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The final era of the 20th Century's most respected Rock icon-Elvis Aaron
Presley is captured here by MGM doing what he did best of all: Performing
various live audiences around the U.S.
It's almost a couple of years on from the first MGM filmed documentary about the Man and his live act, 'That's The Way It Is', and 'On Tour' is filmed in a different retrospective. In this one there aren't as many as those annoying fan interviews and interruptions and mainly concentrates on the different performances that Elvis manufactures to create his touring Stage-Show at this time.
Some of the old favourites are in there such as 'Johnny B.Goode'(Great opener to the film!), 'Polk Salad Annie'(Performed somewhat faster-wow!), 'Love Me Tender'(Nice touch showing some of the scripted movie kiss scenes!), 'Lawdy Miss Clawdy'(A total free-for-all with Elvis and the Band-magnetic!), 'I Got A Woman'(Amen to this!) and the finale sound of 'Can't Help Falling In Love'(Cape-wielding showstopper!).
New tunes 'The King' was bringing into his act at this particular time included 'Until It's Time For You To Go', 'Burning Love', 'An American Trilogy', 'You Gave Me A Mountain' and 'Never Been To Spain', and it's all a delight to hear and see him perform these in his own special, voice-to-the-limit, inimitable way.
After 32 previous attempts at trying to get himself recognised on film for the most part as a serious actor it's justifying that Elvis didn't need to act to do this, as the Golden Globe came winging it's way to 'On Tour' for Best Movie Documentary. Elvis appears slightly more weighty than in 'That's The Way It Is', with his hair somewhat longer and sideburned. The undeniable animal magnetism and aurora and God-gifted musical talent of this human being, which the film also sets out to portray, are here in evidence as a filmed testimony to any young, up and coming Singers even to this day who are trying to cut a niche for themselves in the unpredictable world of Pop Music-At the end of the day it's sheer hard work, just like in any job you may hold down, that helps to get you established and recognised for a lengthy period of time in the industry.
Elvis in 'On Tour' is dogged with personal problems and obviously reliance on prescription drugs are quite evident in some scenes, which ironically add to the sad and touching biography that is being told before you on the screen. Unlike 'That's The Way It Is', Elvis doesn't seem to enjoy himself as much surrounded by his so-called buddies, and it seems as though Vernon (his father)is more present than ever which certainly gave Elvis that family connection that he no doubt craved at this point, especially being on the road for weeks at a time. Infact, the only time Elvis seemed happy apart from on stage was when he was with his band in private singing many a gospel number.
Nevertheless, fan or non-fan, you'll love this and it's a unique testimony to a Performer who was being filmed for his official final movie in his career. The greatest triumph was still yet to come after this movie, in the form of his record-breaking Satellite TV Special the following year-'Aloha From Hawaii'. In this Special Elvis would never look and sound this consistently good again, but that was another time and another place...
As indicated by the title, the film is a documentary – edited by Martin
Scorsese! – showing highlights of Elvis Presley touring the USA (with
much use of the then-trendy split-screen technique); interesting in
itself, this also served as the iconic singer’s cinematic swan-song. Of
course, his inflated appearance by this time – a far cry from his lean
early years, seen intermittently throughout via stock footage – is
rather sad to witness but, at least, he seemed to be in good spirits.
We’re shown Elvis performing in front of several different hysterical audiences – at one point, even admitting to still getting stage fright before going on – but also get to see him relax with his backing musicians (generally by singing gospel songs). The musical numbers include very few of his hits (“Love Me Tender” and “Can’t Help Falling In Love”, while others like “That’s All Right”, “Mystery Train” and “Suspicious Minds” are only heard via original recordings) but there are two outstanding cover versions by The King of then-vintage rock classics – Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Proud Mary” and Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water”!
The great final line of the film – “Elvis has left the building” – spoken by the compere (and which I suppose was uttered during most of his shows from this era) clearly attests to Presley’s legendary status even when he was still alive; this is followed by an inspired last shot of Elvis in pensive but evidently happy mood. Incidentally, the film won the Golden Globe Award as the year’s Best Documentary Feature – but, then, didn’t even make the list of nominees at the Oscars!
If you're a fan of Elvis Presley like I am, then what's not to love about this thoroughly awesome documentary? It offers an excellent look at the King of Rock of Roll on tour exciting audiences as only he knew how. It's always very refreshing to see Elvis using his extraordinary talent and this film is no exception. A definite recommendation on my part.
Strangely, though being an Elvis fan, I find myself not entirely
agreeing with most of the comments here.
