambling wreck that he would become towards the end of his life.
He may be a bit pudgy, but the sweat that pours off of him is from his exertion and not from the handfuls of pills he took. For the most part he seems clear and in charge. I did think that he might’ve had a drink or two before coming onstage, but that might just have been my misinterpretation as we never witness him drinking. Could just be that his drawl makes him sound that way.
Besides being the final official appearance of Elvis, the film is known for a few things. Firstly, the montages are assembled with supervision by director Martin Scorsese. Secondly, it was the premiere of the song “Burning Love,” Elvis even has to bring out the lyric sheet it’s so new to him. He does a fine job singing it though. Thirdly, and maybe most importantly, it uses the multi-screen process, like the film Woodstock, to show us up to three images at the same time in the letterbox frame.
The film came to VHS in 1997, but only in fullscreen which obliterated this process. The Blu-ray and DVD release marks the first time that the film has been shown properly on home video. There is one thing that might be a deal-breaker for fans, the opening has been changed.
Originally (and it can be found online – taken from that VHS release) it opened with “Johnny B. Goode” as sung by Elvis over the opening credits. Those rights could not be obtained so the film opens with a medley of “Teddy Bear” and “Don’t be Cruel.” That exclusion might tarnish it for some fans, but it didn’t affect my enjoyment.
Elvis on Tour is presented in a 1080p transfer (2.40:1). Sadly, there are no special features on the disc. The disc is housed in DigiBook packaging, so you have a reproduction of the program with many photos. It might’ve been nice to have secured an interview with Scorsese about his participation. Oh well.
Elvis on Tour shows the energy and devotion that Elvis put into his shows. It also shows the same that came his way from the fans of all ages. He puts on an excellent show and the energy is palpable. It’s too bad that it couldn’t be sustained (his divorce didn’t help) and Elvis turned to narcotics to try and regain it.
It would have the opposite effect and would lead to his early death. That doesn’t matter much as with Elvis on Tour we have the opportunity to see him still in fine form and maybe we should remember him that way.
Visit the DVD database for more information. Elvis on Tour – Remastered & Restored, plus several other Elvis film favorites including Viva Las Vegas and Jailhouse Rock are now available for the First Time On Demand and for download via iTunes.
FROM THE WEB
Further Reading on M&CElvis Presley Biography -
Elvis Presley Links - M&C is not responsible for the content in external sitesMartin Scorsese Biography -
Martin Scorsese Links - M&C is not responsible for the content in external sites
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