Video & DVD Reviews
Elvis The Colonel & Me
Documenting The Legend - By Ed Bonja
Running Time 70 minutes approx.
A DVD fans will enjoy, if not for Mr. Bonja talking about his times on the road with the Colonel & Elvis, which is interesting for the most part. Then for the bonus film included taken from the collection of Sharif Hanna, This footage is absolutely stunning coming from Las Vegas February 1971 & 1972 & various 1976 shows & Rochester 77 (Which has to be the best amateur footage to be seen by fans to date. It really puts the CBS TV special film to shame, it is so clear & the colour.
The most disappointing part of the DVD is the Aloha Press Conference from September 1972, which should have been complete, but we only get a few minutes of it here.
Here on the DVD you get a picture slide show, I know of all the DVD's we have had to date, the two Aloha shows stick out like a soar thumb when it comes to slide shows with 3 or 4 pictures, well they could all learn a thing or two by watching this one I lost count on number of pictures used.
Vol. 2 of this is coming soon as stated at the end of the feature, This is a neat idea, and should be done with all of the Elvis associates, it would make a great DVD library. So bring on Volume II.
Elvis Presley - Classic Albums
Running time 100 minutes
Probably one of the best DVD releases in a while for fans of the 50's. Ernst Jorgensen, Scotty Moore, D.J Fontana talk about the Sun recordings through to the first couple of RCA recordings, a great insight includes some rare footage, and in-between takes of some classic Elvis.
Others include there comments are Dixie Lock (early girlfriend), Red West, B.B King, Keith Richards, biographer Peter Guralnick.
This film is filled with performances from 1955 & 1956, interviews with Elvis, home movie footage, a fresh insight to his life and recordings.
What ever you do don't buy the video version as it only has a 45 minute running time, on the DVD you get over 50 minutes of further interviews with the people mentioned above.
Hot Shots & Cool Clips - Volume 1 a video documentary
DVD NTSC World-wide - (No Video Release)
Running time 60 minutes (Colour & B/W)
The long awaited second release from Joe Tunzi, after the collapse of the "New Gladiators" DVD thanks to Graceland. Joe came up with this release with more to follow, but first is this everything that we hoped for or does it fall short?
Well let's look at the liner notes:
Elvis: Hot Shots & Cool Clips, spotlights the career of Elvis Presley through vintage newsreels, home movies, press interviews & photographs. This first volume will include unreleased film footage of Elvis back stage with Bobby Darrin, Danny Thomas & the historic Madison Square Garden Press Conference plus much more. This DVD eliminates many of the unnecessary edits and narration that accompanied many Elvis videos in the past. Produced with a contemporary edit, we are sure it will delight everyone.
The interactive menu:
Once the DVD starts you are taken to a spinning globe and the choice of 4 chapters:
1. The 50's
2. The Early 60's
3. The 60's & 70's
4. Bonus section
Clicking on the 50's chapter you are taken to a sub section with:
1. April 23rd 1956
2. March 28th 1957
3. September 27th 1957
4. September 22nd 1958
1. April 23rd 1956 text introduction: Elvis opens a two-week engagement at the Venus Room of the New Frontier Hotel in Las Vegas. He attends numerous shows by other show business stars like the famous clowns, The Champions and one of his mothers favourites, Liberace.
The clips start with autograph signing that we have seen before, then back stage with a couple which is new to me, then on stage with two clowns, again I have seen this before but we get a little more of it here. This is followed by the clip with Elvis shaking Liberace's hand again a little more than we have seen before but a band across the screen blocks out Elvis? Followed by Elvis and Liberace back stage walking though to the stage where you see Elvis at the piano and Liberace on guitar, again a little more than we have seen before. Most noticeable during these clips is the cuts between each clip most could have done better with an old 80's VCR. Very clumsy.
2. March 28th 1957text introduction: On stage at the International Amphitheatre in Chicago, Illinois. With footage concerning views from Chicago area high school students during this time period.
Chicago Telenews film this has students with there Elvis badges and banners and having a go at some male students for being anti Elvis, this is followed by some rather poor quality film of Elvis on stage in his gold Suit as featured in the movie "This Is Elvis" again a little longer, then back to reporter's interviewing fans.
3. September 27th 1957 text introduction: Elvis Presley backstage at the Tupelo, Mississippi Fair and on stage in a show to benefit the Elvis Presley Planned Youth Centre before 12,000 fans. Covered wagons and banners are used for promotion to announce his new movie "Jailhouse Rock".
Film of the Banner used to announce the EP Centre, then onto the Town Hall and some more banners then you see the screaming fans full two minutes 15 seconds are taken up with this before you see Elvis back stage. No more than we have seen before but all put together in one piece then more fans followed by Elvis on stage and here is the first time on the DVD you can say a lot more unseen footage of Elvis. This is a joy to watch just a shame about the overdubbed music, the music is different on each section thankfully.
September 22nd 1958 text introduction: In Brooklyn, New Your, Elvis holds a press conference before boarding the USS Randall leaving for the German port of Bremerhaven and then to the Ray Barracks in Friedberg to continue his tour of duty for the U.S Army.
