Elvis : Thats The Way It Is : MGM 1970
March 23, 2005
Elvis: That's The Way It Is was successfully released 30 years ago but it's been picked up in the wave of restorations of recent times.
This new version has been completely re-edited from the original material which producer Rick Schmidlin's search uncovered. The point that many commentators and fellow musicians make about Presley is that he broke new ground in countless ways. Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Rod Stewart, Mick Jagger and countless others acknowledge their debt to him. Presley imitated nobody. One of the most highly charged scenes in the film is his spontaneous walk through the crowd. Every woman wants to kiss him, it seems, and the men shake him respectfully by the hand.
Rehearsals continue as they move to Las Vegas. They're joined by back-up vocalists who work at first with recordings and then live with the band. Among them are base player Jerry Scheff, drummer Ronnie Tutt and Elvis' lead guitarist, James Burton. All have had long and successful careers since these heady times. In the film, Burton will feature in several solos on stage and, 30 years on, he recalls what it was like working with Elvis.
Rick Schmidlin has reshaped the original film to give greater emphasis to the music and to the interaction of Elvis with the people around him, including his entourage of assistants and hangers-on, including Joe Esposito.
Elvis fans - and there's still legions - will need no encouragement to revisit their hero's finest hour. For those who've never cared about Presley or just don't know what all the fuss was about, Elvis: That's The Way It Is could be the most surprising film you'll ever see.
With brilliantly restored image and sound, it has a freshness that is genuinely amazing. It may open doors for you to the history of recent popular culture that nothing else can.
Rick Schmidlin: 'We had people going down two miles below the earth in Kansas looking for unmarked cans that possibly contained the footage and we found things! We found the original 16-track masters. So we were able to go into the studio and digitally re-mix this from the 16 tracks so that you can now hear things that you never heard before and see separations of the music that you have never seen before'.
James Burton: 'We had great eye contact on stage and he'd watch me a lot and I never took my eyes off him because you never knew what was going to happen next.
So you had to pretty much keep your eye on him at all times'.
Jerry Scheff: 'We rehearsed probably 200 songs with him. When we played then with him, it wasn't like a rehearsal, it was more like we were just having fun; it was more like jamming.
But Elvis was always in charge. There was nobody else in charge but him'.
Joe Esposito: 'There was a team. There wasn't just Elvis and his band. If he wanted to change something, do whatever he wanted to do, he did it. But the band - they were great - they could do anything he wanted and Elvis loved that and that's why he got along so great with them'.
Ronnie Tutt: 'You forget some of the silliness that's in it. Like he's just sitting there and the mike starts going over and he's looking at it. And you know, I know what he's thinking, but it's just the craziness at the time. He wouldn't allow the seriousness of, as you say, a paying crowd to keep him from getting tickled or getting crazy about something. He didn't care in that way'.
Rick Schmidlin: 'I think it's going to shock people when they see how good he looked.
When he put on his white stage suits in 1970 he had a 32-inch waist and [he was] in top physical shape, probably the [best] physical shape of his life'.
Jerry Scheff: 'Elvis was a true musician and a true vocalist and when he sang, I really believe the lyrics went through his mind and through his heart and came out his mouth'.
Director Denis Sanders
Producer Dale Hutchinson
James Burton Lead Guitar, John Wilkinson Rhythm Guitar, Charlie Hodge Rhythm Guitar, Jerry Scheff Bass, Glen Hardin Piano, Ronnie Tutt Drums, Millie Kirkham Vocal, Imperial Quartet Vocals, Sweet Inspirations Vocals.
Interviews & Articles
Buy Elvis: That's The Way It Is DVD
Buy Elvis 75th Anniversary Collection (17 films) DVD Set [NTSC Format]
Buy Elvis DVD Movies
Buy DVD Movie Box Sets
Also of interest, The Elvis Files series of book, seven volumes ...
Buy The Elvis Files Volume 1, 1953-1956
Buy The Elvis Files Volume 2, 1957-1959
Buy The Elvis Files Volume 3, 1960-1964
Buy The Elvis Files Volume 4, 1965-1968
Buy The Elvis Files Volume 5, 1969-1970
Buy The Elvis Files Volume 6, 1971-1973
Buy The Elvis Files Volume 7, 1974-1977
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Tupelo's Own Elvis Presley DVD + 16 page booklet.
Never before have we seen an Elvis Presley concert from the 1950's with sound. Until Now! The DVD Contains recently discovered unreleased film of Elvis performing 6 songs, including Heartbreak Hotel and Don't Be Cruel, live in Tupelo Mississippi 1956. Included we see a live performance of the elusive Long Tall Sally seen here for the first time ever.
This is an excellent release no fan should be without it.
The 'parade' footage is good to see as it puts you in the right context with color and b&w footage. The interviews of Elvis' Parents are well worth hearing too. The afternoon show footage is wonderful and electrifying : Here is Elvis in his prime rocking and rolling in front of 11.000 people. Highly recommended.