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Elvis: That's the Way It Is

Where to Watch Elvis: That's the Way It Is

PG
1999

Elvis: That's the Way It Is is an iconic documentary-style music film from 1970 offering fans a rare behind-the-scenes glimpse into the world of the King of Rock 'n' Roll, Elvis Presley. Directed by Denis Sanders and produced by Herbert F. Solow, this film symbolizes an unprecedented blend of concert footage, rehearsal snippets, and off-stage insights showcasing the enigmatic presence and unparalleled talent of the much-celebrated American cultural icon.

The film starts with a candid peek into the rehearsals prior to Presley’s return to the live stage after his successful television specials and movie runs. Following Elvis in the months leading up to his legendary performance series at the International Hotel in Las Vegas during the summer of 1970, the viewer is privy to a number of intimate anecdotal moments. These include scenes featuring Elvis in casual interactions with band members such as rock and roll Hall of Famer James Burton and top-session musician Glen D. Hardin, and in the all-important preparatory discussions with record producers, managers, and stage directors.

The film is as much about the man off-stage as it is about the electrifying performer on-stage. It zooms in on a variety of Elvis’s piano performances interspersed with shots of him gregariously entertaining his band members with impersonations, and engaging in warm, jovial banter. As the film swings between laughter-filled rehearsals and intense creative sessions, it skillfully unravels the complexity of the commanding figure Elvis was, both as an artist and a person.

Nobody commands a live audience quite like Elvis, and the concert footage forms the pulsating chart-topping heart of the film. Elvis is shown performing some of his monumental hits like 'Suspicious Minds', 'Love Me Tender', and 'In the Ghetto'. His energetic performance is backed by an equally dynamic ensemble composed of a rock band, an orchestra, and a gospel-style vocal chorus. The masterful cinematography captures the essence of a typical Elvis concert replete with swooning fans, swaying to the hypnotic rhythm of his music. The closeup shots of Elvis engrossed in his craft are a testimony to his singing prowess and inimitable stage presence.

The camera closely captures the charisma of Elvis, complete with his flamboyant costumes, his mesmerizing dance steps, and his enchanting voice. His charm grows manifold when he serenades spellbound female fans while doling out sweat-stained scarves as cherished mementos. The roaring admiration of the audience demonstrates the impact that Elvis and his music had on his followers. This adulation, bordering on a frenzy, is deftly captured on film, embellishing the movie with a vibrant, immersive experience.

The film also becomes a time capsule of sorts when it showcases interviews of his dedicated fans, each expressing their unbound love and admiration for the man who captured their heart with his music. The raw earnestness of the fans' emotions weaves a counterpoint to the boisterous energy of an Elvis performance, painting a rounded, holistic picture of the phenomenon that he was.

Although Elvis: That's the Way It Is is without a traditional plot, one can trace the trajectory of his career from its vigorous comeback on the live music scene to becoming an undeniable master of his craft. His collaboration with his talented musicians, the painstaking preparation for shows, and the electrifying performances all coalesce into a narrative arc of the trajectory of his singular creative journey.

The overall tone of this film is celebratory, echoing Elvis's return to live performing after an extended hiatus. However, it does not shy away from capturing the flurry and intensity that goes along with such a colossal event. Likewise, it underlines the professional strain and personal sense of responsibility that an artist like Elvis carried as he prepared to enthrall his audiences. The film encapsulates the sense of nervous anticipation, the painstaking attention to detail, and the process of fine-tuning in the journey leading up to the live performances.

In essence, Elvis: That's the Way It Is is more than just a film; it is a timeless tribute to not just an artist but a cultural phenomenon who shaped music history. It frames the vibrant aura and captivating allure of Elvis the entertainer, and also affords a deeper insight into Elvis the human being. Structurally masterful and emotionally resonant, it remains an essential watch for fans of the King and music enthusiasts, highlighting the man behind the legend in all his musical glory.

Elvis: That's the Way It Is is a Documentary, Music movie released in 1999. It has a runtime of 108 min. 97 min. 2001 Special Edition. Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 7.9..

How to Watch Elvis: That's the Way It Is

Where can I stream Elvis: That's the Way It Is movie online? Elvis: That's the Way It Is is available to watch and stream, buy on demand, download at The Roku Channel Free, Tubi TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube VOD, Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Elvis: That's the Way It Is for a limited time or purchase the movie for downloading.

7.9/10
Director
Denis Sanders
Stars
Elvis Presley
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