I have never found this movie endearing. Elvis looks a bit overweight though I think a lot has to do with his hair and burns being too long. I find the concert footage being way over lit making the complexion of Elvis seem a bit pale which I don't believe he was as the other footage including backstage footage he looks browner.
The sound also doesn't seem that good most of the time and the singing I find middle the road.
Kudos to the Gloden Globe but for me I find 'That's the way it is' being the best ever concert movie and the Aloha concert being second in terms of both quality and the look and sound of Presley.
Greetings again from the darkness. Thanks to the one night showing
through Fathom Events, I got to see this on the big screen again for
the first time since it's initial release in 1972. For the 75th
Anniversary, an introduction was added that included some clips and
interviews. I found it most interesting to get a behind the scenes look
at how the film was put together, and the roles of Robert Abel, Pierre
Adidge and Martin Scorcese.
The film itself won a Golden Globe for best documentary and it's easy to see why. It provides a look at Elvis on the road ... and a peek at what he was like as a man. In the new intro, Priscilla says "Elvis didn't just sing a song". She is so right. Sure, he had an amazing voice. And yes, he was an incredibly charismatic stage performer. Obviously, he was a handsome man and sex symbol of the times. But what the film reminds us is that he was a musician ... a man who felt and loved the music.
For anyone who doesn't "get" Elvis or thinks he was just some old guy in a sequined jumpsuit, this is the film to watch. Upon its original release, Rolling Stone magazine's headline read "Finally, the first Elvis movie". The montage of his early years and crowd shots of his later years, show just what an impact he had on his fans. There was, and still is, a connection to those who were captivated by the man and his songs. He truly was a musical and social phenomenon.
Seeing him carry the burden of being ELVIS is very interesting. While the songs and performances are fun to watch, the real value here is in the backstage portions. That's where we see that he lived for the music. How else can you explain the voluminous recording library he left behind in less than 20 years. Despite the military service, pressures of fandom, and his personal issues, he continued recording songs that we can enjoy today. Compare this to the Rolling Stones, whose careers have lasted more than twice as long as Elvis! While he was not at his physical peak on this tour, he was 37 years old and in decent condition. What is obvious is that the VOICE is still there when he wants it. The two best moments are when he records "Separate Ways" and then when he performs "Trilogy". That is the proof that the special gift never left him.
It's difficult to watch this and realize that Elvis was dead 5 short years later. It really affects how you view his father, Vernon, who we see backstage and watching his son perform. It is also painful to see guys like Joe Esposito and Sonny and Red West kissing up to Elvis, now that we know they would go on to publish trash stories about him their golden goose was dead.
The film truly captures a part of history and a glimpse at a fascinating man, who really was the first mega-superstar who became bigger than life.
Over the years I for one like many others have became an Elvis fan, hey
it's hard not to like the man. The king was the one and only his songs
were both touching and uplifting as his words touched your soul and
spirit. As Presley often sang about the struggles, joys, and hardships
of life. And the man's popularity lives on it's like he never died as
his legacy and voice touched millions he's probably earning bigger
paydays 33 years after his death! Anyway it was finally nice to get a
chance to see some behind the scenes footage of the king in live
action. As this award winning documentary from 1972 "Elvis on Tour" is
a nice upbeat treat for any fan or film historian. It gives an all
access pass to the tours of Elvis as it follows a 15 city tour. The
footage a lot of it shot in duo vision and split screen style shows
plenty of the king performing his hits on stage at the same time you
get to view his backups singing. It follows his pack city to city
ranging from states in the south like Florida, North Carolina, and
Virginia to gigs in the north with the king entertaining in Michigan
And as any king fan remembers Elvis put on a show with his movement actions and deep soothing voice as he shined with his glitter costumes and flashy diamonds. It was hysteria seeing his many fans most females go wild and crazy from screams and tears of joy and excitement when he arrived in town as many were kept from stage while others were lucky as they got the kings lips planted on their faces! Also old vintage clips from Presleys early days are shown in black and white. Interesting note was that this man who flew in on private plane and rode private limo admits he suffered from stage fright as Elvis states he experienced it every time before he went on stage.
Really a pretty good and entertaining documentary that showcases the talents of the legendary king as Elvis Presley is still remembered and always will be the one and only king of rock and probably the greatest entertainer to have ever lived. It's a shame it ended to quick he died way to young. Overall good doc for any fan and a good watch for any film buff a documentary that gives good entertainment and lasting memories of the great.
