Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by Bink, Aug 22, 2021.
You mentioned this is the 2008 thread- too funny!
I’m nothing if not consistent
I will just add that not only is TTWII my favorite Elvis movie, it is in my top 5 of ALL movies, and certainly the greatest rock and roll documentary. Elvis is absolutely mesmerizing.
While I did not spring for the expensive boxset of all the concerts, my Holy Grail would be the complete video of all the rehearsals. No price would be too high!
After the release of the deluxe editions of the Comeback Special and Aloha From Hawaii I was hoping that MGM might see the value in a comprehensive dvd set of the footage from TTWII. In fact I am sure I read that EPE were also keen for this. Alas it was not to be.
But we’re getting a bloated 2 book/3 CD Jailhouse Rock set for the low low price of $275, plus tax.
I also have both versions of TTWII on DVD & enjoy them both, depending on my mood. I think that it was sad that the UK fan club convention was palmed off w/Elvis' tandem bicycle, considering how loyal the UK/European fans were/are to Elvis. Another thing that struck me was how much fun the rehearsals seemed to be, especially in comparison w/the Beatles in Let It Be. I think I rather have been goofing off w/Elvis in sunny California than being stuck w/the complaining Beatles in cold dreary London.
Something we haven't talked about yet is the decision for Elvis to quit his acting career and to fulfill his film contract with music documentaries.
I would have read about this when I read the Careless Love biography, but I am assuming that Elvis' wish to stop making substandard movies along with the fact that the movies were no longer making as much profit, would have been the reason for Colonel Parker to finally agree to renegotiate the contract with MGM to include documentaries.
Does anyone have any insight on this?
The Colonel did not renegotiate his contract, since there was no contract to renegotiate by the time Elvis quit acting. Elvis had a four-picture deal with MGM which was completed with the release of The Trouble With Girls. Change of Habit was a single-picture deal, part of a contract with NBC/Universal that also included the TV special. The two documentaries were each single-picture deals with MGM… they were not done as contractual obligations.
Oh ok, I was not aware of that. Thank you for clarifying.
When I watch TTWII, I get the feeling that this was what Steve Binder was envisioning when he wanted to tape Elvis rehearsing and clowning around for the television special (minus the fan convention stuff). Parker would not let that happen in '68 but at least we got those wonderful sit down shows where Binder was trying to recreate what he saw in rehearsals. After the undeniable success of the television special, I think everyone saw the value in the behind the scenes stuff. Elvis fans had never been able to see things like this before. It was new and thrilling.
Patch It Up:
I am a big fan of both the original version and the new edition. I rermember, back in 1989 or 1990, going with my best buddy to a huge mall on a saturday morning. And there they were: "That's the way it is" and "Elvis on tour", each one in its glorious vhs tape ("Turner classics collection" you could read in golden letters). The thing is we fliped a coin and I ended up with the 1972 film. Later, back at home, we made a copy of the tapes so each of us had both films. I litterally worn out "That's the way it is" (those rehearsals were like the greatest thing I had ever seen) while "On tour" was played a couple of times before staying untouched in its plastic case for the next 30 years. In 2001, I was the first client in the mall to get my dvd of the new edition: I spent the whole week enjoying every minute of it (those rehearsals were like the greatest thing I had ever seen since the original edition) although I missed a couple of live performances plus OH HAPPY DAY only available online.
Today I go back from time to time to the LITTLE SISTER / GET BACK rehearsal or that explosive THAT'S ALL RIGHT, MAMA with the mic giving up at the end of the jam session. I still believe that both encarnations of "TTWII" are great documentaries about early 70's Elvis, before he got stuck once again in the routine and the depression.
One of my favorite Elvis songs. Very underrated.
The differences in the intensity of the performances on TTWII compared to On Tour and especially Aloha is amazing considering only a couple of years had passed!
Elvis On Tour
Year of release: 1972
Directors: Pierre Adidge and Robert Abel
Elvis is captured on his 1972 tour. This includes concert footage, backstage scenes, concert preparations, fan interviews and reflections of his earlier career.
Another great film, but it's impossible not to compare it to TTWII from only two years earlier, which has much better performances. I do like how this one traces his history a little by including clips from the 50s, and it's startling how much he has changed in appearance since then - it's Bowie-esque!
Exactly: he looks so cool and healthy in the 50s clip. When we go back to the actual 70s footage, it seems we are watching a different artist. Something that wouldn't have happened with,say, the rehearsal scenes in TTWII. But with EOT, the contrast is shocking and depressing.
I have watched On Tour several times over the years but just a few thoughts from watching it again today:
I find the film to be fairly somber compared to TTWII. Whereas in TTWII we see Elvis having a lot of fun with his band, even on stage his banter is jovial and joking, in On Tour he is quite serious.
He also comes across as quite vulnerable. I often think of the scene where one of his people are telling him that the ceiling is quite low, they are talking to him like carers talk to elderly people!
I think many people's perception is that he had put on a lot of weight by this time. However take a look at his waist. He still seems quite slim. His haircut and some of the clothes he is wearing actually make him look larger I think. And he is still a pretty dynamic performer.
There are some really embarrassing scenes - for example when the director asks the hotel manager what happens when Elvis arrives - "he will come through that door and take the elevator ". Very insightful lol.
It's quite difficult to identify what city they are in. Modern documentaries might show a caption saying 'Greensboro' for example.
It's quite a short film. Many fans would love to see more footage. If Peter Jackson fancies making another rock documentary after his recent Get Back documentary about The Beatles this might be an interesting one.
That would be very interesting indeed - a great idea!
See See Ryder:
And here is my own video edit on SEE SEE RIDER:
I know they filmed footage at several concerts for Elvis On Tour but does anyone know if they filmed a complete concert?
Perhaps my favorite scene in the film. That Elvis would take the time to highlight gospel numbers in a concert setting speaks volumes as to how important this music was to him:
I don't don't find the contrast between 50s and early 70s Elvis in EOT all that shocking or depressing. It has a similar formula to TTWII (which I think was Steve Binder's original vision of how he wanted to do the 1968 television special if he had been free to do so).
By 1972, I think they were trying to make a grittier version of TTWII. There's the fans, rehearsals, behind the scenes, great concert footage but now throw in some history and personal commentary by the man himself. Elvis rarely talked candidly about his life without making jokes or giving very safe responses to questions. It was a new facet in how fans were allowed to see him. He also had a lot of bad personal things happening in his life at this time. In 1970 by contrast, he was still riding high from leaving Hollywood, returning to the charts, and returning to live performing again. In 1970, he and Priscilla were still together. 1972 had a different vibe for Elvis.
When I was a teenager in the mid 1980s, there was an old movie theater in a bigger city about an hour away. This theater was in a bad part of town and was run down but they had great turnout on Saturday/Sundays. They would stop showing the regular run movie and starting at midnight, had what they called the "Midnight Movie Madness". Movies were usually long unscreened cult classic movies. They usually had a double feature, triple feature, and sometimes a quadruple feature that lasted till the sun was up the next morning. They always had a good turnout and sometimes were at capacity if it was big cult films being shown. On Halloween they would show three Faces Of Death films back to back to back for example. I saw The Beatles in Hard Days Night and Help there. I saw a Planet Of The Apes Marathon there. I saw two Clint Eastwood spaghetti westerns there. I saw TTWII and EOT there. The prints were pretty beat up sometimes but the audience didn't care. They were with fellow movie fans enjoying these cult films on the big screen again! It was cool seeing Elvis' concert films on the big screen even though it was years after their initial release.
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