|Index||2 reviews in total|
1956 is the year that a 21 year old truck driver exploded upon the music
scene and began his legacy. This documentary follows Elvis Presley through
very busy year of accomplishment. Two days after his 21st birthday, Elvis
has his first recording session for RCA Victor. The session produced his
first million seller "Heartbreak Hotel". We see Elvis on the Dorsey
Stage Show. And then comes other TV appearances; The Milton Berle Show, The
Steve Allen Show and The Ed Sullivan Show. After performing a very sensual
"Hound Dog" on the Berle Show, Allen then has Elvis dress in a tux to sing
tame version to an actual basset hound. On Elvis' final Sullivan Show, he
was shown only from the waist up to please censors.
The editing of still shots mixed with filmed footage is superb. And the music itself can tell the story of that magical year that we were introduced to "Heartbreak Hotel", "Hound Dog", "Long Tall Sally", "I Got a Woman", "Blue Suede Shoes", "Ready Teddy" and the title song from Elvis' first movie "Love Me Tender".
Even non Presley fans have to be impressed with this documentary. And to think this is just the tip of the iceberg. The rest as they say is history. Quoting the late John Lennon, 'Before Elvis there was nothing'.
Elvis '56 (1987)
*** (out of 4)
Levon Helm narrates this interesting documentary taking a look at the life of Elvis during 1956 as he became the biggest name in rock 'n roll. I doubt die-hard Elvis fans are going to learn anything new by watching this but I think they'll still enjoy seeing all the TV appearances, photos and radio interviews. Those who know the name Elvis but don't know how he rose to fame are the ones who will probably enjoy this the most. The documentary pretty much tracks every month of the year as we see Elvis being discovered, recording his first song, making various TV appearances, bombing in Las Vegas and starting his dream of becoming a serious actor. I thought this approach to the material was a pretty fun way to look at the year in his life and it's really amazing to see all of this material and see how many great songs he did in such a short period of time. It's also funny to watch this today and see the controversy of Elvis' shaking around and of course this leading to a rather embarrassing moment where he sang 'Hound Dog' to an actual dog. The best thing about the documentary is that we get to hear the majority of the songs in full and all the television appearances are nice as well.
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