Hard to believe but it has been fifty years since Viva Las Vegas was released. This was the concert documentary shot at the time.
It was the seventies and this was older heavier Elvis in the white pantsuit (to situate things). He booked six shows in Las Vegas at the International Hotel and proved to the world that he was still the King.
Two versions of the concert film exist and this is the one from 2000 reconfigured by producer Rick Schmidlin. It is twelve minutes shorter than the original directed by Denis Sanders. If possible the streamlining allows even more of the spotlight to shine on Elvis.
The documentary part allows you to go behind the scenes to take in the rehearsals and lead up to the six big shows. This part shows a man really at ease in front of the cameras. So at ease that he acts like they are not even there. He has a comfort that very few other performers had. The rehearsals also give you insight into how much he was in control of his music and had definite ideas about how he wanted it to sound. Not simply a voice or presence, the man certainly had and ear and talent.
While watching the concert you also see the devotion his fans felt for him. They wanted to be close and he allowed it. During the show he often was touching them, kissing women and even going out into the crowd. His huge stardom is easily recognized. Also you get to hear what a good singer the man was. That voice! Sounded the same live as it did on record. Again, he was not simply just another pretty face. Hard to believe that this fit and full of life man would be fat then dead within seven years.
I doubt tried and true Elvis Presley fans don’t already have this seminal concert documentary, but if you don’t then pick up this high quality blu-ray edition.
Special Features: Patch It Up: The Restoration of Elvis: That’s the Way It Is, Outtakes, Theatrical Trailer