There is one sequence in the film where the producers chose to show a segment of Elvis performing live READY TEDDY at a Ed Sullivan Show in 1956. Elvis's manager tried hard to convince them not to use this segment as he didn't want Elvis to appear as a nostalgia act. He explained them that Elvis was a modern performer and they didn't have to show this 1956 performance. The producers left the segment in the film and it was released like this. See more »
[introducing band members to audience]
"... and the guy that gives me my water and my scarves and so forth, his name is Charlie Hodge."
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I liked this "Elvis on the road" movie better than I aught. Yes it is sad to see Elvis starting his physical deterioration with his double chins and spare tyre to the fore, but the presence and certainly the voice are still there. The movie employs the then fashionable split - screen technique overmuch for no discernible purpose - you only want the camera on Elvis all the time anyway. The music is variable in quality - the band is too big and unwieldy to get down and dirty for great rock 'n' roll music, but at least Elvis mostly engages with the music and puts his voice to work. I particularly hate that almost synthetic drum sound which seems to just "cabaret" the sound completely. Nevertheless I enjoyed the takes on "Big Hunk of Love", "Bridge over Troubled Water" (surprisingly, given the vocal demands of the song) and the newly minted "Burning Love", even if Elvis unprofessionally sings from a song-sheet on stage. I wouldn't care to hear these versions again but in the context of the film they work just fine. The less said about the drawn - out "Love Me Tender" segment, an excuse for kissing and scarf distributing which he picked up presumably from Tom Jones, the better. The between - song segments reveal next to nothing other than that Elvis in public was polite and professional and that he liked to sing gospel spirituals in rehearsal. The toadiness and cringeworthy sycophancy of the posse of hangers - on was thankfully less in evidence than I thought it would be although they obviously all hang on his every word and movement. Good to be the King, I guess. Overall though I was reasonably entertained throughout and it shows that you don't need today's stadium rock pyrotechnics to whip up a crowd. Presley by this stage was starting to trade mainly on his charisma and thankfully there was plenty to spare but it's hard not to be embarrassed at his on - stage gyrations in absurd sequined costumes
thrown into sharp relief by an insert of an early Ed Sullivan
appearance where he tears through "Ready Teddy". If I'd been around at the time, I'd have wished to see this show - I may have been disappointed somewhat but at least Elvis wasn't in the state of near collapse, replete with forgetting his words and almost breaking down mid - song which traits assailed him later in life.
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