Elvis Presley-Elvis: That's the Way It Is: Special Edition (PAL) (1970)
Main Menu Audio-Dolby 2.0 Surround
Biographies-Cast & Crew
Featurette-Patch It Up:The Reconstruction Of Elvis-That's The Way It Is
|Year Of Production||1970|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Denis Sanders|
Turner Classic Mvies
Warner Home Video
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
|Smoking||Yes, Backup singers during rehearsal footage|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes, Backstage post concert footage|
Of the handful of musicians who owe a large portion of their fame to their stage presence, Elvis and Freddie Mercury stand out as the cream of the crop. Elvis set the standard while Freddie showed us how to take it further. The audience loved both these men. Watching Elvis – That's The Way It Is allowed me the chance to see the market for a star commodity like stage presence literally being created before my eyes. It’s obvious he set the rules, and it’s equally as obvious that Freddie owes much of his fame to this man. Only a handful of performers like Freddie Mercury have come close to cornering the market created by Elvis.
The camera loves Elvis. He can walk around the stage with messed-up hair, and parts of his costume falling off, and he just looks more, well, “Elvis”-like. As the concert progresses, and his enthusiasm for each song rises, it becomes easy to observe the energy and charisma that prompted so many fans to dub him “the king”. This is one man, essentially alone on stage, holding an audience’s attention for 90 minutes and he does it quite well even by today’s standards. I didn’t even particularly like the choice of songs, and I still had a pretty good time watching the performance on display.
The audience shots help illustrate the high state of frenzy Elvis could whip his fans into. The screen is often filled with bright-faced women smiling ear to ear, with true adoration pouring from their eyes, and the men look just as pleased to find themselves in his presence.
This dinosaur of a concert film does struggle against its age. Surprisingly, this turns out to be both a liability and an asset. On the liability side, the choice of songs is obviously meant for an older generation, and Vegas looks like a sad empty ghost town in the brief external shots compared to its modern incarnation. Additionally, the climax of the concert runs a bit long by today’s standards. However, the fashion worn by the audience is a constant source of chuckles. It looks like an episode of the Mary Tyler Moore Show come to life. It’s hard to believe that the fashion-conscious ever presented themselves seriously in brown striped polyester fabrics, bell bottoms, sunglasses twice the size of their face, and oversized sideburns.
Turner Classics have restored and re-edited this film. As is mentioned in the restoration documentary, they have removed footage of fans gushing over Elvis between songs, and replaced it with some rather interesting rehearsal footage prior to the start of the concert. This “Behind the Scenes” look has an air of novelty about it. No one was filming how performers behaved out of the public eye at the time this footage was shot. The supporting band members appear somewhat self-conscious while rehearsing on camera. Even though this is a rehearsal, Elvis still expends amazing amounts of energy. He even demonstrates that he has a few surprises up his sleeve as he breaks into a Beatles song.
If you’ve only seen “fat” Elvis, this Elvis is worth a look.
This transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, and is 16x9 enhanced. The overall quality of the transfer is consistent if not top notch. For a movie of this age, I thought the restoration did most of the footage justice.
I usually don’t make a habit of commenting on the use of a movie’s aspect ratio, but I can’t go past making a comment on the nice use of the widescreen format for this concert footage. Often, the image includes Elvis to one side, and the backup singers and musicians to the other side, allowing the viewer to concentrate on different aspects of the performance at their leisure in much the same way you would experience a live concert in person.
Now, the majority of the footage was shot in the same theatre over several nights. The problems cited in this review appeared consistently throughout the concert.
The first thing you will notice is how surprisingly sharp the image is, especially the external shots of Vegas and the Casinos. During the rehearsal and concert footage, the image seems to fluctuate from sharp to soft focus depending on the type of shot used.
Skin tones appeared slightly on the brown side. However, this could be the kind of film stock used. The effect did not appear to be an artefact of aging source material.
The performance footage included exceptionally nice colour with no perceived colour bleeding problems from any of the bright colours displayed through lighting and early 70s fashion sense.
During the rehearsal scenes that precede the concert itself, there were three particular points where the image presented had almost totally lost colour, 25:24, 32:16, and 34:15. These moments were brief, and seemed to be limited to a single particular shot in each case.
No obvious edge enhancement is to be found here. Telecine wobble was observed during the opening credits, but was not too distracting as the camera is in motion for most of this. One example of aliasing was spotted at 9:27 on the far left of the screen on a microphone stand arm.
Dust, dirt and grain seem to be the most plentiful artefacts on this DVD. Two examples of intense grain are during the opening MGM Lion at the start of the film, and at 33:32 during the concert. A few examples of dust and dirt at their worst can be found at 8:16 and 44:42. Neither of these problems are overly distracting.
This is a single sided, single layer disc with no layer change.
This is a very good audio transfer, and generally supports the film quite nicely.
There is only one track on this DVD. It is an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack.
The small amount of dialogue included in the rehearsal scenes was somewhat muffled, but still understandable. However, at 22:36 there is a background hiss that can be heard while Elvis talks.
No audio sync problems were observed with this transfer.
As I've mentioned earlier, I wasn't thrilled with the choice of musical numbers - they were somewhat dated. However, the quality of the music being performed was top notch.
The surround channels were used sparingly. Crowd noises in the opening sequence kept the rears busy. During the concert, at 102:41, there are 5 or 6 hand claps to the music that come from the rear speakers, and seem out of place.
The subwoofer was not used in the mix of this DVD's soundtrack.
|Surround Channel Use|
This featurette is presented at 2.35:1 non-16x9 enhanced with Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded audio. Occasional dirt and scratches can be observed and the quality of the source material varies from average to very good. There are a few glimpses at some of the gushing Elvis fan footage mentioned earlier in this review.
Presented at 1.85:1, 16x9 enhanced and with mono sound. Extreme levels of grain are present. Again, some glimpses of fans and their feelings towards Elvis are included.
The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;
The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;
This would lead me to choose the Region 4 disc as superior based on the PAL/NTSC comparison.
Elvis: That's The Way It Is is an adequate DVD of an exceptional restoration job on the film.
The video quality was acceptable.
The audio supported the footage nicely.
The extras are sparse, but interesting given the cut footage included therein.
People who only remember Elvis as fat and slow owe it to themselves to take a look at this DVD to see what all the fuss was about. You might surprise yourself by discovering you are an Elvis fan and didn't even know it.
|DVD||Sony DVP-C670P, using Component output|
|Display||Sony VPL-VW10HT LCD Projector, displayed on a flat white wall. Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre.|
|Amplification||Sony STR DE-845|
|Speakers||Front - Teac LS-S1000F, Centre - Teac LS-C1000, Rears -Teac LS S1000R, Subwoofer - Teac LS-W1000 (passive)|