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.
Though several actors portray Elvis Presley at different stages of his life, this documentary is comprised mostly of actual performance footage and interviews with Elvis, his fans and those close to him. His arrival on the national scene, in 1956, is highlighted by clips from "Stage Show", "The Milton Berle Show" and "The Ed Sullivan Show". Scenes from several of his 33 films are highlighted including his screen debut in "Love Me Tender" (1956) and the critically acclaimed "King "Creole"(1958), his last film prior to a 2 year hitch in the military. From 1960-68 he kept busy by making films and soundtrack albums, as well as some Gospel albums. After an absence of almost 9 years from live performing, Elvis returned in 1968 to do a TV Special titled "Elvis" and in 1969 performed in Las Vegas for the first time since 1956. His Vegas appearances, along with his nationwide concert tours, continued for the remainder of his career. A clip from his 1973 TV Special, "Elvis: Aloha From Hawaii", ...Written by
At age 14 David Scott won an Elvis Presley contest in Montreal, singing Teddy Bear. He did his own singing in This is Elvis on Mystery Train and Thats All Right Mama See more »
When Elvis pulls up to the house in the beginning his girlfriend gets out of the car wearing a maroon pantsuit; when he opens the door and they enter the house she is wearing blue shorts and a blue workout suit jacket - this will be due to scenes that were not used in the film as in this scene it also shows Elvis going in the front door then the next scene it shows him coming through Graceland from the back entrance, passing the front door from the inside before heading upstairs. This can be explained by taking note of Elvis' last hours. He came home, played racket ball in the racket ball building before entering Graceland from the rear entrance and then retreating to his room. This will explain the different clothes that the Ginger Alden character wears. See more »
[Elvis and Ginger prepare to go upstairs to his bedroom, passing the kitchen doorway, where Pauline is seated at the table]
Mr. P, can I get you some sandwiches?
Elvis at 42:
That'd be fine, Pauline.
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Certain sequences in this film were recreated. See more »
NBC edited 5 minutes from this film for its 1983 network television premiere. See more »
A reasonably accurate and sympathetic portrayal, sadly undermined by a few glaring clangers..
At one point, the film attempts to use the Aloha From Hawaii concert to emphasise the widening gulf between the triumph of Elvis' professional life and his increasingly sad and lonely existence off stage.
A camera in the limo supposedly shows Elvis and a members of the inner Memphis Mafia departing the Honolulu International Centre following the show, as the narrating actor (as Elvis) laments, "If only I could have seen what was happening to me..".. Unfortunately, a clumsily overdubbed comment ("Man can Hawaii get sticky") didn't hide the fact that Elvis had already commented that it was a "hot time in Florida", another occupant pointed out the Gator Bowl in the distance, bright sunshine was evident (Aloha was filmed after midnight) and Joe Esposito (long serving Road manager) said with a sense of relief "The last matinée of the tour". This footage had been taken from a Florida concert filmed for "Elvis On Tour" a year previously, which also explains the fact that Presley was actually wearing a different stage costume in the Limo to the famous "American Eagle" suit worn for the Aloha show, and that the boys were discussing Florida landmarks and previous tour experiences at the Gator Bowl as they left the stadium.
Later, during a press conference in which ex bodyguards Sonny West and Dave Hebler attempt to justify writing the tell-all, "Elvis What Happened?" there is an enormous double take by a reporter, supposedly, over Presley's use of Demerol. "You actually saw him take (The name of the drug is edited) .?" "Yes".. Sonny goes on to explain that his cousin (and co author) Red West had threatened to "break up" the supplier but had relented when Elvis assured him, "I need it, man"..Demerol, a prescription painkiller, had already been alluded to as one of Presley's drugs of choice earlier in the interview. No one would have been surprised to hear that Sonny had witnessed Elvis taking Demerol, which was being prescribed (rightly or wrongly) by his doctor. The real question actually referred to cocaine, which explains the press reaction when Sonny said, "yes" as this allegation (true or false) was far more explosive.
Despite some ill-used dramatic licence, "This Is Elvis" is an interesting introduction to the Presley phenomenon, but a long way from the definitive account.
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