Elvis on Tour (1972) Poster


User Reviews

Review this title
27 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
This is Elvis '72...Nobody Did It Better!
CosmicDwellings25 March 2001
The final era of the 20th Century's most respected Rock icon-Elvis Aaron Presley is captured here by MGM doing what he did best of all: Performing to various live audiences around the U.S.

It's almost a couple of years on from the first MGM filmed documentary about the Man and his live act, 'That's The Way It Is', and 'On Tour' is filmed in a different retrospective. In this one there aren't as many as those annoying fan interviews and interruptions and mainly concentrates on the different performances that Elvis manufactures to create his touring Stage-Show at this time.

Some of the old favourites are in there such as 'Johnny B.Goode'(Great opener to the film!), 'Polk Salad Annie'(Performed somewhat faster-wow!), 'Love Me Tender'(Nice touch showing some of the scripted movie kiss scenes!), 'Lawdy Miss Clawdy'(A total free-for-all with Elvis and the Band-magnetic!), 'I Got A Woman'(Amen to this!) and the finale sound of 'Can't Help Falling In Love'(Cape-wielding showstopper!).

New tunes 'The King' was bringing into his act at this particular time included 'Until It's Time For You To Go', 'Burning Love', 'An American Trilogy', 'You Gave Me A Mountain' and 'Never Been To Spain', and it's all a delight to hear and see him perform these in his own special, voice-to-the-limit, inimitable way.

After 32 previous attempts at trying to get himself recognised on film for the most part as a serious actor it's justifying that Elvis didn't need to act to do this, as the Golden Globe came winging it's way to 'On Tour' for Best Movie Documentary. Elvis appears slightly more weighty than in 'That's The Way It Is', with his hair somewhat longer and sideburned. The undeniable animal magnetism and aurora and God-gifted musical talent of this human being, which the film also sets out to portray, are here in evidence as a filmed testimony to any young, up and coming Singers even to this day who are trying to cut a niche for themselves in the unpredictable world of Pop Music-At the end of the day it's sheer hard work, just like in any job you may hold down, that helps to get you established and recognised for a lengthy period of time in the industry.

Elvis in 'On Tour' is dogged with personal problems and obviously reliance on prescription drugs are quite evident in some scenes, which ironically add to the sad and touching biography that is being told before you on the screen. Unlike 'That's The Way It Is', Elvis doesn't seem to enjoy himself as much surrounded by his so-called buddies, and it seems as though Vernon (his father)is more present than ever which certainly gave Elvis that family connection that he no doubt craved at this point, especially being on the road for weeks at a time. Infact, the only time Elvis seemed happy apart from on stage was when he was with his band in private singing many a gospel number.

Nevertheless, fan or non-fan, you'll love this and it's a unique testimony to a Performer who was being filmed for his official final movie in his career. The greatest triumph was still yet to come after this movie, in the form of his record-breaking Satellite TV Special the following year-'Aloha From Hawaii'. In this Special Elvis would never look and sound this consistently good again, but that was another time and another place...
17 out of 20 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
ELVIS ON TOUR (Pierre Adidge and Robert Abel, 1972) **1/2
Bunuel197631 August 2007
As indicated by the title, the film is a documentary – edited by Martin Scorsese! – showing highlights of Elvis Presley touring the USA (with much use of the then-trendy split-screen technique); interesting in itself, this also served as the iconic singer’s cinematic swan-song. Of course, his inflated appearance by this time – a far cry from his lean early years, seen intermittently throughout via stock footage – is rather sad to witness but, at least, he seemed to be in good spirits.

We’re shown Elvis performing in front of several different hysterical audiences – at one point, even admitting to still getting stage fright before going on – but also get to see him relax with his backing musicians (generally by singing gospel songs). The musical numbers include very few of his hits (“Love Me Tender” and “Can’t Help Falling In Love”, while others like “That’s All Right”, “Mystery Train” and “Suspicious Minds” are only heard via original recordings) but there are two outstanding cover versions by The King of then-vintage rock classics – Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Proud Mary” and Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water”!

