Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Overlooked Movies -- This Is Elvis

Last week TCM went all out for Elvis Presley on the 40th anniversary of his death.  One movie that I hadn't seen, although I'd heard a bit about it, was This Is Elvis, a sort of documentary.  I say "sort of" because while there's a lot of great archival footage, mixed in with it are a number of reenactments.  And while it's supposedly Elvis narrating the film, it's actually Ral Donner doing his best Elvis speaking voice.  Sometimes the reenactments are obvious, as with the three different actors playing Elvis at various stages of his career, but sometimes they're not quite so obvious, as with some of the interviews supposedly conducted at various times.  I'm assuming that the B&W segments aren't reenactments, or that most of them aren't.  I could be wrong, however.

The film worked pretty well overall, I thought, and it didn't flinch from the downfall at the end of Elvis' life.  Okay, maybe it did flinch a little in not spending much time on it, but it presented it honestly.  It shows a segment of the 1968 TV special, which Judy and I watched live back then.  Both of us thought that the real Elvis was back, and I know I, for one, thought it would be a turning point in his career and life.  It was, all right, but not in the way I thought.  He managed to sustain the quality for a short while, but it was all downhill after that.  I'd recommend this film for anybody who's too young to remember Elvis and the impact he had and for nostalgic old folks like me.

***And now for a personal aside.  The only time that Judy and I saw Elvis in person was when he appeared in Abilene, Texas, on March 27, 1977.  We didn't have great seats, but I had a pair of binoculars that we shared throughout the show.  It was a great show, but afterward I told Judy that Elvis didn't look good at all.  She got upset with me because Elvis, to her, always looked good.  I was right, however.  Only a few months later he was dead.

The day the Elvis died, Judy and I were eating dinner with the kids when the news came on TV.  Judy started to cry as soon as she heard it.  I'll bet the kids still remember this, though they were small at the time.  It was a shocker, for sure.


George said...

I was in a bookstore in St. Catherines, Canada when the news came over the radio. I was stunned by Elvis's death.

Jeff Meyerson said...

Wow, you guys saw Elvis live (even if it was Almost Dead Elvis). Cool.

To be honest, I was never a big Elvis fan. Don't remember where we were when I heard it.

Cap'n Bob said...

I was a big fan of Elvis in his Jordanaires days but not so much for his movies and Vegas shtick.