'Elvis 1st, 2nd & 4ever' DVD review
Elvis’ 30 #1 video clips on DVD, what a fabulous idea to follow on from the massive commercial success of ‘Elvis 30#1s’ CD. Even better would be a double DVD also including his ‘2nd to None’ videos to make an ultimate hits compile.
This would have been a great marketing move from EPE/BMG, except that this wonderful 'Elvis 1st, 2nd & 4ever' DVD is an import release from the ‘23rd Century/Star Company’ and is basically a home-made release. Whilst a compilation of Elvis’ customary videos would be exciting, here most of these clips have been cleverly remade & remodelled and some of them are truly inspirational!
With a total running time of 4 hours, and including an astounding collection of 81 Elvis clips, there is almost ‘Too Much’ to properly review! Note that this DVD has been released using both of the covers above.
The first clip for ‘The Elvis Medley’ sets the scene by using clever montages which superimpose Elvis' images of different eras singing the same song - i.e. Teddy Bear from ‘Loving You’ blended with ‘On Tour’ footage. The skilful use of these video mixes, along with the excellent use of slow-motion footage, demonstrates just how creative you can be. I have no idea who the editor was but this is a true labour-of-love and must have taken weeks of hard work.
The true indication of professionalism is the exceptional detail in keeping Elvis lip-synced when using different film sources. The clever lip-sync gimmick used for ‘Good Luck Charm’ is pretty impressive. While many of the clips are as expected and feature the original movie/TV clips but now with Elvis’ original singles overdubbed, plenty of them have a brand new twist. Even the standard ‘Bossa Nova Baby’ gets a neat re-working to emphasise Elvis’ dancin’ action!
With a lot of the material coming from VCD sources (or worse) the picture quality is pretty rough at times & another slight fault is a lot of the film clips being in the wrong aspect ratio, with Elvis stretched tall. However these are very minor grumbles since the compensation is lots of rare home movies and rare concert footage.
Almost every bit of rare footage that I can think of (On-stage Karate footage, Madison Square, Elvis wearing prescription spectacles, Priscilla home videos, Elvis on the train to Miami 1960, Elvis on a jet-ski etc etc) is cleverly used somewhere in this superb selection. All of the material is edited 'MTV' style, in just a few second grabs, but watching the DVD was enthralling just for the surprises along the way.
While some of the clips just feature a photo-montage ie ‘I Forgot To Remember To Forget’ & ‘Kentucky Rain’, the creativity on other videos is remarkable. At the start ‘That’s All Right’ immediately shows what EPE/BMG should have released as TV publicity for the 50th anniversary. In fact the whole DVD should be used by BMG for reference.
While there are too many highlights to mention them all, the three – yes, three! - different videos for ‘A Little less Conversation’ are all brilliant. The first video neatly combines Elvis’ images from the 68 special & the ’Live A Little’ movie into a mix of both the first Nike advert plus JXL video. The second extended version is fabulously funny using even more of Elvis from ’Live A Little’ in a lovely comedic way – even Elvis’ dog Brutus makes an appropriate appearance!
Other highlights are ‘Love Me Tender’ with the clever use of well-chosen clips from the film blended with Elvis’ TV appearances. ‘Wear My Ring’ nicely uses home-footage for this rarely used/never seen song. ‘It’s Now Or Never’ uses appropriate footage of Elvis’ snowy return to the US & post army conference. Even ‘Little Sister’ has been smartly reworked from TTWII to match the funk of the original single release. And ‘Jailhouse Rock’ is also given a nice new twist to the old movie version.
‘In The Ghetto’ has Elvis singing about himself as the ghetto child but in a cute emotional surprise it also features Lisa Marie as the second child. ‘The Wonder Of You’ also impresses with its selection of TTWII footage edited to capture Elvis’ feeling towards both himself and the loving reactions from his devoted fans.
‘Promised Land’ really rocks, describing the hectic pace of Elvis’ non-stop touring while ‘Moody Blue’ features some telling footage of later Elvis, including his meeting with Todd Slaughter June 26th 1977.
Perhaps my immediate favourite was the video for the ‘brand new’ song ‘I’m A Roustabout’ that lip-syncs other clips and very appropriate footage to tell the story. This really should have been the BMG feature clip supplied to TV at the time it was newsworthy!
The ‘Bonus section’ lasts 1½ hours itself and mainly features more clips taken from the E2 VCD which does mean a slight drop in quality but here we find surprises like videos for ‘Way Down’ (more rare footage including the long-fringe suit) and a sensationally funky extended ‘Rubberneckin’ clip.
Verdict – An inspirational DVD featuring hours of fabulous revamped Elvis videos. The real lesson here is that EPE/BMG need to consider releasing something as good as this for all Elvis fans, but in high DVD quality. With added bonus songs there is plenty here to make two great DVDs and with very little repeat off the recent Aloha or 68 Special DVDs. BMG will certainly need to employ an editor with inspired ideas to create clips as good as these!
Note - EIN does not support bootleggers since they do deprive songwriters & musicians of their well-deserved earnings, but the hope is that something like this will inspire an official similar release.
Check the Tracklist below for the unbelievable number of clips
"Elvis Presley is the supreme socio-cultural icon in the history of pop culture"
(Dr. Gary Enders)
" Elvis is the 'glue' which holds our society together....which subconciously gives our world meaning"
"Eventually everybody has to die, except Elvis"
(humorist Dave Barry)
"He is the "Big Bang", and the universe he detonated is still expanding, the pieces are still flying"
(Greil Marcus, "Dead Elvis")
"I think Elvis Presley will never be solved"
"He was the most popular man that ever walked on this planet since Christ himself was here"
"When I first heard Elvis' voice I just knew I wasn't going to work for anybody...hearing him for the first time was like busting out of jail"
"When we were kids growing up in Liverpool, all we ever wanted was to be Elvis Presley"
(Sir Paul McCartney)