The great final line of the film – “Elvis has left the building” – spoken by the compere (and which I suppose was uttered during most of his shows from this era) clearly attests to Presley’s legendary status even when he was still alive; this is followed by an inspired last shot of Elvis in pensive but evidently happy mood. Incidentally, the film won the Golden Globe Award as the year’s Best Documentary Feature – but, then, didn’t even make the list of nominees at the Oscars!
9 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Glory, Glory, Hallelujah
ferguson-630 July 2010
Greetings again from the darkness. Thanks to the one night showing through Fathom Events, I got to see this on the big screen again for the first time since it's initial release in 1972. For the 75th Anniversary, an introduction was added that included some clips and interviews. I found it most interesting to get a behind the scenes look at how the film was put together, and the roles of Robert Abel, Pierre Adidge and Martin Scorcese.

The film itself won a Golden Globe for best documentary and it's easy to see why. It provides a look at Elvis on the road ... and a peek at what he was like as a man. In the new intro, Priscilla says "Elvis didn't just sing a song". She is so right. Sure, he had an amazing voice. And yes, he was an incredibly charismatic stage performer. Obviously, he was a handsome man and sex symbol of the times. But what the film reminds us is that he was a musician ... a man who felt and loved the music.

For anyone who doesn't "get" Elvis or thinks he was just some old guy in a sequined jumpsuit, this is the film to watch. Upon its original release, Rolling Stone magazine's headline read "Finally, the first Elvis movie". The montage of his early years and crowd shots of his later years, show just what an impact he had on his fans. There was, and still is, a connection to those who were captivated by the man and his songs. He truly was a musical and social phenomenon.

Seeing him carry the burden of being ELVIS is very interesting. While the songs and performances are fun to watch, the real value here is in the backstage portions. That's where we see that he lived for the music. How else can you explain the voluminous recording library he left behind in less than 20 years. Despite the military service, pressures of fandom, and his personal issues, he continued recording songs that we can enjoy today. Compare this to the Rolling Stones, whose careers have lasted more than twice as long as Elvis! While he was not at his physical peak on this tour, he was 37 years old and in decent condition. What is obvious is that the VOICE is still there when he wants it. The two best moments are when he records "Separate Ways" and then when he performs "Trilogy". That is the proof that the special gift never left him.

It's difficult to watch this and realize that Elvis was dead 5 short years later. It really affects how you view his father, Vernon, who we see backstage and watching his son perform. It is also painful to see guys like Joe Esposito and Sonny and Red West kissing up to Elvis, now that we know they would go on to publish trash stories about him their golden goose was dead.