News real with Elvis arriving on the train followed by the press interview, this is again like the first chapter this is poorly edited. Again a lot more than we are used to seeing but a long way from being complete. Then he boards the ship.
Clicking on the Early 60's chapter you are taken to a sub section with:
1. March 1960
2. May 1960
3. July 1961
4. April 11th 1962
5. February 14th 1964
1. March 1960, Text introduction: Elvis at a press conference speaking about his return to civilian life following his two-year stint in the army.
Elvis being interviewed after his landing back in the USA, most of this is new. Elvis is asked about his acting etc.
2. May 1960 text introduction: Elvis taking in the show of legendary singer Bobby Darin. Shown back stage at Cloisters in Hollywood with other actor celebrities that would include Donald O'Connor and Jim Backus.
This silent footage is excellent just a shame we can't hear what they were saying, once the room fills up it's a little like the closing credits on the new version of "That's The Way It Is" but this is B/W.
3. July 1961 text introduction: During the filming of the movie, "Follow That Dream" over 300 citizens' show up in Weeki Wachee Spring in Florida for a special event that Colonel Parker cooks up to show Elvis Presley's achievements in show business.
Again silent film but this time in full colour but this is home movie footage and not the best very shaky and it's not easy to make everything out until the close ups, a great clip all the same
4. April 11th 1962 text introduction: The premier of Follow That Dream. It opened nationally on May 23rd.
B/W silent film not the most essential piece of film to be included showing the movie there & the Police motor cycle display team up the main street, no Elvis.
5. February 14th 1964 text introduction: Presentation of the USS Potomac to Danny Thomas to benefit St. Jude's Hospital in Memphis. A hospital dedicated to finding cures for catastrophic disease in children an interest by both Danny Thomas & Elvis Presley.
This film again silent and a little out of order hear and there, Elvis appears to have more fun when he has to leave and he gets stuck signing autographs. Excellent film this.
Clicking on the 60's & 70's chapter you are taken to a sub section with:
1. May 1st 1967
2. August 1968
3. April 1969
4. June 9th 1972
1. May 1st 1967 text introduction: Elvis marries Pricilla. The ceremony is held at the Alladin Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada and was presided over by Supreme Court Justice, David Zenoff. Also seen are Elvis' dad Vernon, best man Joe Esposito & Marty Lacker and other friends and family.
Silent film in colour most of which we have seen before, a little film of the out side of the Tropicana in-between basically not a lot we haven't seen if anything?
2. August 1968 text introduction: Outside his Beverly Hills home posing and signing autographs with fans, during the filming of the movie Charro!
This short bit of colour film has been doing the rounds for a long time and I think in a little better quality?
3. April 1969 text introduction: Elvis is shown the construction of the New International Hotel with two-thousand seat showroom in Las Vegas, Nevada where he will return to the stage on July 31st, 1969.
Again here is a well-known bit of film and if you have the documentary "The Real Las Vegas" you have it all, but nice to have it on an Elvis release all the same.
4. June 9th 1972 text introduction: Press conference at the New York Hilton before his history making concerts on June 10th & 11th at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
This is what should have been the icing on the cake but bad editing spoils it at the beginning. This press conference should have been left complete, it is a tragic shame this has been edited maybe Vol. 2 will show the complete uncut version, the quality is stunning.
Clicking on the Bonus section chapter you are taken to a sub section with:
1. News Highlights
2. October 1st 1958
3. September 5th 1972
1. News Highlights text introduction: History in the making.
A selection of various news reel films from the past featuring the news from the times but not for me, but if they used just Elvis related news it would only run for 2 minutes, I suppose tits a way of stretching out the programme
2. October 1st 1958 text introduction: The USS Randall enters the German port Bremerhaven as Elvis takes Germany and is met by over 1000 fans and the press.
News reel footage of Elvis' arrival in Germany not one that I've seen before
3. September 5th 1972 text introduction: Press conference at the Las Vegas Hilton announcing his "Aloha From Hawaii" via satellite concert shown the world over to 1.5 billion people.
Not the best picture quality version but still very good, but once again incomplete.
4. Slideshow text introduction: Photographs taken March 17th 1974 at the afternoon performance at the Mid-South Coliseum, Memphis Tennessee.
Not a lot to be said here except the usual slide show but a few more pictures than Joe's last DVD release.
All in all a good release that could have been one hell of a lot better if things were more complete, even if it was just the Madison Square Garden, Press Conference. If that was complete everything else would have been over shadowed but this is not the case unfortunately. As this is what could be called a learning release lets hope that Mr. Tunzi's next DVD Hot Shots is not called "Hot Shots & Cool Clips Vol. 2" but "Cool Clips & The Complete Madison Press Conference".
Not worth the $40 - $50.00 being asked but it is a captive audience and they know they can get away with it for the time being.
Fans without DVD Players will just have to ask fans that can copy DVD to Video for help and lets hope they get a better deal on price
Still not to be missed either way on DVD or Video or no doubt in time VCD too.