In the end, two men saved Elvis On Tour: 75th Anniversary Celebration. One hero was who you might expect, while the other was quite unlikely.
By the time I arrived at the movie theater this evening, I was finally excited about Elvis On Tour again. I managed to get my favorite seat – top row, middle – and was ready to enjoy some Elvis.
On screen before the presentation were Elvis trivia tidbits. One card noted, for example, that Elvis On Tour recouped its production cost after three days of its 1972 theatrical release.
When the main features started, the fairly large cinema was full. Up first were the expected commercials: Visit Graceland, go to Elvis Week, see the Viva Elvis production in Vegas, take an Elvis cruise, and, oh yeah, listen to the Elvis 75 4-CD set. A commercial for the Viva Elvis album was surprisingly well assembled and featured “Also Sprach Zarathustra.”
Finally, a behind-the-scenes documentary for Elvis On Tour began. It featured contemporary interviews with Priscilla Presley, Jerry Schilling, and others. It was the kind of interesting “making of” documentary I’ve become accustomed to watching on Blu-rays and DVDs that don’t feature Elvis.
Since Elvis On Tour is an Elvis movie, though, this kind of special feature material will of course not be included in Tuesday’s release. It’s a shame, too, because the documentary was actually quite good. Oddly enough, Tuesday’s DVD and Blu-ray release of Elvis On Tour was one of the few products not advertised tonight. How could they overlook that opportunity? Wasn’t that the whole point of tonight? There was, however, one last plug to remind you to visit Graceland.
Once the behind-the-scenes documentary and commercials ended – with none of the previously unreleased Elvis footage that has been advertised for weeks – the actual movie began. The lead-off song was, indeed, “Don’t Be Cruel” rather than “Johnny B. Goode.” Bad editing and all. What an amateurish way to start the movie.
The audience here was mostly quiet at first until . . .
. . . the elderly man talking about the freight elevator came on screen!
I’m not kidding! The audience instantly began to roar with laughter as he described in monotone how Elvis would come through one door, then another, and take a freight elevator.
I found myself laughing, too, but I couldn’t believe the reaction at first – then I realized . . . these people have been suffering through this scene for just as long – or longer – than I have. For years, we Elvis fans have been watching this man. I never thought I’d say this, but I’m glad they didn’t cut him out. There’s something comforting about knowing he’s still there to show us how it all works.
From that point on, the atmosphere was charged – there was a lot more applause, singing along, and overall excitement in the crowd. It began to feel almost like I was at a real concert. Almost like Elvis was there.
You see, despite the many mistakes that Warner Home Video and Elvis Presley Enterprises have made over the years, Elvis always wins in the end. These people may not deserve to have Elvis as a “client,” yet he saves them every time.
Would I have gone to the theater tonight if there was no promise of previously unreleased footage? Of course, and I’d be willing to bet everyone else would have, too. My anger comes not from the lack of footage, but from the lack of respect for fans.
I was pretty sure the “never-before-seen Elvis tour scenes” thing would turn out to be false. I was really hoping I was wrong. You didn’t have to mislead us, Warner Home Video, Elvis Presley Enterprises, and Fathom Events. We would’ve been there anyway. Don’t you get it?
There is no excuse.
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Elvis On Tour Countdown: 5 days until Elvis On Tour (2010 Cruel Edit) Blu-ray and DVD releases
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For more information (official sites):
- Fathom Events – Elvis On Tour 75th Anniversary Celebration
- Warner Home Video – Elvis On Tour Blu-ray and DVD releases
- Elvis On Tour on the Big Screen
Selected posts about Elvis On Tour from The Mystery Train:
- Elvis On Tour Blu-ray/DVD coming August 3
- Elvis On Tour: The official audio releases
- Elvis On Tour to hit US theaters on July 29
- It’s official! Elvis On Tour to rock almost every US state!
- One Night: More Elvis On Tour theater event and Blu-ray details
- Elvis On Tour, VHS Style
- Found and Lost: The official Elvis On Tour video outtake releases
- Elvis On Tour meets the wonder of Blu . . . but without Johnny B. Goode?
- Warner site still claims Elvis On Tour releases contain extra songs; no word on fate of Johnny B. Goode
- Johnny B. Gone: Warner Brothers confirms replacement of Elvis On Tour’s opening song
- Elvis On Tour tonight
- “Never-before-seen Elvis tour scenes” — as long as you’ve never seen Elvis On Tour
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Original image courtesy of Goodman Media International, Inc. Used with permission.
I watched the movie at a theater in Evansville, Indiana. It was a packed house… large theater and not many seats left. Fans clapped after each song. There was energy in the room for sure and it was the closest thing that many of us will come to actually experiencing what an Elvis concert might’ve been like in person.
The same thing happened in Evansville. The audience couldn’t stop laughing when the old man came on screen. It was one of the highlights of the night for some strange reason.
I was really disappointed with no bonus footage, but not surprised. It’s just a shame that EPE always lets the diehards down by promising grand things and not living up to the marketing promises. Oh well.
It’s the first movie I’ve ever been to where everybody stayed in their seats while the credits rolled. The screen was totally black and the credits all over with when the fans finally started to get up and leave. Everybody clapped, first.
Great time and great movie. I was shocked that that many people out there would show up for a 70’s Elvis show in 2010 in a town like Evansville. The King truly does still live and always will.
While Elvis isn’t as in shape in 1972 as he was in 1968, 69, or 70… and while his stage moves aren’t quite as exciting as in “That’s The Way It Is”… his voice was getting pretty weak in 1972 and although still amazing just didn’t have the power that he had in the years prior. However, “Elvis On Tour” is probably my favorite Elvis movie. To me Elvis was never as cool on screen. He doesn’t have to really prove himself on stage. He’s the King. The clothes are as over the top as they had ever been. Sunglasses bigger. Sideburns and hair longer. The largest watch on a person’s wrist I’ve ever seen in my life. It’s truly Elvis just being as true to himself as I think he ever was. He is putting on a show, yet it just seems more real than 68 or 70. This was Elvis in his element. Totally as comfortable in front of an audience as he had ever been. And, for that reason this film is my favorite.
Nice review! Thanks for offering up your perspective.
You touched on something there that I meant to mention last night.
I’m working on two hours of sleep here, so I hope this makes some sense. This was second Elvis theatrical event for me – the first was the ’68 Comeback back in 2004.
’68 Comeback is certainly better than Elvis On Tour . . . yet . . . yet, there’s something about Elvis On Tour – it was more fun, at least in a theater, than the Comeback! I was shocked by this.
Elvis On Tour, quirks and all, is special in its own way. I’ll be glad to have it on Blu-ray so that it can take its proper place in the rotation.
I wish I’d been there, Tygrrius, because of Elvis and the atmosphere in the cinema you’re describing so well.
Great writing and thank you for the report!
PS: I agree. There’s no excuse.
Thanks, Thomas. Elvis On Tour was a great experience, I wouldn’t trade it. That’s why I’m not demanding my money back or any BS like that. At the end of the day, we still got to spend a couple of hours with the one and only Elvis – you can’t put a price tag on that.
I didn’t feel the expected atmosphere at first (I actually thought about you mentioning that in a previous post while I was in the theater). It was the elderly man and the elevator that did it for everyone, I still can’t believe it.
I’ll say this . . . I will NEVER look at Elvis On Tour the same way after last night. It was special! I don’t regret going for a second. I hope I conveyed that in my review.