200 Cadillacs (2003)

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Released 9-Feb-2004

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Documentary None
Rating Rated E
Year Of Production 2003
Running Time 62:40
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Programme
Region Coding 4 Directed By Dan Griffin
Studio
Distributor

Warner Vision
Starring None Given
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $19.95 Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

200 Cadillacs is a quite well-respected little documentary among Elvis Presley fans. As someone who doesn't quite fall into this category, but is of course familiar with the King's music (who isn't?), watching this was more of a curiosity than a genuine entertainment.

This documentary seems a labour of love on the part of producer Rex Fowler, who has tracked down a bunch of folk to whom Elvis gave away gifts - mainly Cadillacs, though there are a few incredibly ostentatious jewels on display, as well as an odd German car that looks like an aeroplane cockpit on wheels - and interviews them on the subject of The King's great generosity. This is the point of the piece and it is hammered home to the accompaniment of b/w stills, colour film footage and background music - oddly enough, none of which is performed by Elvis.

The interviewees are mainly members of Elvis' entourage, such as bodyguards and minders, a nurse, and backup singer Myrna Smith of Sweet Inspirations fame. Fowler's intention seems to have been to give the viewer an insight into Elvis' giving and caring nature, but the very fact that he gave mainly Cadillacs on various whims - over 200 during the course of his career, according to the estimations of various car dealers interviewed - makes the interview content very repetitive. It isn't helped by the way the interviewees tend to repeat themselves, something that could and should have been culled during editing.

Overall this is an interesting film, but it doesn't really have the legs to make it as an hour-long piece; it could have been cut to half the length without really any loss of detail, and would have been a lot tighter.

Dispassionate Aussie viewers are likely to see the film as yet another example of America's obsession with the cult of celebrity, as some of the interviewees appear to worship Elvis as something more than a man, when in reality his generous nature is a very ordinary (though laudable) human attribute. After all the man was extremely wealthy and could easily afford the gifts he gave, and he was only able to give material wealth. This point, thankfully, is made by several interviewees toward the end of the film.

Despite being praised by Elvis fans as possessing a 'wonderful music soundtrack' which apparently was in great demand as a CD, I found the music eminently forgettable and the lack of any of Elvis' songs on it (due probably to prohibitive licensing costs) a rather inappropriate omission.

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Transfer Quality

Video

This is an excellent transfer of source material which is primarily video (for the interviews), old film footage and B/W stills.

The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1:33.1 transfer which appears to be full frame.

The video image is not particularly sharp but this seems to be inherent in the quality of the source material rather than the transfer. There was no low-level noise detected.

Colours are very bright and in places almost unnaturally so, again an apparent choice on the part of the filmmakers. There was no aliasing nor any MPEG artefacts detected.

This is a single layered disc.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

There is only one audio option, an English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo track, which again presents excellently given the source material.

Dialogue was always easily understandable (unless you have a problem interpreting some thick Southern US accents!) with no apparent audio sync problems.

Music was limited to rock and roll songs fairly imitative of Elvis Presley at various points in the soundtrack.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

This is a bare-bones disc with no extras at all.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

The R1 version appears to be identical to the R4.

Summary

An interesting film for those wanting to learn a little more about Elvis' personality - but don't expect too much insight. For non-Elvis fans, this is probably a film you would watch only once.

The video quality is probably the best that could be expected from the source material and is certainly extremely watchable.

The audio quality is fine, with a stereo track all that's required for a documentary such as this.

There are no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Alex Paige (read my bio)
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-2200 (NTSC/PAL Progessive), using Component output
DisplayPanasonic TX-76PW60. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to Amplifier.
AmplificationSony STR-DB940
SpeakersFronts: B&W DM309; Rears: B&W DM303; Centre: B&W LCR3; Subwoofer: B&W ASW300.

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