Elvis A 50th Anniversary Celebration

(Passport Video, 70 minutes, NTSC All Region format,

4:3 standard screen)

"Elvis was a spiritual awakening...he had great music, a great band and a great voice"

Since he advent of DVD technology there has been a steady flow of Elvis documentary releases on to the market.

In most cases each release has offered value for money, and the latest disc, Elvis 50th Anniversary Celebration, is no exception. I may be wrong but it appears that the material on Elvis 50th Anniversary Celebration is taken from the 8 disc boxset The Definitive Elvis.

Some of the people appearing on Elvis 50th Anniversary Celebration are: Tom Jones Barry Gibb Suzi Quatro Steve Binder (director of The Comeback Special) Jimmie Rodgers Jackie DeShannon Tony Sheridan Dixie Locke-Emmons (Elvis' first girlfriend).

The anecdotes provided by the stars are enlightening and while many are brief they continually engage your attention. Just some of the intriguing segments include:

  • Julia Baird, sister of John Lennon, provides some particularly interesting commentary on the impact Elvis had on her brother
  • Neil Sedaka - "I was mesmerized" [when I first saw Elvis]
  • Cliff Richard offers several insightful comments on the importance of Elvis
  • keen observations on Elvis' appeal, from the reality versus image element to Elvis' natural ability as a performer, and the total package he offered combining sex appeal/looks, body movement, rhythm, great voice, good song choice and a burning desire to succeed
  • commentary on political correctness in the music world as rock & roll exploded on the scene
  • film director, Hal Kanter, recalls what is an iconic element in the Elvis story - today living on at performances of Elvis The Concert - the incessant flash of hundreds of camera lightbulbs in the audience
  • Kanter also reflects on the hero worship that Elvis engenders, recalling the day he observed a young girl collect dust off Elvis' car
  • Tony Sheridan viewing Elvis as a "revolution"
  • comedian Shecky Greene recalls the day Bing Crosby astutely told him that "Elvis Presley will be one of the biggest stars of show business".

The DVD also features historic video footage including the first color film of The King on stage in Texas in the mid 1950s and other amateur footage of Elvis on stage in both the 1950s and 1970s.

The DVD extras are Chris Beard on meeting Elvis and a short chat with Elvira.

Video: the video quality is excellent.

Audio: the audio quality is first rate. Dolby digital.

Verdict: if you haven't the time to watch all 16 hours of The Definitive Elvis boxset you will appreciate this release. With a mid-range price tag it is a highly watchable and enjoyable documentary which represents very good value for money.

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