The film truly captures a part of history and a glimpse at a fascinating man, who really was the first mega-superstar who became bigger than life.
5 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Portrait of the King as a star shining bright
Jerry Ables4 October 2001
If you're a fan of Elvis Presley like I am, then what's not to love about this thoroughly awesome documentary? It offers an excellent look at the King of Rock of Roll on tour exciting audiences as only he knew how. It's always very refreshing to see Elvis using his extraordinary talent and this film is no exception. A definite recommendation on my part.
8 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A further retrospective
CosmicDwellings1 March 2004
This is Elvis at his total peak as a stage performer and ultimate 20th Century musical icon. The King has often been criticised at this point in his private life and career for one aspect or another - the separation from Priscilla, the reliance on prescribed medication, the extra pounds added to his waistline, the abundance of cover versions in his stage act, etc., etc. But what people fail to realise - here was a man who naturally was suffering with a certain amount of stress at this particular phase of his showbiz and personal life, especially having contracted glaucoma and having to cope with a gruelling touring schedule. Elvis might have been carrying a few extra pounds since MGM filmed him on and off stage in his previous documentary, but he still looked in peak physical condition and could certainly move and shake better than any would-be contender to his throne - check out 'Polk Salad Annie', the opening credit montage of 'Johnny B. Goode' and the energetic displays of on-stage Karate routines. Elvis had just recorded some future classic hits at this point when the movie was being filmed namely 'Always On My Mind' and 'Burning Love'. The other songs that had been certified global hits just before filming commenced for "On Tour" were 'An American Trilogy' and 'Until It's Time For You To Go'. The inspirational album 'He Touched Me' had just given Elvis his second grammy award in five years, and three of the gospel numbers on the album were to be featured rehearsal performances in "Elvis On Tour". A couple of months later The King embarked on another concert performance milestone with a full weekend of sell-out shows at New York's Madison Square Garden - John Lennon, George Harrison, David Bowie and Paul Simon were in attendance. The album recording of the Saturday night concert at The Garden achieved gold status. Before the pinnacle of the record-breaking 'Aloha From Hawaii' Satellite Concert in January 1973, "Elvis On Tour" had been nominated for a Golden Globe award for Best Documentary - it ended up as the winner. So, as anyone can see here, there were so many high points that are frequently overlooked in the year Elvis1972. And, as for performing such covers as 'Proud Mary', 'Bridge Over Troubled Water', and 'I Can't Stop Loving You' - he did them His way!
8 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Entertaining and upbeat documentary that showcased the stroll along tours and travels of the one and only king.
blanbrn16 August 2010
Over the years I for one like many others have became an Elvis fan, hey it's hard not to like the man. The king was the one and only his songs were both touching and uplifting as his words touched your soul and spirit. As Presley often sang about the struggles, joys, and hardships of life. And the man's popularity lives on it's like he never died as his legacy and voice touched millions he's probably earning bigger paydays 33 years after his death! Anyway it was finally nice to get a chance to see some behind the scenes footage of the king in live action. As this award winning documentary from 1972 "Elvis on Tour" is a nice upbeat treat for any fan or film historian. It gives an all access pass to the tours of Elvis as it follows a 15 city tour. The footage a lot of it shot in duo vision and split screen style shows plenty of the king performing his hits on stage at the same time you get to view his backups singing. It follows his pack city to city ranging from states in the south like Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia to gigs in the north with the king entertaining in Michigan and Ohio.

And as any king fan remembers Elvis put on a show with his movement actions and deep soothing voice as he shined with his glitter costumes and flashy diamonds. It was hysteria seeing his many fans most females go wild and crazy from screams and tears of joy and excitement when he arrived in town as many were kept from stage while others were lucky as they got the kings lips planted on their faces! Also old vintage clips from Presleys early days are shown in black and white. Interesting note was that this man who flew in on private plane and rode private limo admits he suffered from stage fright as Elvis states he experienced it every time before he went on stage.

Really a pretty good and entertaining documentary that showcases the talents of the legendary king as Elvis Presley is still remembered and always will be the one and only king of rock and probably the greatest entertainer to have ever lived. It's a shame it ended to quick he died way to young. Overall good doc for any fan and a good watch for any film buff a documentary that gives good entertainment and lasting memories of the great.
6 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
It's an either/Or situation
highclark9 January 2005
I should stay on the fence for this one.

I mean, it's always an either/or situation when it comes to Elvis Presley: either you subscribe to a fanatical worship of him, going so far as to calling him the King, or you attack him with a generous portion of cynicism, remarking more about his capes, kung fu and his weight than about his music. Well, for me, it's always about the music. His music is what lives on. And the music is what works best in this film. Being able to watch him rehearse with band mates while backstage was an amazing 'fly on the wall' experience. Elvis had a love for music that was inspiring, and as you can see on the film, even his band members shared in the love for music and were very much in awe of him and his musical abilities. I guess that's what I take away from the film most, his love for music, whether it's country, blues, gospel or rock and roll, Elvis loved music. It was also a great thrill to see his band working out through their first live rendition of 'Burning Love' or to hear his dramatic rendition of 'Bridge Over Troubled Water'. These moments are definitive proof of Elvis' ability to captivate an audience, just stunning.

However, I could have done without the cheesy '2001' intro, but you must remember, it was the 70's and who knows, you may get a perverse chuckle from hearing it. The 'Love Me Tender' film montage left me feeling sad in a number of ways. 1) In the clips we see Elvis as a young man, fit and charismatic, brimming over with so much promise. Then to cut back to see the current Elvis on stage in his capes. Just depressing.

