“It starts to get tense about this time…”
Elvis Presley rehearses in Culver City for upcoming performances in Las Vegas.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Concert Films
- Elvis Presley Films
Elvis Presley’s first non-dramatic movie since starting his Hollywood career in 1956 with Love Me Tender was this highly enjoyable concert film, directed by Denis Sanders and shot by DP Lucien Ballard. It offers an invaluable glimpse into Elvis-behind-the-scenes — messing around with his songs (he knew what he wanted, musically speaking); making people (and himself) laugh; yodeling just for yuks; chatting; and revealing both charm and humanity in spades. Once the film finally shifts to his vigorous performances (cut from six nights) in Las Vegas, it’s a little sad to leave the backstage Presley behind — though he more than delights with each song and audience interaction. It seems he was at his peak here, relaxed and fit and not-at-all callow, making it especially tragic to know what was to come. Indeed, it’s made pretty clear here how and why Presley died at the (relatively) young age of 42: he’s giving everything he has and more; one imagines a performer only has so much of that kind of authenticity to spend before it runs out.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- So many memorable moments and songs
- Lucien Ballard’s cinematography
Yes, as a most enjoyable concert film/documentary.