Elvis: That's the Way It Is
Most of us know a little something about Elvis. He was born in Tupelo, Mississippi and later moved to Memphis, Tennessee. He was a twin however his brother, Jesse Garon, was stillborn and so he ended up being an only child who idolized his mother.
He caused teenage girls to go crazy or faint when they saw him on stage and parents to be scandalized by his provocative movements. He starred in many films including Viva Las Vegas, with Ann-Margret and wore flashy, high collared jumpsuits covered in rhinestones. Like many others of that era he served in the military. So what was it about Elvis that made him the undisputed King of Rock-N-Roll?
Undoubtedly being born in the rural south during segregation influenced his early years. He was exposed to many different music styles from country, to gospel, to Negro spirituals, or slave songs. The move to Memphis afforded him access to the blues and rhythm and blues; music that colored many of his later songs. It was the beginning of rock after the mellow sounds of the crooners. Teenagers were rejecting their parents' old-fashioned beliefs, and it seemed as if the whole country was in a state of rebellion.
So into this mix steps Elvis, definitely not 'the boy next door'! He was scorned for being a white boy who sang black music. He was a hick, a hillbilly. He was told he couldn't sing. (Couldn't sing?! Elvis?) He not only started a new style of music, he made it possible for other artists to build upon it.
It was the movie years, when he was tied to one contract after another and virtually out of live performing that made a comeback a necessity. And this is where Elvis Presley - That's The Way It Is comes in. Highly anticipated by Elvis fans around the world, the film directed by Denis Sanders, documents interesting rehearsal sequences, fan interviews, pre-concert preparations complete with some before performance jitters from the King and live performances culled from Elvis' 1970 run at the International Hotel in Las Vegas - then the largest hotel in the world.
There is no denying Elvis' vocal prowess and staying power. He pours his soul into every song that he sings, gyrating enthusiastically around the stage. His voice has a deeper, more mature quality to it. Here you will finally see the consummate performer that the poor boy from Memphis has become.