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HTF mini Review: "Elvis: His Best Friend Remembers" (with screenshots)

Discussion in 'Archived Reviews' started by Ronald Epstein, Jul 2, 2002.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder

    Jul 3, 1997
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    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein

    Elvis: His Best Friend Remembers

    From the Private Collection
    of Diamond Joe Esposito

    Studio: Universal
    Year: 2002
    Rated: NR
    Film Length: 130 minutes
    Aspect Ratio: Full Frame (1.33:1)

    I am not a huge fan of Elvis Presley. He was
    a bit before my time, so it's not unusual that
    I'm mostly a fan of the music he performed in
    the late 60's through 70's. There is no doubt
    in my mind, however, that he is the true "King"
    of Rock and Roll.
    Universal sent me a screener of an upcoming
    DVD that chronicles the life of Elvis Presley
    through the person that was at his side for
    almost 20 years. That person is Joe Esposito,
    who served as Road Manager for Elvis.
    This DVD documentary is very unique in that it
    presents some very personal photos and footage
    that rarely has been seen by the public. Of
    course, you get interesting stories about Elvis's
    private life direct from the person that was
    there with him. These are the good points about
    this DVD, and I'll get to the bad ones in a moment.
    Joe Esposito's story begins in 1958 when Elvis
    was drafted into the Army at Fort Hood, Texas.
    Joe actually met Elvis for the first time when
    both were transferred for duty in Germany. They
    got to know one another and Elvis offered him
    the job of a lifetime.
    Moving through the years that followed, the DVD
    almost works like a scrapbook, offering rare
    glimpses into Elvis's personal life thanks to
    over 500 photographs. It's heartwarming to watch
    what a true icon the man was and how much he
    adored his fans. Wherever Elvis was, he always
    took the time to sign autographs.
    Some of the memorable highlights on this DVD
    are of Elvis and Danny Thomas together next
    to the boat that Elvis bought and donated to
    Danny's charity.
    The marriage of Elvis to Priscilla is shown
    with an interesting story by Esposito on how
    the entire family fooled Rona Barrett and the
    press into thinking the ceremony was being held
    There are also stories about Elvis's movie
    career, buying his first airplane (Lisa Marie),
    the women he dated after his divorce, and the
    Of course, one of the most intimate moments
    of this documentary comes when Joe recalls Elvis's
    last vacation and the day he died. Setting the
    record straight, Joe tells the entire story of
    his death -- the way it actually happened --
    dispelling many of the rumors of years gone by.
    Though I credit this documentary as being a
    valiant effort to capture the King's private
    life, I was very disappointed over the fact that
    none of his licensed performances could be used
    on the DVD, if only in short clips. There is no
    footage from any of his films or TV specials.
    The closest we get is a "Welcome Home" special
    with Frank Sinatra and Joey Bishop that only
    serves as an introduction to a song that never
    gets seen.
    Perhaps I am expecting too much from a DVD that
    serves only the purpose of giving us private
    moments that other documentaries never could.
    In that respect, this is a DVD for Elvis fans
    that will not disappoint.
    Special Features
    The documentary itself lasts just under 90
    minutes. There are, however, 11 BONUS DVD
    CHAPTERS that can be accessed from the
    Bonus Materials area.
    Highlights of these extra chapters include:
    * News clips from major networks and local
    stations announcing the death of Elvis Presley
    in 1977.
    * A mini tour of Graceland
    * A candlelight vigil
    * Elvis Presley Memorabilia
    * Meet Al Dvorin, the man who immortalized
    the words, "Elvis has left the building!"
    Learn how it came to be.
    * A look at the many fans and impersonators
    * Elvis buying a chimp, and the chimp's first
    appearance at a party getting drunk.
    Final Thoughts
    While there are far better DVDs out there
    that chronicle Elvis's life and career (along
    with actual performances), this is one of those
    documentaries that appeal more to the die-hard
    fans, as it gives an interesting look at a side
    of Elvis not ordinarily seen from his friend
    that saw it all.
    If you are a fan, this is worth a look.
    Release Date: July 30, 2002

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