The Making of Elvis On Tour

I unfortunately don’t have time for a real entry this morning. I hope to be back within the next two or three days. However, I wanted to take a quick moment to point you over to an incredible post on the For Elvis CD Collectors forum:

“The Making Of ‘Elvis On Tour’ MGM 1972” by Davide

It’s a fantastic compilation of information and photos pertaining to the making of Elvis On Tour, which made its Blu-ray and DVD debut last year. I used to do this kind of thing for the Star Trek movies, and I can tell you that it takes loads of time. Hats off to Davide for the great work. Thanks for sharing it with us fans! (The post indicates that it is for FECC use only, so I’ve not quoted any of the material here, but I’m assuming a link to the post on FECC itself is acceptable.)

Rock to the Jailhouse Rock

Well, Elvis Day is over. Right as midnight approached, I finished watching Jailhouse Rock on Blu. Outside of the concert documentaries, it’s probably my favorite Elvis movie. It looks incredible in high definition. I could almost imagine it was 1957 and I was in the theater. . . .

It’s been awhile since I’ve watched it, and I’d forgotten just how cool Elvis was in Jailhouse Rock. In fact, I would say Jailhouse Rock stands next to the ’68 Comeback and That’s The Way It Is as Elvis at his absolute coolest. I’m gonna have to pick up FTD’s Jailhouse Rock volumes soon.

This was probably his best acting performance, too – though 1958’s King Creole is surely a contender as well. It makes those 1960s formula movies seem all the more disappointing.

It’s been a long day, and I need some sleep. Good night, folks.

“I’d like to shove their conversation. I’m not even sure they were talking English!” –Vince Everett (Jailhouse Rock)

Shoppin’ Around: Elvis Presley 2010 Christmas Gift Guide

If you know and love an Elvis fan, here are some Christmas gift ideas to suit a wide variety of budgets. Price ranges listed are in US dollars, but most of these items are available around the world.

Under $10

Viva Elvis: The Album: Reactions from the Elvis fan community have been mixed on this CD, which features new backing music to Elvis’ vocals. While this tribute to his career obviously will never replace the original recordings, I love this retrospective. Viva Elvis is a fun and brilliant album that presents Elvis in a whole new light – how it might sound if he recorded today.

Under $20

On Stage (2010 Legacy Edition): This two-CD set contains both On Stage-February 1970 and Elvis In Person At The International Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada, which capture his August 1969 and February 1970 Vegas engagements. Elvis is in top form here, and these recordings have never sounded better. A few bonus tracks are also included on each disc, from the same time period.

Under $30

Elvis Blu-ray Collection: Jailhouse Rock/Viva Las Vegas/Elvis On Tour: This three-disc Blu-ray set, currently retailing for less than $9 a movie, presents a well-chosen sampler of Elvis’ film career. Jailhouse Rock is the classic 1957 rocker that holds its own against King Creole (1958) and Flaming Star (1960) as Elvis’ best dramatic performance. 1964’s Viva Las Vegas is the highlight of his 1960s “formula” movies – aided, no doubt, by the talents of the beautiful Ann-Margret. Finally, 1972’s Elvis On Tour features Elvis on stage and behind-the-scenes during an April 1972 tour. While not as incredible as 1970’s Elvis-That’s The Way It Is (not yet available on Blu), Elvis On Tour is still a fantastic experience not to be missed.

Fair warning: This 2010 release of Elvis On Tour has been modified from the original version. Due to Warner Home Video’s inability to obtain permission to use “Johnny B. Goode,” the opening song of the movie is now an amateurishly looped, throwaway version of “Don’t Be Cruel.” This only affects the first two minutes of the otherwise unaltered film. The power of Elvis manages to save this release and make it worth recommending. Despite what you may read elsewhere, picture and sound quality for Elvis On Tour are terrific on Blu.

Elvis As Recorded At Boston Garden ’71: This Follow That Dream collectors label CD is a soundboard recording of Elvis’ one and only concert at Boston Garden. This is a must-have for fans of this era, for it provides the missing bridge between his 1970 and 1972 live concert sound. Great show! Find FTD releases at ShopElvis.com and other online Elvis stores.

$400 – $750

Elvis: The Complete Masters Collection (Franklin Mint); The Complete Elvis Presley Masters (Sony): These are two different but similarly themed CD releases. Both contain all 711 recordings that Sony identifies as masters released during Elvis’ lifetime. Sound quality is upgraded, but faithful to the original mixes (in most cases, anyway). The $400 Franklin Mint version also includes a 24-page booklet, a “record player” style display case, and a reproduction of Elvis’ first SUN record, “That’s All Right”/”Blue Moon Of Kentucky.” The $750 Sony version is aimed at higher-end collectors and includes another 103 songs (alternate masters, outtakes, home recordings, etc.), a 240-page book, and a fold-out case to hold everything. The first run of the Sony edition is sold out, but pre-orders for a January second run are now being accepted. To still have something to place under the tree, you could print out a photo of the set from the Sony site. The Franklin Mint version is still available.