2) The film images for the montage were taken from all of those films he made when he should have been concentrating on his music. Ironicly, the films kept him from making great music for a long period of time. Given the choice, I would rather he made music instead of 'Girls Girls Girls' or 'Viva Las Vegas' or any movie. It almost gives credence to something that is said in the film, in a totally non related way, when a loud speaker declares, "The Elvis Presley Show is a complete sell out".

All in all.....fans will loooooove the movie. People who can take or leave Elvis will deal with the movie and appreciate his talents, or at least they should. Those who are not fans will laugh at his costumes, his posse and his sides....hairy and otherwise. And you know, that's just not a good enough reason.

Me? I guess I lean more towards the 'either'.7/10.

Clark Richards
6 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
3rd best filmed concerts
trotsky108 August 2009
Strangely, though being an Elvis fan, I find myself not entirely agreeing with most of the comments here.

I have never found this movie endearing. Elvis looks a bit overweight though I think a lot has to do with his hair and burns being too long. I find the concert footage being way over lit making the complexion of Elvis seem a bit pale which I don't believe he was as the other footage including backstage footage he looks browner.

The sound also doesn't seem that good most of the time and the singing I find middle the road.

Kudos to the Gloden Globe but for me I find 'That's the way it is' being the best ever concert movie and the Aloha concert being second in terms of both quality and the look and sound of Presley.
7 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Elvis is leaving the building...
Lejink6 July 2007
I liked this "Elvis on the road" movie better than I aught. Yes it is sad to see Elvis starting his physical deterioration with his double chins and spare tyre to the fore, but the presence and certainly the voice are still there. The movie employs the then fashionable split - screen technique overmuch for no discernible purpose - you only want the camera on Elvis all the time anyway. The music is variable in quality - the band is too big and unwieldy to get down and dirty for great rock 'n' roll music, but at least Elvis mostly engages with the music and puts his voice to work. I particularly hate that almost synthetic drum sound which seems to just "cabaret" the sound completely. Nevertheless I enjoyed the takes on "Big Hunk of Love", "Bridge over Troubled Water" (surprisingly, given the vocal demands of the song) and the newly minted "Burning Love", even if Elvis unprofessionally sings from a song-sheet on stage. I wouldn't care to hear these versions again but in the context of the film they work just fine. The less said about the drawn - out "Love Me Tender" segment, an excuse for kissing and scarf distributing which he picked up presumably from Tom Jones, the better. The between - song segments reveal next to nothing other than that Elvis in public was polite and professional and that he liked to sing gospel spirituals in rehearsal. The toadiness and cringeworthy sycophancy of the posse of hangers - on was thankfully less in evidence than I thought it would be although they obviously all hang on his every word and movement. Good to be the King, I guess. Overall though I was reasonably entertained throughout and it shows that you don't need today's stadium rock pyrotechnics to whip up a crowd. Presley by this stage was starting to trade mainly on his charisma and thankfully there was plenty to spare but it's hard not to be embarrassed at his on - stage gyrations in absurd sequined costumes - thrown into sharp relief by an insert of an early Ed Sullivan appearance where he tears through "Ready Teddy". If I'd been around at the time, I'd have wished to see this show - I may have been disappointed somewhat but at least Elvis wasn't in the state of near collapse, replete with forgetting his words and almost breaking down mid - song which traits assailed him later in life.
5 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
kwbucsfan21 August 2001
Elvis had gotten chubby but he wasn't fat like he was when he died. Elvis still looks decent, and is in top vocal form. What "That's the Way It Is" did by showing Elvis's life in rehersal, this one did by showing Elvis's life on the road. It was good to see Elvis at or still near the peak of his performing career.
3 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Elvis Surveys His Final Mountain
wes-connors1 August 2010
"Elvis on Tour" features a great look at Elvis Presley in his third decade of adoration. While the performance quality is down from "That's the Way It Is" (1971), the film is of much better quality. The stylish split-screens, backstage scenes, and overall look actually compliments Elvis Presley - something that should have been done throughout his career. Pierre Adidge and Robert Abel and their crew make it worthy. Among the new songs, there are no real classics; although, when Elvis is trying, many come close. During the 1970s, the now legendary singer is fully in fame's final trap; he will rush through songs, forget lyrics, or simply stop singing. You can see most of this carelessness happening in "Elvis on Tour" but it only serves the film's thesis. And, frankly, few cared, after all… it's ELVIS.

