"If you're an Elvis fan, no explanation is necessary; If you're not an Elvis fan, no explanation is possible."

(George Klein)



"History has him as this good old country boy, Elvis is about as country as Bono!"

(Jerry Schilling)






"This Is Elvis"

The unofficial DVD's: Both the TV/cinema version (running 101 minutes) and the longer videocasette version (143 minutes) are available on DVD. There are several "unofficial" releases for each version.

EIN has viewed two different releases for both the long and short editions and both were of a high standard. Both editions we watched are Region 0 (all DVD machine compatible) although watch out as there are also NTSC editions which may not play in some countries.

This Is Elvis (101 minutes)

The copies we received came in a full sized DVD case with the cover shown opposite. This disc was superior to the longer version release with great picture quality and audio. A solid TV to DVD transfer that doesn't disappoint.

Video: 8.5+ (out of 10)

Audio: 9 (nice, clear audio track)

This Is Elvis (143 minutes)

As with the TV/cinema edition, this release comes in full size DVD case with color cover. A CD sized edition is also on the market with color cover.

This disc was more than acceptable with very good audio quality and just minor visual imperfections in the picture. The video to DVD transfer is good with reasonable color saturation.

Video: 7.5-8.0

Audio: 8

Extras: The theatrical trailer for This Is Elvis is included. On some, but not all releases, scene selection is also available. The copies we viewed did not include scene selection.

Elvis completists to note: At least one important scene in the TV version is not included in the longer release.

This Is Elvis - the film: Often referred to as the 34th "Elvis movie", This Is Elvis remains the most comprehensive Elvis film bio yet produced. Released in 1981, it combined documentary footage and staged reproductions of the Elvis legend and is, as noted by Leonard Maltin's Movie & Video Guide, "...an insightful portrayal of a tragic legend...".

There is a wonderful array of information and scenes in the film....atmospheric recreations of Depression ravaged Tupelo, a rural but musically vibrant Memphis in the 1950s and nice footage of a very young Lisa Marie.

The Elvis story is well told throughout the movie and while some aspects of The King's incredible career probably deserved more in-depth treatment, it is very difficult to do full justice to the subject matter in only two to two-and-a-half hours.

Towards its end, This Is Elvis is an emotional rollercoaster of a ride. Strong dramatisations of Elvis' early years, Presleymania, "lost" years in Hollywood and the incredible comeback give way to the very sad record of his last concert performances, performances that strikingly reflect Elvis' physical and emotional decline.

Forgetting the words to Are You Lonesome Tonight? is well described by Eric Braun in The Elvis Film Encyclopedia:

"He was like a man in a nightmare, the strain is painfully apparent and after getting through what must have been as big an ordeal for his audience as it was for himself, he was practically carried off by two helpers."

In This Is Elvis, The King is portrayed by four different actors:

Elvis, age 10: Paul Boensch III

Elvis, age 18: David Scott

Elvis in hospital: Dana Mackay

Elvis, age 42: Johnny Harra

The "Elvis" narration is provided by noted Elvis sound-a-like, Ral Donner.

This Is Elvis was filmed using both color and black & white segments and there is a seamless blend between the two.

Verdict: Despite rumors last year, news of an official release on DVD of This Is Elvis is as scarce as the Dodo bird. While we're waiting, the unofficial releases are a worthwhile addition to any fan's library.

EIN Note: "This Is Elvis" was officially released on DVD as a 2 disc set in August 2007

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