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ELVIS - THAT'S THE WAY IT IS

SYNOPSIS:
Documentary covering rehearsals and live performance by Elvis Presley at the International Hotel in Las Vegas, 1969. Presley's rehearsals with his band at the MGM studios in Culver City, LA, are followed by rehearsals with back-up singers The Sweet Inspirations and The Imperials at the International. The 20 songs culled from six performances show Presley at the height of his powers in front of sell-out crowds of admirers including Sammy Davis Jr and Cary Grant.

“Elvis Presley ‘left’ the building" permanently on August 16, 1977. Twenty-four years may have passed but the legend only seems to grow. The release of a restored, remixed and re-edited Elvis: That's The Way It Is shows the King at the height of his second-phase performing powers and is quite simply a great rock'n'roll concert movie. Free from the grind of acting - 31 steadily worsening films in 13 years - and having shown his leather-clad chops in the '68 "comeback" TV special, Presley struts his stuff brilliantly over 30 minutes of rehearsals and an hour of full-tilt Vegas performance. The rehearsal scenes, rescued from the vaults and re-inserted at the expense of fan vox-pops in the later sections, are fascinating without being revelatory. While the Beatles were self-destructing in front of the cameras during the Let It Be sessions, a relaxed Elvis goofs around here with his band, even breaking into Get Back at the end of Little Sister. There is no tension in the air, only a few hints of nerves as Presley hopes he's still got what it takes to give the faithful their money's worth. After the stripped back LA sessions it's off to Vegas where outrageous beehives and afro hairdos, huge sunglasses with shiny metallic frames and sequined jumpsuits are the order of the day as showtime approaches. The imagery serves as a premonition of the bloated wreck Presley would become in a few years but here he is trim, fit and focussed as he leaps onstage to hold god-like power over his audience. Watching him walk through the crowd during Love Me Tender, offering kisses to dozens of women along the way, is a vivid reminder of the religious relationship between the artist and his followers. The adulation in the eyes of the recipients goes beyond any norm associated with entertainment - the reactions are more in keeping with those who have been touched by a religious miracle worker. Although I'm not a big Presley fan, I was captivated by this document showcasing the highest selling and most influential performer of the 20th Century. It doesn't matter that no radical new insights into the Presley legend emerge. What does matter is that Presley's voice and presence still mesmerise and will do so as long as there is music.”
Richard Kuipers

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

ELVIS – THAT’S THE WAY IT IS (Special Edition) (G)
(US)

DOCUMENTARY WITH: Elvis Presley, James Burton, Glen D. Hardin, Charlie Hodge, Ronnie Tutt, Jerry Scheff, John Wilkerson

PRODUCERS: Rick Schmidlin (producer: special edition), Herbert F. Solow (producer)

DIRECTOR: Denis Sanders

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Lucien Ballard

EDITOR: Henry Berman, Michael Salomon (special edition)

RUNNING TIME: 94 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Potential Films

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: May 24, 2001 (Sydney, Melbourne); May 31, 2001 (Adelaide, Perth)







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