So it was with some trepidation that EIN viewed yet another
release looking at Elvis' demise. However we were very pleasantly
Last 24 Hours is a well constructed documentary visually reconstructing
the final day of The King's life interspersed with very candid,
interesting recollections by members of the Memphis Mafia (MM).
have been many video/DVD releases covering the final
days of Elvis' life. Several that come to mind are:
The Kings Men
Death of a Legend
Day Elvis Died
King is Dead
Last Days of Elvis
MM members featured are:
the documentary's opening music: Walking In Memphis by Mark
Cohn, you know you are in for a solid, well constructed special.
The recollections of the MM members offer significant insights
to the psychology of both Elvis and the Colonel, while Elvis'
abuse of prescription medication and deteriorating physical
condition is comprehensively addressed as are his financial
The Last 24 Hours has a clear agenda and that is to condemn
the role of Colonel Tom Parker. The documentary continually
reinforces its message that the Colonel saw Elvis as "his
personal cash cow". A recurring theme is that Elvis was the
instrument that could save the Colonel from bankruptcy, allowing
him to meet his staggering gambling debts.
instance, at one stage Larry Gellar recalls the night he saw
the Colonel lose $1.5 million dollars at a casino! The documentary
is nicely edited with good pacing and a subject matter that
continually engages the viewer.
stories told by the MM members are both candid and caring,
if at times unsettling. Marty Lacker recalls the days when
Elvis would open the Graceland gates and allow all the girls
gathered there to come inside the mansion. Marty counted the
number of girls there one night...a staggering 152!
Gellar recounts several powerful and disturbing incidents.
One was the time Dr Nick was forcing a near comatose Elvis
head first into a bucket if ice cold water in an attempt to
revive him and all the Colonel could say on observing the
scene was: "The only thing important is that man is on stage
tonight, nothing else matters".
Schilling tells a not dissimilar story about Elvis' failing
physical condition in recalling the time Elvis rang him to
say he was lying on the floor and couldn't get up.
Fike has a wonderfully dry sense of humor and throughout the
documentary offers some intriguing lines: "You've got to weed
the squirrels from the lambs". In context, it is a very perceptive
and telling comment.
Last 24 Hours includes some great home video material such
as the Eddie Fadal footage from the 1950s and audience filmed
scenes of Elvis in full flight on stage during the 70s.
details: the audio quality is excellent (Dolby Digital
5.1). The video quality is necessarily variable due to the
archival footage featured, although the studio and location
shot footage is professionally first rate. The DVD comes only
in English with Dutch, French, German, Italian and Spanish
extras: the DVD features a swag of bonus extras. There
is Elvis' death certificate, his Last Will and Testament,
a filmography, and an album discography covering the period
1956 to 2000. There is also a very interesting hour long audio
documentary of The King's musical story called Spotlight on
Elvis (now where have we heard those words before).
Booklet: the package comes with an attractive 12 page
booklet. It includes Elvis' last handwritten letter together
with a handwriting analysis, and a copy of the Medical Examiner's
CD: the 11 track CD features the legendary Jordanaires
backing one of Europe's best Elvis tribute artists, Johnny
Earle. The disc includes a very good gospel medley (Lighthouse;
Lead Me, Guide Me; Rock My Soul) and other Elvis standards
such as King Creole, Hound Dog, Don't Be Cruel, American Trilogy,
Don't, Too Much, Love Letters and Suspicion. Johnny Earle
has been around for a long time and while he doesn't resemble
Elvis to any great extent, his voice is certainly reminiscent
Elvis Presley The Last 24 Hours is an excellent DVD/CD release.
It distinguishes itself from similar documentaries by its
high production qualities and many bonus features. It offers
very good value for money.
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