The newly recorded "live" songs are from various concerts, April, 1972 - "Also Sprach Zarathustra" (instrumental) / "See See Rider" / "Polk Salad Annie" / "Proud Mary" / "Never Been to Spain" / "Burning Love" / "Love Me Tender" / "Until It's Time For You to Go" / "Suspicious Minds" / "Bridge Over Troubled Water" / "Funny How Time Slips Away" / "An American Trilogy" / "I Got a Woman / Amen" (medley) / "A Big Hunk o' Love" / "You Gave Me a Mountain" / "Lawdy, Miss Clawdy" / "Can't Help Falling In Love"

Additional material was culled from rehearsals recorded in March, 1972 - "Johnny B. Goode" / "Separate Ways" / "Lighthouse" (J.D. Sumner and the Stamps) / "Lead Me, Guide Me" / "Bosom of Abraham" / "I, John" - plus Ed Sullivan showstoppers "Don't Be Cruel" and "Ready Teddy", SUN record classics "That's Alright" and "Mystery Train", ending with the sentimental TV special "Memories". Breaking it down, the older material is much better. And, thanks to filmmakers,, nothing is bad. The gospel rehearsals will probably surprise many; Elvis was an extraordinary "gifted" spiritual singer, and released three highly recommended religious record albums.

As far as the regular set goes, it illustrates initial comments. It's typical for the time, with no real highlight. Elvis is great, but not entirely committed. He was always capable of great new tracks, as a listen to the contemporary studio version of "Burning Love" will attest. And, if you want live "Elvis on Tour" songs in their full glory, listen to the version of "Polk Salad Annie" released on Elvis' "On Stage" LP, the single version of "An American Trilogy" or the upcoming "Aloha from Hawaii via Satellite" versions of "Johnny B. Goode" and "You Gave Me a Mountain" (1973). Elvis never did manage to master his final "Mountain", finding it lonely at the top.

****** Elvis on Tour (11/1/72) Pierre Adidge, Robert Abel ~ Elvis Presley, James Burton, J.D. Sumner, Jerry Scheff
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Decent Doc
Michael_Elliott27 February 2008
Elvis on Tour (1972)

** 1/2 (out of 4)

Pretty good documentary that (once again) captures Elvis on stage and behind the scenes. Sadly I had to watch a P&S version of this film, which was amongst the worst I've ever seen since the film used multi-screens and the left and right were usually just cut off. The performance by Elvis here is rather hit and miss but overall it's a nice collection of songs from a 15-city tour. 'See See Rider' and 'Proud Mary' don't come off too hot but The King once again nails a cover of 'Bridge Over Troubled Water'. Classics like 'Love Me Tender', 'Can't Help Falling in Love', 'Don't Be Cruel' and 'Suspicious Minds' comes off very good. The behind the scenes stuff isn't as interesting here as I had hoped but it was rather funny seeing the Gov. of North Carolina kiss Elvis' ass so much. The stuff with the fans reactions to be kissing by Elvis were also great. The flashback scenes to the younger Elvis weren't needed and the movie kisses sequence wasn't needed either. Martin Scorsese worked on the picture as an editor, which I didn't know until after the movie.
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Great Chronicle of 72 Tour
nancyann5623 October 2006
Elvis explodes on screen. What was it like to tour with Elvis? This film will show you. A lot has been made about Elvis's appearance and weight in this movie. It does seem when Elvis is in the white jumpsuit he looks more trim, in face and body. Why more of the performances from the concert he wore this suit in were not used is a mystery. He seems puffy and the lighting is not good in a lot of the concert shots that were used(mainly Hampton Roads performances)Still pictures from this era show him much trimmer than this film shows. Vocally he gives varied performances from gospel, to rock, to country. His vocal range is shown to be vast when compared with many other pop and rock singers. His old hits are now done to give the fans what they want, but the songs that he pours his heart into are the gospel and the newer songs he has added. Burning Love was not even out when this documentary was being filmed and its a treat to see him do it fresh. Creedances Proud Mary is another he seems to love. The split screen was a new rage in this type of music film and it can be distracting. If you like Elvis this film is for you.
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Great Documentary of a 20th Century Icon.
artbyshan29 August 2004
This is a good film for those that consider themselves as fans. The film shows many behind the scenes footage as well as concert footage. The casual fan may become board, and I would probably recommend Aloha From Hawaii for a simple concert with polished sound. However, this film goes beyond the concert and shows the preparation, fan fair, and a glimpse into a superstar's life. Elvis still looks to be in good health, and one must consider the fashion of the 1970's. This is before giant screens, laser shows, and special effects were on the scene. So extravagant costumes added to his persona. For the most part Elvis seems to be very jovial, but a few times (e.g., When staring out of car window and when receiving a gift from a town official {Though he is humble and respectful}) somewhat bored and reflective. One must also consider that this is filmed approximately five years before his untimely death (i.e. His appearance remained good up until approximately the last two years of his life). The spiritual side of the man is also shown to a great degree in this film, with several gospel songs sung by him and his backup vocalist.
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The King Holds Court
BillyWhitehurst27 November 2000
This is a great rock-u-mentary! Following The King for 15 days, you see him climb out and in of limousines, rushing on and off scenes, see him waiting backstage thrilled with scene-nerves - and of course - you'll see him perform on stage.

The Elvis Presley show from 1972 included old rockers like "Johnny B. Goode" and "Lawdy Miss Clawdy", show-stoppers like "An American Trilogy" and "You Gave Me A Mountain" and the frantic version of "Polk Salad Annie".

What REALLY thrills you 'bout this one, is the almost scaring look you get into Elvis' life; always surrounded by his Memphis Mafia, always on tour, always lookin' to please someone else...and then again you see him as he perhaps was deep inside; when he and his guys are singing gospel afterwards the shows.

Perhaps this is mostly for fans like myself, but I believe also others could have a thrill out of watching this one!
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Tremendous documentary presentation of an American Icon.
michaelRokeefe14 June 2000
This is a multiple-screen documentary that provides an intimate and electrifying portrait of Elvis Presley. This was filmed during a 15-day tour that criss crossed the country. This dynamic glimpse of the legendary performer won the 1972 Golden Globe for Best Documentary. This is positive support proving Elvis being one of the world's most beloved entertainers. After viewing this film, even non-fans have trouble denying that Presley is the greatest American phenomenon of the 20th century.
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
One of the Great Music Documentaries
GeorgeFairbrother6 January 2020
For me, this is one of the great music cinema films, right up there with The Last Waltz. (Noting the Martin Scorsese connection).

Elvis on Tour really captures the excitement of Elvis coming to town and the often obsessive devotion of the fans, while the behind-the-scenes aspects bring to life the frenetic, exhausting pace of the tour itself, and the complexity of the operation.

The uplifting vibe of the movie is helped by the fact that Elvis, his musicians and singers are all at the top of their game, and are demonstrably having lots of fun together on stage as well. The sheer joy of making music as an ensemble leaps from the screen. Sadly, this would not always be the case. (Although the decline in Elvis' performance quality in subsequent years has generally been way overstated). The musical highlight, I think, is a euphoric rendition of Bridge Over Troubled Water.

This film is all the more poignant, knowing what is to come, because it captures a magical moment in time.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Look into the eyes
jellopuke15 August 2019
Watching this after reading the excellent duology by Peter Guralnick helps you see past the supposed glitz to a picture of a man spiralling out of control to his death. Yeah, he had 5 years left, but he was getting fat, hooked on pills, and surrounded by insanity and yes men even here. It's like he was just about to step off the plank to become fat, joke Elvis, his last hurrah. Worth seeing as a historical curiosity though.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Elvis The Performer, The Onstage Persona
atlasmb16 August 2017
"Elvis on Tour" is a documentary that provides glimpses of the performer behind the scenes, his onstage persona, and his performances of several hit songs.

