DVD Review: "200 Cadillacs"

By: Nigel Patterson - January 8, 2004

The brainchild of Rex Fowler, 200 Cadillacs takes the viewer on a journey into the stories behind Elvis' love of giving Cadillacs to friends and complete strangers. This is an important release about Elvis as it opens up a known but little publicised part of Elvis' personality.

Drawing on interviews with Elvis' close friends, people who received Cadillacs from The King and Cadillac salesmen, the documentary is riveting viewing thanks to its intriguing subject matter, tight editing and a wonderful music soundtrack.

The people interviewed include Jerry Schilling and Larry Geller, Linda Thompson, Myrna Smith (from the Sweet Inspirations), Sonny West and Marian Cocke (Elvis' nurse). The documentary features more than 200 photos of Elvis, many of them previously unpublished, and there are some great shots to look at. There are many wonderful stories in 200 Cadillacs.

Apart from its titular focus, the documentary goes beyond just the giving of Cadillacs to Elvis the humanitarian and Elvis the emotionally concerned friend. The stories include Elvis' response to the death of a friend's brother, an incident involving Myrna Smith, Elvis and a $30,000 Diamond Ring, and drama concerning the first TCB Necklace. While the basic theme of 200 Cadillacs is concerned with Elvis's charitable endeavours, the documentary hints at a subliminal, more profound theme - Elvis Presley as a concrete example of Christian morality (a person generous, kind of spirit, benevolent and devoted to his kingdom).

A highlight of 200 Cadillacs is its strong, rock and roll, sometimes bluesy soundtrack. The music complements the narrative to a tee, and will have many fans rushing out to buy the companion soundtrack album. A fitting blend of lyrical sentiment, rock & roll musicality and strategic placement combine to give the story added impact. Some of the standout tracks are the poignant 'Shine A Little Light On Elvis', the title track and 'Running With The King'.

Many of the songs were composed and performed by Rex Fowler. Verdict: 200 Cadillacs is an important documentary shedding much needed light on an often overlooked part of the Elvis Presley story. With a persuasive narrative, fine editing and an in your face soundtrack, it is highly recommended for both the casual fan and serious student of The King.

Verdict: 200 Cadillacs ranks as one of the best Elvis documentaries ever made.

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