Elvis Presley-Elvis Presley (Classic Albums) (2001)

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Released 19-Mar-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Documentary Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-For The Record
Featurette-The Early Years
Featurette-The Sun Recordings
Featurette-On The Road
Featurette-RCA Buys Elvis' Contract
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 49:30 (Case: 100)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Jeremy Marre
Studio
Distributor

Warner Vision
Starring Elvis Presley
Case Click
RPI $39.95 Music Elvis Presley


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio Unknown Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles French
German
Dutch
Italian
Spanish
Portuguese
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Elvis Presley (Classic Albums) is part of a series looking at some of Pop Music's significant recordings, significant in that they may have changed the course of Pop music by inspiring and influencing other recording artists. This made-for-television program looks at the creation of Elvis' first album for a major label - RCA, simply titled, 'Elvis Presley'. The program is mainly comprised of archival studio stills and concert/television footage from the 1950s. It is tied together by current interviews with biographers, musicians, sound engineers, historians, and other music industry people. While focussing on the album itself, the program also manages to look at one of the most remarkable performers in Pop Music, remembered today as 'The King'.

    Elvis Presley was born in 1935, and received his first guitar on his eleventh birthday. Elvis grew up in Memphis, Tennessee in poor conditions. He developed a love of music, especially country and black gospel spirituals. Elvis recorded 'That's All Right' for Sun Records in 1954. Scotty Moore (guitar) and D.J. Fontana (drums) both played with Elvis during his early recording career, and they are both interviewed for this DVD. By 1956, the 'Elvis Phenomenon' had begun. Elvis had  international hit songs that year with 'Heartbreak Hotel', 'Hound Dog', and 'Don't Be Cruel'. Also in 1956, Elvis starred in his first movie, Love Me Tender. Elvis went on to become one of the greatest performers and recording artists in Pop Music, although he only ever performed in the US (except for one concert in Canada). Elvis died in 1977, and is credited with selling over a billion records.

    This program looks at the recording of Elvis' first album, from the choice of songs, the recording process, and even the marketing of the album, (and of Elvis). I found the interviews very interesting, and the early mono recording techniques in the 1950s, with minimal production or engineering, fascinating. The DVD also includes Elvis' first three television performances in the 1950s of 'Heartbreak Hotel', and his rapid development as a performer is obvious. There is also some discussion as to Colonel Parker's merchandising, and the fact that the 'Elvis Phenomenon' can be seen as an example of the surge of post-World War II consumerism.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    It seems that this program was shot with digital technology, and it exhibits a beautifully clear image, without any film artefacts. Obviously some of the archival footage has problems, but I was generally very impressed with the quality of the footage used, considering its age. My comments below refer to the non-archival elements of this program.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced.

    The sharpness, black level, and shadow detail of the image are all great for a made-for-television production.

    The colour is rich and accurate, as evidenced by the accurate fleshtones, and the shot at 20:46 which features a colourful shirt and background.

    I was a little unsure if I should mention MPEG artefacts, as they are so mild that they can only be seen if one pays very close attention. There is very mild pixelization at times, for example at 45:33. A few faces display very mild posterization, such as at 34:44 and 44:48. There is also some slight macro-blocking, such as on the background wall at 37:48.

    Aliasing is never a problem, but there is a slight shimmer at times, such as on the car bonnet at 5:56, or on the drums at 38:06.

    There are 6 sets of subtitles present on this DVD, but none of them are in English.

    This is a single-layered disc which is acceptable considering the length of the content.

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

Audio

    There is only one audio option on this DVD, an English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo track.

    The dialogue quality and audio sync are good.

    The music demonstrates good fidelity and dynamic range. The Elvis songs included for discussion on this DVD are: 'Blue Suede Shoes', 'That's All Right', 'Baby Let's Play House', 'Tutti Frutti', 'Heartbreak Hotel', 'Money Honey', 'I Was The One', and 'Shake Rattle And Roll'. Apart from Elvis' tunes, there are examples of some of his musical roots -- black gospel, country, blues and early rockabilly with its distinctive slap bass and jangling guitar.

    As a Dolby Stereo track, the surround speakers and subwoofer are not called upon.

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

Extras

Menu

    A very simple menu, presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, with Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio.

Bonus Interviews

    There are five bonus interviews which were cut from the main feature. Combined, they total about forty minutes, and are entitled: 'For The Record', 'The Early Years', 'The Sun Recordings', 'On The Road', and 'RCA buys Elvis' Contract'. They are all presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, with Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio. They are a welcome inclusion, and I can only assume that they were cut for reasons of length, and that some of them diverge from the subject of main feature a little.

R4 vs R1

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

    This DVD was released in Region 1 in February 2002, with the same features (except for the subtitles). Therefore we can call it even.

Summary

    This is a great DVD for fans of Elvis, and for those interested in Pop Music history in general. The discussion of 1950s recording techniques and marketing is also very interesting. While you don't have to be an Elvis fan to enjoy this DVD, it certainly would help.

    The video quality is good.

    The audio quality is also good.

    The extras are not plentiful, but do add value.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Brandon Robert Vogt (warning: bio hazard)
Tuesday, April 02, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using S-Video output
DisplayGrundig Elegance 82-2101 (82cm, 16x9). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationSony STR DE-545
SpeakersSony SS-V315 x5; Sony SA-WMS315 subwoofer

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Elvis 30 #1 Hits in 5.1 on DVD-Audio - Ben H (My biography. Go on have a read...)