At this stage of his career, he was besieged by bodily pains and turmoil surrounding the final stages of his marriage to Priscilla--something he would never recover from. He was coping with drugs and, in fact, he would die a few years later. But the film does not document these real dimensions of his life. It only deals with his public face and the dedication of his fans. As such, it feels like little more than a promotional film.

We see Elvis backstage before going on, waiting nervously with his entourage. We see him dressed in his Evel Knievel-like caped jumpsuits, still possessing a voice, but not fully invested in providing a concise performance. We see the audiences, filled with adoring fans, screaming and crying, attesting to his popularity.

Like Sinatra, whose popularity never waned, Elvis has become a caricature of himself at this point. And serious singing has given way to showmanship, punctuated with posings and karate kicks. But his audiences loved all of this.

Elvis did make some good music. And some of his best songs were released late in his career, but in 1972 at this film's releasing, the major hits were behind him.

The film does a good job capturing the phenomenon that is Elvis. But the amount of split screen editing feels excessive, like they are trying to make some scenes feel more exciting than they were.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Prince from Another Planet
jimdavidson-693193 August 2017
I first saw Elvis on Tour when it played on prime-time TV in 1975. Elvis referred to the TV broadcast in a live concert recording first released in 1981.

I own Elvis on Tour on VHS, laser disc and blu ray. I watched the VHS tape about 7 times in a row -- the movie is great and I only had the rental VCR for the week.

I like the Don't be Cruel opening on the blue ray version. It has more drive than the rehearsal recording of Johnny be Good. That said, Chuck Berry ruined the intended intro by denying rights to the song.

It would have been great if Elvis built upon his successes in the early 70s rather than riding out the last two years.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Both entertaining and fascinating
TheLittleSongbird29 May 2017
Elvis Presley was a hugely influential performer with one of the most distinctive singing voices of anybody. 'Elvis: That's the Way It Is' is an acclaimed documentary film for good reason, and better than all of his films he made during the mid-50s-late-60s.

His film career was highly variable as an overall film career with some good ones ('King Creole', 'Flaming Star', 'Jailhouse Rock', Viva Las Vegas' and 'Loving You'), some decent ones (most of his late-50s-early 60s efforts), some mediocre ones (some of his 1962-1964 efforts and almost all his films after 'Stay Away Joe') and some bad ones ('Harum Scarum', 'Stay Away Joe', 'Frankie & Johnny', 'Paradise Hawaiian Style', 'Easy Come Easy Go', 'Double Trouble', 'Kissin' Cousins' and 'Clambake'). Elvis' performances in them ranged from good, great even in a few, to clearly disinterested and embarrassed (and regarding some of his later films who could blame him).

Both his 1970s documentaries are well worth seeing, with 'That's the Way It Is' being the better and more consistent of the two'. Both are on the same level of his best films, even better actually, and significantly better than most of them. Simply put, for fans of the justly named The King of Rock and Roll, 'Elvis On Tour' is unmissable and both entertaining and fascinating, and even non-fans may find themselves converted. It's cohesively shot and edited (with the involvement of none other than acclaimed director Martin Scorsese early on in his career), where one gets to properly know Elvis, the band and the audience.

Unlike 'That's the Way It Is', 'Elvis on Tour' isn't perfect. Some of the lighting is dim, and as many of the other commentators have said while at times affectionate and candid the behind the scenes stuff doesn't fare as well as the concert footage, being not exactly illuminating and revealing little about Elvis himself or what we don't know already.

With Elvis himself, he doesn't look as great as 'That's the Way It Is' (though he did look worse), but he sounds fantastic and looks like a natural on stage with immense energy and real connection to the music. There is a real sense of atmosphere without being over-the-top.

The quality of the music can't be faulted either, with a mix of his greatest and iconic hits and his newer music. No forgettable at best ones here, disposable ones and no career-low ones either. It's all brilliantly performed all round.