Have fun, fellow Elvis fans, and thanks to all of those who love us!

Now! Elvis On Tour! Now!

Ladies and gentlemen, Elvis Presley has arrived in your hometown. 1972’s Elvis On Tour is available now for the first time ever on Blu-ray and DVD.

Elvis On Tour features Elvis on the road and in rehearsals in the spring of 1972. The movie shows Elvis in good form, with the effects of his marriage problems with Priscilla only beginning to take their toll.

It is a well-assembled film, capturing an important moment in the entertainer’s life. The second documentary produced about him, Elvis On Tour also represents Elvis’ 33rd and final completed movie.

Sandwiched between 1970’s colossal That’s The Way It Is documentary and 1973’s Aloha From Hawaii TV special, MGM’s Golden-Globe-winning film is sometimes overlooked among Elvis events.

At the time, Elvis On Tour ultimately did not even garner a soundtrack album release – trumped by the As Recorded At Madison Square Garden and Aloha live albums.

A theatrical showing last week across the United States placed a well-deserved spotlight on Elvis On Tour. There will also be a special screening of the movie on August 14 in Memphis during Elvis Week. A European screening of Elvis On Tour in Belgium will feature Elvis’ long-time friend Jerry Schilling, who also was an assistant editor on the original movie.

As confirmed last week, Warner Home Video has replaced the opening “Johnny B. Goode” with “Don’t Be Cruel” for this release due to being unable to obtain rights to use the classic tune, penned by Chuck Berry. Other than being fully restored for Blu-ray and upgraded to 5.1 surround sound, the film is otherwise unchanged from its original theatrical version.

When I sit down to watch Elvis On Tour on Blu-ray Friday night, I’m going to do so as a fan – not a blogger or a reviewer.

Crank up the volume, and have fun! That’s what being an Elvis fan is all about.

Elvis On Tour Countdown

  • Now: Elvis On Tour (2010 Cruel Edit) Blu-ray and DVD releases

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For more information (official site):

Selected posts about Elvis On Tour from The Mystery Train:

Two heroes rise from the ashes of Elvis On Tour: 75th Anniversary Celebration

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.

Elvis On Tour: 75th Anniversary Celebration hit theaters on July 29, 2010

Elvis On Tour: 75th Anniversary Celebration hit theaters on July 29, 2010

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):

Selected posts about Elvis On Tour from The Mystery Train:

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Original image courtesy of Goodman Media International, Inc. Used with permission.

“Never-before-seen Elvis tour scenes” — as long as you’ve never seen Elvis On Tour

I have a question for those behind Warner Home Video, Elvis Presley Enterprises, and Fathom Events: Where exactly was the “never-before-seen Elvis tour footage” you have been advertising for the July 29 showing of Elvis On Tour: 75th Anniversary Celebration?

I wonder what the excuse will be this time?

Anyway, I’ll have a review of the theatrical event, which featured the 2010 “Cruel Edit” of Elvis On Tour, coming in an hour or two. . . . Stick around for the fun.

Elvis On Tour tonight

The legendary Elvis Presley returns to the big screen tonight as Elvis On Tour: 75th Anniversary Celebration debuts in a special presentation at theaters across the United States.

Presented by Warner Home Video, Elvis Presley Enterprises, and Fathom, the event features the newly restored for high definition Elvis On Tour, a special message to fans from Elvis’ ex-wife, and what promoters bill as “never-before-seen” footage of Elvis.

Warner Brothers confirmed earlier this week that Tuesday’s DVD and Blu-ray releases of Elvis On Tour will actually contain a slightly modified edition of the film. A live version of “Don’t Be Cruel” replaces the “Johnny B. Goode” rehearsal that originally opened 1972’s Elvis On Tour.

It is unclear whether the “Cruel Edit” opening will also appear in tonight’s showing of the movie. In 2000, Warner Brothers’ limited release theatrical showing of a new version of Elvis-That’s The Way It Is included a live performance of “Are You Lonesome Tonight” over the closing credits. However, they were unable to obtain rights to the song for use in the 2001 DVD release, replacing it instead with footage of Elvis hosting celebrities backstage after one of the Vegas shows.

We’ll find out soon enough if the Cruel Edit extends to the theatrical presentation or only applies to the home releases. For those of you able to make it, have fun at the show tonight!

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I have to admit that Warner’s handling of the “Johnny B. Goode” debacle has dampened most of my enthusiasm for tonight’s event and next week’s home media releases. I just can’t seem to get pumped up again. I hope that changes by the time the lion roars.

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Elvis On Tour Countdown

  • Tonight: Elvis On Tour: 75th Anniversary Celebration theater event
  • 5 days until Elvis On Tour (2010 Cruel Edit) Blu-ray and DVD releases

* * *

For more information (official sites):

Selected posts about Elvis On Tour from The Mystery Train: