'Elvis UNLEASHED'

Cinema Special Event October 2019

Review by Arjan Deelen

The publicity stated... Experience the King Like Never Before With 'Elvis Unleashed'.

Elvis Presley returns to big screens across the globe this fall with the new music special, "Elvis Unleashed," featuring previously unseen footage on movie theater screens of Elvis as he filmed the iconic "68 Comeback Special." The two-day cinema event, which includes outtakes and performances that reveal a new side of the King.

"Elvis Unleashed" captures the spontaneous moments and stories behind the legendary special, and sheds new light on Elvis as a cultural icon. Each screening will include a new 30-minute segment with Los Angeles Times lead music writer Randy Lewis in conversation with actor Dennis Quaid, rising pop/country artist Jade Jackson and the esteemed director and producer of the "68 Elvis Comeback Special," Steve Binder, to discuss Elvis's life and legacy. Quaid and Jackson are set to perform some Elvis classics, while Randy Lewis discusses the behind-the-scenes interactions that Binder had with Elvis and his manager Colonel Parker, as well as celebrating the King.

While the US and Australia screenings were cancelled EIN contributor ARJAN DEELEN saw this movie-event in Copenhagen last night - and kindly sent us his on-the-spot review... he notes, "All fans deserve to see this footage"..


Arjan Deelen reviews the new cinema event ‘ELVIS UNLEASHED' which screened in Europe October 7, 2019.

‘ELVIS UNLEASHED’ REVIEWED

Having just seen ’Elvis Unleashed’, I am trying to collect my first thoughts. As I entered the cinema earlier this evening, I didn’t really know what to expect. Fathom Events has not been good at communicating what this film really is, and why people should go and see it. Moreover, the promotion of the film has been lacking, to say the least. From my perspective, they had not done their home work properly, and it seems to have cost them dearly.

Cancellations in over 800 cinemas in countries like the USA and Australia shows that something clearly went very wrong. Everybody is guessing what the reasons for these cancellations are, but to me the most plausible one appears to be their inability to communicate to their audience why they should go and see this film, and what it really delivers. And thus, there is little support for it. With so many cancellations, and poor attendances at those screenings that did take place, I hope that Fathom Events will reflect on this promotional disaster and learns a few important lessons. Elvis deserves better than this -- and we deserve better than this. To me it seems that they were pleasantly surprised by the relative success of their ’68 Comeback cinema event last year, and quickly produced this title thinking that lightning would strike twice. Clearly, this backfired on them. One wonders what could have been done with a little more planning, better marketing, and most importantly, genuine love for the subject at hand. Various recent Beatles projects have shown us what is possible in that respect. But, let’s focus on what is actually delivered here, rather than what could have been.

 


THREE PARTS

The film can be divided into three parts. The first part is newly filmed and features producer Steve Binder, actor Dennis Quaid, critic Randy Lewis and singer Jade Jackson. Truthfully speaking, it’s hard to make sense of this part.

It’s always good to see Steve Binder again, even though he has nothing new to say. But his stories about his challenges with the Colonel especially are always an entertaining listen. He comes across as a warm and insightful guy, and he is clearly proud of the work that he’s done with Elvis – as indeed he should be.

The others say various nice things about EP, but nothing that really provides new insights into Elvis or the NBC show. In fact, it’s hard to figure out why they are there.

I mean, I have nothing against Dennis Quaid… I quite like him as an actor, but why is he in this documentary? It’s never properly explained. And yet we have to listen to him perform ‘That’s All Right Mama’ and ‘Love Me Tender’… I for one certainly could have done without that. Much the same can be said about Jade Jackson. Nice lady, decent singer… But the big question is: why was she invited for this? It’s unclear to me. Her version of ‘Love Me’ did nothing for me. As we were watching this part, you could sense that people were starting to lose interest. Except for a few bits and pieces here and there, there was not enough Elvis in this section. Predictable talking heads and dubious guest singers were not what we had come to see.

But then, finally, ‘Elvis Unleashed’ really began. Phew!


GOOD VIBES

It begins with a composite of the sitdown, in general with a focus on the versions that weren’t used much before now, with all the flaws, the false starts etc, still there. Over the years we’ve had so much new material from this special, that it’s hard to tell what’s really new, but I was surprised by various camera angles that seemed fresh to me. This part was edited well and enabled us to pick up on details that were not as obvious earlier. It gave a fresh feel to the material. Overall the quality of the footage and audio is very good, taking into consideration the age and source of the material (NBC tv videotape). Fans have to remember that the show was never filmed with the idea it would ever be shown on a big cinema screen. It is amazing that it works as well as it does.

In a few instances, it seemed that there was a bit more footage than we’ve before, like for instance after ‘Memories’…. A minor details perhaps, but still neat. This section gives you a strong sense of his talent and his kindness. It’s interesting to observe how he reacts to sudden situations: mistakes, technical problems, etc. He always responds in an upbeat way, with kindness and laughter. Whenever a song falls apart, he’s quick to take the blame. You can tell that it was easy for him to create good vibes around him, because it was such a big part of who he was. And his passion and his enthusiasm are absolutely contagious.

He is on fire especially on ‘Trying To Get To You’, ‘One Night’ and ‘Lawdy Miss Clawdy’, and his guitar playing really shines on ‘Baby What You Want Me To Do’. But really, it’s all brilliant stuff, and he makes it seem so effortless. What a guy. Once again I’m absolutely blown away by his raw talent and his pure charisma. ‘Never ceases to amaze me!’.

 

IN FULL CONTROL

The third and final part is a composite of the stand-up shows, once again with a focus on the performances that weren’t used much before now. Elvis opens (or tries to…) with ‘Heartbreak Hotel’, but this part is hampered by technical problems. At one point the sound disappears entirely, and I could see that some people in the audience were wondering what was going on. But then it came back as EP was belting out ‘One Night’.

The stand-up shows is where Elvis was really ‘let loose’, or Unleashed, if you will. He just oozes raw sexuality, and he is all over that stage. He moves like a panther. You can tell that he is in his element, even with that cloying orchestra behind him. I’m guessing that it’s the musical equivalent to having shackles around your ankles, but despite that Elvis seems confident and powerful, and makes it clear at least twice that the orchestra has to follow him -- and not the other way around. You can tell that he works really hard, and he manages to dance around the technical and musical problems that pop up, and even makes them work to his advantage. He is in full control.

Having said that, in general I think that the standup shows are not as musically satisfying as the sitdown shows, but one might argue that the visual element more than makes up for that. Speaking of which, it has to be said though that the camera work here is decidedly poorer than during the sitdown shows, and in parts downright shoddy. This may have been due to the use of several handheld camera’s during the standup shows, which back in ’68 were quite bulky and heavy.

Some of the camera angles seem new to me, but the downside is that some of this footage is shaken or blurry. This did spoil some of the enjoyment of watching this segment of the film. Nevertheless, this stuff is bloody amazing and essential viewing: as you watch this footage, you can tell that Elvis knew that a lot was at stake – he simply works his hiney off.

And once again… His charisma is simply off the radar. He was one of the few people that had that rare quality that makes it hard to take your eyes off of him. This segment showcases him as a live performer, and boy, he really knew how to rock the house. Near the end, this part loses some of its momentum with various false starts of ‘Trouble’, but then he brings the proceedings to a grand ending with ‘If I Can Dream’, which incidentally is the only playback performance here. 


IS THERE A NEXT TIME?

Let’s hope that Fathom Events get their act together and learn from the mistakes made. All fans deserve to see this footage, and not just a few lucky ones. It’s infuriating that they’ve turned this event into a shambles, but they can only blame themselves. It seems to me that they went for a quick buck, and this totally backfired on them. The planning that went into this project and the promotion done are both lacking. It’s frustrating, because with a bit more vision so much more could have been achieved.

Overall, I enjoyed ‘Elvis Unleashed’, even though the movie is flawed in some respects. And I do hope that it will be shown in those countries where it has now been cancelled. As far as I’m concerned, they can easily ditch the first part, which serves little purpose, while the second and third part may need some minor tweaking. But of course the big question right now is, will there be a next time, or does this failure mean the death knell for similar future Elvis projects? Time will tell.

(Original photos taken at CinemaxX Copenhagen, October 7, by Arjan Deelen)

Review by Arjan Deelen.
-Copyright EIN Ocober 2019 - DO NOT COPY -
EIN Website content © Copyright the Elvis Information Network.

 

Click to comment on this review -

 

EIN THANKS Arjan Deelen for this fantastic and timely review
It is truly upsetting that the Australian screenings were cancelled



Elvis / Orchestra Copenhagen 2018 Concert Review: The first 'Elvis & the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra' concert tour initially kicked off in England back in 2016. It was amazing that almost 40 years after his death, Elvis Presley was still getting fully-deserved standing ovations at packed arenas.
Now in 2018 the 'Wonder Of You' Video-Screen returns to Europe for another tour.
In this EIN exclusive Arjan Deelen describes "Moments Of Promise, Moments Of Frustration" as the EPE tour keeps trying to make an impact but without any genuine Elvis musician connection.
The 2016 reviews suggested that it was "So realistic fans felt Elvis really was in the building!" yet recently some Elvis fans came away disappointed especially when compared to previous "TCB Band" events.
Go here as EIN contributor Arjan Deelen checks out the 2018 Copenhagen presentation...
(Spotlight, Source;AD,ElvisInfoNet)


'ELVIS: That's The Way It Was & This Is How It Is Today': Elvis is no longer with us but his spirit lives forever. Elvis fans always discover something quite magical when they get the chance to “Walk-a-mile-in-his-shoes”. Graceland, when not overrun by crowds, feels very special indeed. Standing in the quiet you can almost feel the spirit of Elvis still inhabiting his home. The feeling in Memphis’ Sun Studios can bring fans to tears.
One of the places that Elvis spent a large part of his life is the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel – now the Westgate. Elvis performed a stunning 636 concerts in the Hilton showroom and the impact of his incredible legacy can still be felt. Watching the classic movie ‘Elvis: That’s The Way It Is’ you can feel the power of his spirit.
Arjan Deelen recently returned to the classic hotel to investigate “Elvis Hotspots” and discoved that behind the showroom stage is relatively unchanged.
(Spotlight, Source;ArjanDeelen/ElvisInfoNetwork)

RPO tours WITHOUT the RPO: Have EPE lost the plot completely?: As EPE is about to embark on its latest venture, the 'Royal Philharmonic Orchestra' (RPO) tours, I think there's some questions that need to be asked, and some points that deserve to be raised.
The 2015 album of 'Elvis with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra' was a massive-seller both in Europe and Australia. To capitalise on this new chart success EPE have planned a worldwide tour featuring "Elvis" on stage backed by a 40-piece orchestra.
While 'If I Can Dream' was a huge success with the general public, the CD divided opinions among the hard-core Elvis collectors. The new "Elvis with the R.P.O" tour is bound to do the same.
However EPE has decided to save money by apparently using local "Pick-up" orchestras instead.
Go here as EIN contributor Arjan Deelen looks back at EPE's previous "Elvis Tours" and asks some tricky questions about this new Elvis - RPO money-making venture.
And please send us YOUR comments to be included in the debate.
(Spotlight, Source;ArjanDeelen/ElvisInformationNetwork)


'The Wonder Of You' Elvis with the RPO - In-depth CD Review: It is forty years since Elvis Presley entered a recording studio and he seems very reluctant to record anything new. So in terms of releasing a "new" album of Elvis material the topic has always been a tricky one. After the massive 2015 success of "Elvis with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra" and ‘If I Can Dream’ the follow-up was inevitable and 'The Wonder Of You' recently achieved Number One in the UK album charts.
But can a follow-up really be as impressive - and do the true Elvis fans have to approve of these on-going fake "Revisions"?

Click here as EIN's Piers Beagley and Bryan Gruszka are back again to cause "Double-trouble" and supply a very detailed review, discovering what's good and bad...
And HAVE YOUR SAY - what do you think of the new album? Are we wrong in our opinions?
(CD Reviews, Source;ElvisInfoNet)



'Elvis In Concert ROCKS Copenhagen in 2012: An insider's review of the new 'Elvis Presley In Concert' tour. Tour producer Arjan Deelen was at the Copenhagen March 24 performance. This year bassist Norbert Putnam has also joined the TCB Band regulars, bringing some new energy to the shows. However there are rumours that EPE will soon replace the original band with younger performers! James Burton stated that "This is such a wonderful show. Elvis would have loved it. And now with Norbert in the band, the show is better than ever. It’s a wonderful tribute to Elvis. We all want to continue doing this show for the fans for as long as we possibly can".
In this informative review Arjan Deelen talks with the TCB Band and explains just how well the 'Elvis In Concert' tour still ROCKS - as well as wondering how long EPE will keep the TCB Band as part of the tour. NOW UPDATED with NEW Concert Videos PLUS YOUR FEEDBACK.
Click here to read the stories the TCB Band have to tell - and also your comments on the future of 'Elvis In Concert'.
(Spotlights, Source;ElvisInfoNetwork)


See EIN review of 'Aloha From Hawaii' 40th Anniversary' release

See EIN review of 'Prince From Another Planet’

See EIN review of 'A Boy From Tupelo'

See EIN review of 'Young Man With The Big Beat'.

See EIN review of 'Elvis Is Back!' Legacy Edition review:

See EIN review of 'The Complete Elvis Presley Masters' in-depth Review

See EIN review of 'On Stage' 40th Anniversary LEGACY in-depth review:

See EIN review of From Elvis In Memphis (40th Anniversary Legacy Edition)

See EIN review of 'I Believe' BMG Gospel set.

See EIN review of 'The Complete '68 Comeback Special' CD Review:


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did you miss these Popular EIN Reviews
'Live A Little, Love A Little' FTD Soundtrack Review:
'If I Can Dream' Elvis with the RPO - In-depth CD Review:
'A Touch Of Gold Lamé' Book Review
'Elvis: Today' in-depth Legacy Review:
'Hard Knocks' Bootleg CD Review:
'Rock Around The Bloch' FTD Book Review
'Elvis' Christmas Album' FTD Review:
'Flaming Star' FTD Review
Is 'From Elvis In Memphis' the only Elvis album you need to own?
'Final Countdown To Midnight' NYE 1976 - in-depth Review:
'ELVIS' FTD Classic Album Review:
'Elvis-The King Of The Jungle' In-Depth Book Review:
(Book Review): Elvis' Favorite Director:Norman Taurog:
'Ultimate Elvis' Book Review
'Elvis In Florida April 1975' FTD In-Depth Review:
'Ultimate Elvis' Book Review:
The Elvis Films (Book Review)
'Elvis In Florida April 1975' FTD In-Depth Review:
(Book Review): CHANNELING ELVIS How Television Saved the King of Rock 'n' Roll:
(Book Review) Elvis and Ginger:
‘Final Countdown To Midnight' jewel-case Versions Review:
(Book Review) Memphis Mafia Princess:
'Elvis Music FAQ' - Book Review:
'Elvis Films FAQ' Book Review:
'The On Stage Season' FTD In-Depth Review:
'Love Me Tender' Blu-Ray Edition Review:
'Houston We Have A Problem' - CD review:
'SOLD OUT' FTD CD Review:
‘Elvis At Stax’ [Deluxe] Reviews:
'The Elvis Files Vol. 1 1953-56' In Depth Book Review:
'Aloha From Hawaii' 40th Anniv LEGACY CD Review:
'Prince From Another Planet’ In-Depth Review:
'Elvis: Walk A Mile In My Shoes' - EIN Review:
‘Greatest Live Hits of the 50s’ MRS CD Review: 
'A Boy From Tupelo' special In-depth Review:
Bootleg Elvis (Book Review)
'From Hawaii to Las Vegas' FTD CD Review:
'Blue Hawaii - The Expanded Alternate Album' Review:
'Elvis: Live at the International' Book Review:
'The Complete Louisiana Hayride Archives 1954-1956’ Review:
 
Did You Miss these Popular Interviews?
Interview - Joseph Rene, author of Elvis, The Numbers:
"Dr. Nick" Exclusive EIN interview:
EIN Joyce Bova exclusive Interview:
Ginger Alden Interview:
Elaine Beckett -Easy Come Easy Go costar- Interview:
Shirley Dieu, author of Memphis Mafia Princess, talks to EIN:
Interview With Elvis author - : Gillian G. Gaar
Interview with Dick Grob, Elvis' Head Of Security:
Hollywood veteran Michael Hoey talks to EIN:
Interview with 'Elvis Films FAQ' author Paul Simpson:
Elvis Music FAQ - Mike Eder Interview:
"My Fast Life" Rare Elvis Presley 1964 Interview:
John Wilkinson Tribute & 1972 Interview:
'Elvis: Walk A Mile In My Shoes' - Arjan Deelen Interview:
RIP - Bernard Lansky talks to EIN:
Allyson Adams 'The Rebel and The King' Interview: 
Interview with Elvis Photographer Dagmar:
Linda and Sam Thompson in Australia:
Vernon Presley Interview:
Jerry Leiber Interview for EIN
Elvis Paradise Hawaiian Interview - with Peter Noone
Sam Thompson, Elvis' bodyguard, 2011 Interview
James Burton Interview - Rick Nelson & Elvis:
Elvis Drummer Jerome "Stump" Monroe EIN Interview:
Donnie Sumner Remembers his friend Sherrill Nielsen: 
Lamar Fike EIN Exclusive Interview
Ernst Jorgensen interview about 'The Complete Masters' and more:
D.J Fontana Interview - Elvis Week 2010 special: 
Red West Interview:- 2010 Elvis week special
Linda Thompson - Interview Special:
Elvis in 1969 - Ann Moses & Ray Connolly Interviews:
Ernst Jorgensen interview about 'On Stage' and Elvis' Legacy in 2010:
Dr. Nick talks to EIN
Larry Geller
Mac Davis
Roger Semon
Ernst Jorgensen
Wayne Jackson (Memphis Horns)
Ernst Jorgensen (Record Collector)
 
Did You Miss these Popular EIN articles
"Baby, Let's Play House" - EIN Spotlight 
'If I Can Dream' new Elvis album - EIN Readers Respond:
"You Can Have Her" Elvis' One-Off Performance:
'Elvis Meets The Beatles':
Did Elvis Record 'Tiger Man' At Sun?
.ELVIS WEEK 2015.
Forever Elvis - A 2015 commemorative Spotlight:
Elvis "Non Stop Erotic Cabaret":
'Suppose - Did It Inspire Imagine':
'Trains, Jet Planes and Morning Rain' EIN Spotlight:
Wertheimer's Reaction To Finding The 'Mystery Kisser':
UPDATED - 'Elvis Madison 1977 - The Gas Station Incident' with Kathy Westmoreland:
"If You're Going To Start A Rumble" -The Importance of Fights In Elvis Movies:
'Big Boss Man: What Kind of Technical Advice Did Parker Provide for Elvis’s Movies?':
JAZZWORLD - Music vs. Elvis Presley.
UPDATED - 'American Studios 1969 - A Turning Point In History':
Elvis' Personal Record Collection:
Linda and Sam Thompson in Australia:
Fourteen Key Elvis Singles:
Happy Birthday EIN EIN turns 100 – a retrospective!:
Elvis Week Through The Years - Sanja Meegin looks back:
'The Wedding' Elvis & Priscilla EIN special Spotlight:
John Lennon And Elvis: It was "Thirty Years Ago Today"
Elvis at Madison Square Garden 40 Years Ago
'Elvis In Ottawa' Spotlight & Elvis Interview:
"Kissed By Elvis" Janet Fulton Interview:
'1956, Elvis Presley’s Pivotal Year':
'Elvis In Concert' 1977 TV special; Should it be released officially?
Ernst Jorgensen interview about 'The Complete Masters' and more:
Dark Side of the Colonel
 
Audio-Visual
Best of Elvis on YouTube
Graceland cam
EPE's Multimedia Elvis Gallery
Sirius Elvis Satellite Radio
Elvis Radio (ETA's)
Elvis Express Radio
Ultimate Elvis Radio
Elvis Only Radio
"Images in Concert" PhotoDatabase
Radio Interview: Vernon & Gladys Presley
Sanja's Elvis Week 2007 Photo Gallery
'EIN's Best of Elvis on YouTube'
The Music of Elvis Presley - Australian Radio Show
Reference
All about Elvis
All about Elvis Tribute Artists
All about Graceland
All about Lisa Marie Presley
Ancestors of Elvis
Art Archives
Book Releases 2009
Contact List
Elvis and Racism
Elvis as Religion
Elvis CDs in 2007
Elvis DVDs in 2006
Elvis Film Guide
'2007 New Releases'
Elvis Presley In Concert "downunder" 2006
Elvis Online Virtual Library
Elvis Research Forum
Elvis Rules on Television
Graceland - The National Historic Landmark
How & where do I sell my Elvis collection?
Is Elvis the best selling artist?
Links to Elvis' family & friends
Links to other Elvis sites
Marty's Musings
Online Elvis Symposium
Parkes Elvis Festival 2009 (Australia)
Presley Law legal archives (Preslaw)
Presleys In The Press
Sale of EPE (Archives)
6th Annual Elvis Website Survey
Spotlight on The King
"Wikipedia" Elvis biography