Overall, entertaining and fascinating if not without its flaws. 8/10 Bethany Cox
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Okay, but more for die hard fans of Elvis
Wizard-819 February 2017
I've never been a big fan of Elvis Presley, though I will admit he could certainly belt out a great song, and he also knew how to put on a good show in front of an audience. "Elvis on Tour" is without doubt a valuable rock and roll concert documentary, capturing what Elvis was like in a key part of his career. It shows that he still had considerable singing chops and magnetism.

But at the same time, something often seems to missing as he's singing, almost like he is just going through the motions. It may be because he was older, it may be because of the narcotics he was taking - I'm not sure why he isn't as energetic as he was just a few years earlier. The only portions of the documentary where he performs with genuine enthusiasm and energy is with a couple of gospel songs.

The behind-the-scenes portions of the documentary are also a bit of a letdown. We learn very little about Elvis, like what he's thinking about this entire tour, what he thinks about where he is in his career, and a number of other unanswered questions.

I will say, however, that the musical numbers in the movie are very well directed and edited; the split screen techniques bombard the viewer with a lot of information, giving the feeling of actually being at an Elvis concert. This does make up for Elvis' somewhat lack of the energy he had in the past, and push the movie up to being an okay viewing experience, though more for real Elvis fans than more casual appreciators like myself.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
I love this!!!!
Yipikaye30 January 2016
I prefer Elvis On Tour more when, That's The Way It Is, It is more based on his career. We get glimpses of his 50's performance and many of great footages. Although there is so many great footage left out which you can find on YouTube. But overall Elvis is energetic and seems to enjoy himself on stage. The year '72 was a great one for sure. The film receiving Golden Globe. Amazing shows in New York. And the announcement of Aloha From Hawaii. I'm surprised they have left out some footages and outtakes, because on them Elvis seems to fool around, which maybe they didn't want people to see. Overall 10/10. Great camera angles and many more, must see!
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Doing What He Liked Best
dougdoepke2 January 2015
Love him or not, Elvis is considered by many as the single greatest influence on pop- culture of the last half of the 20th century. Here he shows some of that impact in what's mainly a cross-section of stage shows from a 1972 concert tour. There's not as much backstage as I hoped, but it's still revealing of a genuine legend. At 37, he's heavier and less lively than earlier, which is understandable, given the passing years. Plus, there's little of the patented swivel-hips, even though the girls still go crazy. Then too, the split screen technique synchronizes the stage act with audience reaction in revealing fashion. Note too, how his act is more dependent on stagecraft (the cape, the lighting, the banter) than during his emergent years. But that too is understandable, given the rigors of a multi-city tour. The musical selections are a mix of tried and true ("Don't Be Cruel", "Love Me Tender" et al.) and new, and makes up most of the documentary. All in all, this is not Elvis at his most dynamic. Still, the 90-some minutes amounts to a worthwhile look at a giant of R&R, doing what he liked best.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
"I've never gotten over what they call stage fright" - Elvis Presley
classicsoncall2 January 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Sometimes it takes me a good long while to get on board with modern day celebrities and entertainers. I was never a fan of Elvis or the Beatles for example until well after the fact of their established careers. I don't know why that is, maybe it's just the perspective of passing years adding to their productivity and influence on other artists. This 1972 documentary film recorded Elvis Presley over the course of a fifteen city U.S. tour, remarkably done in a span of just as many days. In appearance, Presley is about midway between his early classic look as a hip swinging rock n' roller and the embarrassing spectacle of the overweight, over medicated singer who succumbed to his addiction some four years later. Unlike a number of other reviewers on this board, I didn't think he looked that good physically, although the performance and showmanship that went with the distinctive voice is on prominent display throughout. Backed by J.D. Sumner and the Stamps Quartet, Elvis mixes up his repertoire with rockabilly (Polk Salad Annie), heart throb material (Love Me Tender) and much to my satisfaction, some nice Gospel work (Jesus is the Light House and Lead Me, Guide Me). In between numbers, we get a look back stage at Elvis and his band members, and the gushing fans who can't believe they ever got to see him in person. I don't think "Elvis on Tour" is the definitive work one would rely on to get the full essence of the man and his music, but it's a well put together documentary over all and a satisfying look at the King of Rock and Roll.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews

Recently Viewed