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Category:    Home > Reviews > Special Interest > Documentary > Compilation > Elvis - A 50th Anniversary Celebration (Passport DVD)

Elvis – A 50th Anniversary Celebration


Picture: C+     Sound: C     Extras: C     Program: B-



The latest entry in the endless programs on Elvis Presley is Elvis – A 50th Anniversary Celebration (2004), which does not involve a cake or actual party, but does have interviews with more name people who knew Elvis.  For a change, there are surprises and some new ideas many may not have heard of before.  This marks the anniversary of when Elvis cut his first hit record.


The best story is how singer Tom Jones became very good friends with Elvis, two singers with some of the bravado, stage presence and masculinity without trying that put all the current “boy band” types to shame.  Pat Boone offers some funny moments, even if unintended.  Suzi Quatro, the former Leather Tuscadero from TV’s Happy Days, talks about knowing Elvis.  Like Cassandra Peterson, better known as the comic Horror-styled Elvira, is in the supplement and the funny thing is how both women talk unusually fondly of Elvis.  They talk of missed opportunity and are trying to each stake their claim to him in some odd way, both haunted by the specter of the Pricilla Presley of the time.  One is even very explicit about this.


Those who were closest to him in his touri8ng and inner circle get their say, but the falsest moment is when Ray Manzarek of The Doors just has to compare Elvis with Jim Morrison.  The man can’t help himself.  You can see it coming, as if he will do anything to promote The Doors as if he is thinking of royalty money ahead of sincerity.  The program only lasts 52 minutes, has some stock footage, but is only so interesting when all is said and done.


The full frame image is all NTSC color videotape, with some occasional monochrome patches and some older film and tape footage.  It is a bit on the soft side for a recent production, though some of these interviews are not recent.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 is actually monophonic.  The only extras are brief extra interview pieces with Chris Bearde (who wrote his comeback special (14 minutes) and the aforementioned Peterson, who may be giving us more information in her two minutes and essentially give Elvis credit for Elvira’s existence.  The Presley Estate has not filed a cease & desist order on the matter yet.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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