The life and career of Elvis Presley are chronicled in home movies, concert footage, and dramatizations. Subjects include early performances, army service, Ed Sullivan Show appearance, marriage, 1968 comeback, health decline and death.
Paul Boensch III
Mike and Danny fly a crop duster, but because of Danny's gambling debts, a local sheriff seizes it. Trying to earn money, they hitch-hike to the World's Fair in Seattle. While Danny tries ... See full summary »
Three weeks after Elvis' death, NBC aired a sixty-minute version of Elvis On Tour on September 7, 1977. See more »
My Daddy had seen a lot of people play guitar and stuff who didn't work. So, he said, "You should make up your mind," he said, "about either being an electrician or playing a guitar." He said, "I never saw a guitar player that was worth a damn."
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ELVIS ON TOUR (Pierre Adidge and Robert Abel, 1972) **1/2
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!
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