Review - Elvis By The Presleys DVD

By: Howard Price / David Troedson
Source: Elvis Australia
June 15, 2005

Elvis By The Presleys DVD
Elvis By The Presleys DVD
Elvis By The Presleys is the documentary about Elvis I have been waiting for. Not the familiar story, films and photo's (which are also very good) but a look behind the scenes with a lot of private home movie footage. This revealing home movie footage shows Elvis as a playful family man, building snow men, snowmobiling, riding horses, swimming, water skiing and hamming it up for the camera. These were perhaps the happiest times for all.

Any Elvis fan will like this DVD, I can assure you that. In my opinion it's the best documentary since This Is Elvis.

We see his explosive entry onto the American scene in the mid-1950s. We witness his return from Army life. We witness his struggle with all the formulaic B-movies the Colonel forced him to make in the 1960s at the expense of making real recordings or far superior films. We see his extraordinary comeback of 1968. And at the end, of course, we see a very unhealthy-looking Elvis in the late spring of 1977 nevertheless giving everything he has left in him onstage, putting his own stamp on 'My Way'.

Both Priscilla and Lisa Marie are very candid but unsensationalistic in the way they describe the problems Elvis had, both with the Colonel's often questionable business decisions (made at the expense of Elvis' health and creativity) and his struggle with prescription medication, a struggle that he sadly lost. But they also hold Elvis in the highest regard, as a great husband and father, and a tireless giver who never stopped giving and who never stopped caring.

I've seen several television specials that ended with an advertisement for the DVD of the show just seen. Seldom, however, do they come as expanded as Elvis By The Presleys. This collection of family photographs, home videos, and rare interview clips narrated by the family and friends of Elvis Presley has a running time of 4 hours and 20 minutes. That's over twice as long as the broadcast! In viewing the chapters myself, I recognized the bits I had seen on television, and the bits that were new to me, but whether the new bits were inserted into the DVD or the television broadcast edited them out (which is more likely) was impossible to tell. The flow of the editing was seemless.

The main menu displays the white piano top with three frames. The pictures within the frame change in and out as Elvis sings the first few strains of "Memories." The options are Play, Setup and Chapter Selections. The Setup submenu of Audio and Subtitles allows the viewer to select either Dolby Stereo or Dolby 5.1, and to turn on subtitles in English, Spanish, French, German and Japanese.

Disc 2 has a similar thematic menu with different pictures and a different song. The same Main Menu options are there, with the additional selection of Special Features. 'Memories' and '45 RPM' are both photo slideshows, the first a set of 25 photographs with captions. Viewers can scroll forward using Up or Left, backward by Down or Right. '45 RPM' is similar in theme and use, only the photos are of 45 RPM singles and sleeves Elvis released. There are 53 total of these, complete with dates and statistics for each one.

From the book 'The Day Elvis Met Nixon'.
From the book 'The Day Elvis Met Nixon'.
Then, of course, there are two extra chapters not seen in the television event. 'Elvis: Nixon' is a particularly lengthy cut with Jerry Schilling telling the story of Elvis basically running away from Graceland for a while, meeting Jerry at an airport, and flying with him to Washington DC with no cash on either of them. (Elvis had cashed a check for $500, but gave it to a serviceman on the plane who was just returning home from Vietnam.) Elvis' intent--unknown to Jerry--was to petition the Federal Bureau of Narcotic and Dangerous Drugs for a position of service, using his status in the industry to fight the drug culture he felt the music industry promoted. On the plane, he writes a letter to President Nixon, who overrides the head of the FBN&DD and deputizes Elvis. This scene includes two brief interview clips with President Nixon in later years recalling the historic meeting.

From the book 'The New Gladiators'.
From the book 'The New Gladiators'.
Somewhat shorter is 'Elvis: Karate' in which Elvis tried to make a documentary-style movie about the martial art -- something that, at the time, would have been leading edge. But Elvis' health got in the way of him completing the movie (Elvis' part would have been largely commentary). Released for the first time, we see Elvis demonstrating and explaining Karate moves, something that many fans would pay to see on its own.

Quite possibly the most complete, most accurate, and most intimate biography piece done on the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis By The Presleys is a must-have for any Elvis afficionado.

Buy Elvis by The Presleys DVD

DVD Track Index

Disc 1
1. Elvis: Meets Priscilla
2. Elvis: Introducing Mrs. Presley
3. Elvis: The Inner Child
4. Elvis: The Generous
5. Elvis: The Seeker
6. Elvis: The King
7. Elvis: After Dark

Disc 2
1. Elvis: On Stage
2. Elvis: Style
3. Elvis Taking Care Of Business
4. Elvis: Forever

Special Features

1. Elvis: Nixon
2. Photo Gallery
3. 45 RPM
4. Elvis: Karate.

* Running Time: 270 minutes
* DVD Audio: 2.0 Stereo

Buy Elvis by The Presleys DVD
Buy Elvis By The Presleys CD

Buy Elvis By The Presleys Book
Buy The Day Elvis Met Nixon

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Elvis Presley Video Tupelo's Own Elvis Presley DVD

Never before have we seen an Elvis Presley concert from the 1950's with sound. Until Now! The DVD Contains recently discovered unreleased film of Elvis performing 6 songs, including Heartbreak Hotel and Don't Be Cruel, live in Tupelo Mississippi 1956. Included we see a live performance of the elusive Long Tall Sally seen here for the first time ever. + Plus Bonus DVD Audio.

This is an excellent release no fan should be without it.

The 'parade' footage is good to see as it puts you in the right context with color and b&w footage. The interviews of Elvis' Parents are well worth hearing too. The afternoon show footage is wonderful and electrifying : Here is Elvis in his prime rocking and rolling in front of 11.000 people. Highly recommended.

Tupelo's Own Elvis Presley DVD Video with Sound.