This release has had so many negative reviews on some websites that I thought I'd set the record straight. Let me tell you folks, this is one very good DVD, it offers something for everyone, Fifties, Sixties and Seventies. It's a good mixture, and being a Seventies freak myself of course I liked the Houston Press Conference the most, but more about that later.
Joe Tunzi today is one of a very select group of people who go through obscure archives, searching high and low for undiscovered, rare footage. What he turns up with simply is breathtaking each and every time. On this volume he has collected some of the most rarest footage ever.
Organizations like EPE, who have access to most of this footage and the means and money to do something with it simply can't be bothered with releasing anything like this, just because the market is too small, the sales figures for these kind of releases simply aren't interesting enough for them.
So, it is up to a few people who are willing to put up the money for this footage. If it wasn't for someone like Joe we would most probably NEVER see anything like this, except for snippets in mainstream documentaries. Lots of clips on this DVD have been seen in documentaries like King Of Entertainment and The Great Performances and George Klein's Memories, BUT, always just a few seconds.
Now you can see these clips as they are, sometimes rough around the edges, not in the best quality, but what a pleasure they are to see!
The second volume in this series got some flack also on messageboards but overall it was a damned good DVD. (Elvis Australia does not agree with this bit) We got some new clips from the Jaycees Awards (never before did we see anything from the Breakfast Prayer/Press Conference!), we got outstanding footage from a Chicago 1972 show, new Madison Square Garden footage and some more nuggets. Volume 3 is even a lot better than the previous one. There is more Elvis to be seen and there is a wider variety of clips.
No need to sum up the contents, most fans already know about that, but let's go through some of the highlights! First off, the most controversial footage here, the alledged 'screentest' for Jailhouse Rock. Joe got the footage and it had 'screentest' written over it, so he just went with that.
To be honest, I can't tell what it is, you see Elvis (in colour) posing for the camera, clapping his hands, talking, laughing, strumming his guitar, dressed in black, wearing a huge medaillon. A man can be seen, who most probably is Richard Thorpe, director to Jailhouse Rock. It doesn't look like a screentest but what IS it? No-one knows for sure, maybe someone can shed some light on it in the future, but what is more important is that it is historic and fascinating footage. Seeing rare fifties footage in colour is always fascinating so I don't care too much what it was filmed for, fact is, it's here to be enjoyed!
Some new clips of his May 6 gig at the Frontier Hotel in Las Vegas are good viewing, most of it is well-known though, but the few new snippets are more than welcome.
Elvis' arrival in Hawaii in 1961 for the filming of Blue Hawaii and his live gig is here in much longer form than what was seen in This Is Elvis, that is what I mean, a few seconds were used in This Is Elvis, about 27 years ago already, and only now do we get to see it in a much longer version, thanks to Joe.
His filmed arrival a year later in Hawaii is presented here also. This time the occasion was his filming of Girls, Girls, Girls. Most of it is silent, but there is a short clip with audio with Elvis being interviewed by DJ Tom Moffat. Once again, a short clip was used in the extended version of This Is Elvis, but here you get to see the whole thing, Elvis arriving by helicopter much like his 1973 arrival for Aloha From Hawaii. Fascinating footage that's for sure.
A staged contract signing for MGM in 1962 is another real treat, a very short clip was used in the King of Entertainment special years ago, but once again, it's presented here in a much longer version. Elvis was at MGM for his wardrobe for the upcoming film It Happened At The Worlds Fair. Vernon Presley can be seen, as well as director Norman Taurog and a business suit. This is outstanding footage, very clear and rare to be sure! Why this was filmed is another question. It also makes one wonder what else might be filmed in his 22 year career.
There are lots more chapters, Fifties live clips, more of the Danny Thomas Potomac presentation but I've kept the absolute highlight for last, the (near) complete Houston Press Conference in the Astroworld Hotel February 27, 1970.
I read somewhere that all footage had already been released in documentaries but let me tell you, that is absolutely not the case, there are new questions (and answers here).
Most fascinating is at the end when Elvis gets a badge pinned on him by one of the Rodeo officers, you may remember a 3 second clip of this in George Klein's Memories. But he gets the badge pinned on, the press conference is over but still reporters keep asking him questions and Elvis is only happy to oblige them. He is asked about record attendance shows and Elvis is talking about the Dallas Cotton Bowl performance for instance.
He is also asked about message songs and talks a bit about In The Ghetto but stresses that he doesn't want his whole show to be like that, that there also has to be entertainment to be considered. All the while, the camera is zooming in on Elvis, producing some of the most stunning close-up footage ever! You can clearly see that Elvis didn't shave that day yet, talk about clear close-up footage, good god!
The quality of this Houston footage is outstanding and even better than when some clips were used in The Great Performances.
This footage alone is worth the price of the DVD!
View the exciting Trailer.