Hit for fifty six!,
This review is from: Elvis '56 [DVD] (DVD)
I received this DVD as part of a boxset collection entitled 'Elvis' which also included the book 'Elvis: In words and pictures'. This DVD released in 2006 celebrates Elvis Presley's early years documenting his recordings and success with Sam Smith at Sun studios in Memphis with his band Scotty Moore on guitar, Bill Black on bass and D.J Fontana on drums. Elvis went on to be noticed by the notorious Colonel Tom Parker who signed him up with RCA records and told him "Son right now you have a million dollars worth of talent, by the time we're through you'll have a million dollars!". Interestingly Elvis' mother Agnes warned against the deal but Elvis and his father were all for it!
The DVD has this 1 documentary which is just over an hour long and is narrated by a Southern fella called Levon Helm.
The DVD has amazing footage of his performances, personal adventures with rare pictures like a trip home to see his family and girlfriend and footage of his appearances on TV shows such as the Dorsey Brothers show and Ed Sullivan's show where he was only filmed from the waist up! He appears on the Steve Allen show in a tuxedo with tails and sings Hound dog to a dog equally as smartly dressed! Steve Allen obviously sensed people's unease of this man and he was made to smarten up and act more proper. Elvis broke through in mid-50's conservative America where many were listening to the swing of Frank Sinatra and people were outraged not just at the music but by how Elvis performed the music with his 'gyrating' and sensual moves. Elvis is interviewed saying how he didn't mean to cause any trouble and he's just moving to the music and can't keep still.
Hilariously all of these suggestive moves led to a city even taking out an injunction against Elvis so that by law he couldn't move the way he did and instead was left waggling his finger! It seems ridiculous to us now with the current music scene where it's hard not to turn on the radio and hear a song with sexual lyrics or see a music video which isn't provocative but at the time people were stunned by this man's passion and couldn't handle it. They said he was 'out of control'! Meanwhile the younger generation were loving all the excitement and Elvis received 5 Gold records that year - Heartbreak hotel, I want you I need you I love you, Don't be cruel, Hound dog and Love me tender. His first Las Vegas performance was that year and he didn't return there to perform for 14 years. The film also discusses his early movie career and gives you a sense of Elvis' ambition to become a serious actor which never really happened and the movies became more about the songs which was something Elvis decided he didn't want to do in his movies at the start.
Elvis returned home to Tupelo, Mississippi where he was born to perform a concert at the state fair in September of that year to 22,000 people! Millions of miles away from his humble beginnings in a small wooden shack his fame had exploded. The documentary ends with a bittersweet feel expressing how with Elvis fame growing by 1957 (the following year) the fans couldn't get anywhere near him and stadiums were packed, leading to a distancing between himself and his fans. The original band broke up and things were changing rapidly for him. The year 1956 represented his development into a national sensation where he was being recognised across America when he became famous. After that everything changed and nothing would ever be the same again.