This is Elvis at his total peak as a stage performer and ultimate 20th Century musical icon. The King has often been criticised at this point in his private life and career for one aspect or another - the separation from Priscilla, the reliance on prescribed medication, the extra pounds added to his waistline, the abundance of cover versions in his stage act, etc., etc. But what people fail to realise - here was a man who naturally was suffering with a certain amount of stress at this particular phase of his showbiz and personal life, especially having contracted glaucoma and having to cope with a gruelling touring schedule. Elvis might have been carrying a few extra pounds since MGM filmed him on and off stage in his previous documentary, but he still looked in peak physical condition and could certainly move and shake better than any would-be contender to his throne - check out 'Polk Salad Annie', the opening credit montage of 'Johnny B. Goode' and the energetic displays of on-stage Karate routines. Elvis had just recorded some future classic hits at this point when the movie was being filmed namely 'Always On My Mind' and 'Burning Love'. The other songs that had been certified global hits just before filming commenced for "On Tour" were 'An American Trilogy' and 'Until It's Time For You To Go'. The inspirational album 'He Touched Me' had just given Elvis his second grammy award in five years, and three of the gospel numbers on the album were to be featured rehearsal performances in "Elvis On Tour". A couple of months later The King embarked on another concert performance milestone with a full weekend of sell-out shows at New York's Madison Square Garden - John Lennon, George Harrison, David Bowie and Paul Simon were in attendance. The album recording of the Saturday night concert at The Garden achieved gold status. Before the pinnacle of the record-breaking 'Aloha From Hawaii' Satellite Concert in January 1973, "Elvis On Tour" had been nominated for a Golden Globe award for Best Documentary - it ended up as the winner. So, as anyone can see here, there were so many high points that are frequently overlooked in the year Elvis1972. And, as for performing such covers as 'Proud Mary', 'Bridge Over Troubled Water', and 'I Can't Stop Loving You' - he did them His way!
I should stay on the fence for this one.
I mean, it's always an either/or situation when it comes to Elvis Presley: either you subscribe to a fanatical worship of him, going so far as to calling him the King, or you attack him with a generous portion of cynicism, remarking more about his capes, kung fu and his weight than about his music. Well, for me, it's always about the music. His music is what lives on. And the music is what works best in this film. Being able to watch him rehearse with band mates while backstage was an amazing 'fly on the wall' experience. Elvis had a love for music that was inspiring, and as you can see on the film, even his band members shared in the love for music and were very much in awe of him and his musical abilities. I guess that's what I take away from the film most, his love for music, whether it's country, blues, gospel or rock and roll, Elvis loved music. It was also a great thrill to see his band working out through their first live rendition of 'Burning Love' or to hear his dramatic rendition of 'Bridge Over Troubled Water'. These moments are definitive proof of Elvis' ability to captivate an audience, just stunning.
However, I could have done without the cheesy '2001' intro, but you must remember, it was the 70's and who knows, you may get a perverse chuckle from hearing it. The 'Love Me Tender' film montage left me feeling sad in a number of ways. 1) In the clips we see Elvis as a young man, fit and charismatic, brimming over with so much promise. Then to cut back to see the current Elvis on stage in his capes. Just depressing.
2) The film images for the montage were taken from all of those films he made when he should have been concentrating on his music. Ironicly, the films kept him from making great music for a long period of time. Given the choice, I would rather he made music instead of 'Girls Girls Girls' or 'Viva Las Vegas' or any movie. It almost gives credence to something that is said in the film, in a totally non related way, when a loud speaker declares, "The Elvis Presley Show is a complete sell out".
All in all.....fans will loooooove the movie. People who can take or leave Elvis will deal with the movie and appreciate his talents, or at least they should. Those who are not fans will laugh at his costumes, his posse and his sides....hairy and otherwise. And you know, that's just not a good enough reason.
Me? I guess I lean more towards the 'either'.7/10.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Five years from his death, Elvis was still an amazingly powerful stage
When this documentary was filmed in 1972, Elvis's face had puffed out and he wore garish, polyester-looking costumes but he was still a handsome man with an incredibly seductive voice. Near-sighted and stage-frighted, he is disarmingly humble company in this understated road and concert film.
"He wanted to run where his feet wouldn't go Like a bridge over covered water, I will ease your mind Train, train coming down the line I can't help falling in love with you "
Wherever he is going in his music, Elvis draws you in in this excellent film -- before ever-adoring, screaming crowds or singing in the back seat of a car with his gospel-inspired sidemen.
Elvis evidently went seriously downhill at some point, but I was happy to see he seemed to be doing OK so late in his life. He had an incredible gift to share and this wonderful film captures why he will always be loved.
Elvis had gotten chubby but he wasn't fat like he was when he died. Elvis still looks decent, and is in top vocal form. What "That's the Way It Is" did by showing Elvis's life in rehersal, this one did by showing Elvis's life on the road. It was good to see Elvis at or still near the peak of his performing career.
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