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This Is Elvis (Two-Disc Special Edition)

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This Is Elvis: Special Edition (Dbl DVD)

]]> Originally released in 1981, Andrew Solt and Malcolm Leo's This Is Elvis was one of the first in-depth examinations of the life and work of Elvis Presley. Issued here in a two-disc set that pairs the theatrical version with a 1983 re-edit that adds some 40 minutes to the original, it combines newsreel footage, home movies, television and movie clips, and extensive re-enactments in an absorbing bio-documentary that's well worth watching--if only because interest in the singer apparently never diminishes (the 2007 DVD release date coincides with the 30th anniversary of Presley's death). The success (or failure, depending on one's point of view) of This Is Elvis rides in part on a single decision made by Solt and Leo, who co-produced, directed, and wrote the film: namely, to have the tale told by Presley himself. Not the real Presley, of course; Ral Donner, himself a rock singer of minor repute in the '50s and '60s, provides a reasonably authentic impersonation of Presley's voice (four on-screen actors portray him at various ages in the course of the film). Thus we have an "Elvis" who returns from beyond the grave to hold forth on such matters as the death of his beloved mother, his stint in the Army, his marriage to Priscilla and the birth of Lisa Marie, the skein of awful movies that preoccupied him during the '60s (thus sidelining him from the pop music scene while the Beatles and Bob Dylan were changing the world), and his descent into the maudlin, hyper-medicated fashion disaster that was Elvis in the '70s (his assessment: basically, "Geez, I wish I'd seen that coming"). It's nice to think that the actual Elvis could be so candid about both his successes and his missteps, but by and large this material is unconvincing, at best. Still, the real footage mostly makes up for it. Clips from his earliest TV appearances, even embarrassments like the Steve Allen show (on which the smug host had Presley wear formal attire and sing "Hound Dog" to an actual pooch), leave little doubt as to why he was the King; Presley's electrifying presence, not to mention his voice, great backup band, and seminal rock songs, were like nothing before or since. Had Solt and Leo dispensed with all the fakery and concentrated on the genuine article, their film would have been better for it. Sure, the final scenes of the fat, drugged-out Elvis onstage in his final months are brutal (a performance of "Loving You" featured in the longer edit is truly cringe-inducing), but they're part and parcel of the most fascinating and enduring story in American music history. --Sam Graham

  • Run Time: 246

  • Release Date: 11/8/2011

  • PG

Product Information   Specifications for This Is Elvis (Two-Disc Special Edition) Below:

Manufacturer WarnerBrothers
Model 2289602
UPC 085391150022
Item Weight 0.2 pounds
Item Size 5.75 x 0.5 x 0.5 inches
Package Weight 0.3 pounds
Package Size 5.3 x 0.6 x 0.6 inches
Units in Package 1

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