ELVIS ON TOUR – on the way to the Golden Globe – (Part 12, last)

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Golden Globe


The film “Standing Room Only”, which was renamed “Elvis On Tour” in the final stages of production, took two weeks to shoot. During this time, the film crew of Robert Abel shot as much as sixty hours of footage!

According to the book by Jerry Hopkins, “Elvis. King of Rock’n’Rolla “, recordings of concerts, rehearsals or behind-the-scenes meetings were delivered daily to Los Anegels by air, so that, as the author claims, just after the April tour (the tour ended on April 19), the editors could start working on the film .

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At about the same time, a second team searched the television archives for the most interesting and most relevant material from the 1950s and 1960s.

Interestingly, both Colonel Parker and Elvis himself were against the use of the above sequences. The former did not want Presley to be associated with an “act of nostalgia.” The latter, in turn, did not want to return to the Hollywood stage of his career and the time in which he was identified with the “opponent of the establishment”, which he had not been for a long time, even in this form.

Only his trusted associate, Jerry Schilling, who, along with Ken Zemke (the main editor) and Martin Scorsese, was involved in editing the film was to convince him of Abel’s idea. “ One night I went to his (Elvis, author’s note) mansion on Monovale, and when the time seemed right, I explained to him shot-by-shot editing. How it fits the music and relates to the tour material , “Schilling recalled in his book” Me And Guy Named Elvis “. “,Sounds good. I have no problem with that, ”replied Elvis. So I gave his consent to the filmmakers and Scorsese included it in his editing. The film gained a lot from this. With that one sequence, I also took a giant leap in approaching Elvis as a fellow co-creator. Not up to par with him, of course, but I felt great talking to him about editing the film and not just discussing the next exercises with him .

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Schilling also managed to persuade Elvis to give a long, nearly two-hour interview in which the singer could share his thoughts on his career, concerts or rehearsals that he had with the band from time to time. Robert Abel wanted to use its fragments in his film as a commentary on individual scenes.

In this case, however, the director’s idea met with strong opposition from Colonel Parker. Especially that in answering the questions, Elvis was quite critical about some topics – for example, his film career.

The finished film hit theaters on November 1, 1972 and almost immediately met with keen interest from both Elvis fans and critics.

The former strongly appreciated the document and made the costs incurred in its production, i.e. about six hundred thousand dollars (the equivalent of $ 3,886,900 in 2021) , paid back in less than three days after its premiere.

Screened in one hundred and eighty-seven cinemas in one hundred and one American cities, “Elvis On Tour” brought a profit of nearly four hundred and ninety-five thousand dollars.

Much cooler, however, the latest film by Presley was received by critics. Although positive opinions prevailed in the published reviews – the film was praised, among other things, for its production, dynamics, use of split screens, sound and concert shots, there were also critical voices. Journalists, both domestic and foreign, argued that it was not much different from its predecessor, the 1970 film That’s The Way It Is (a Los Angeles Times reviewer said it was better than the title because Elvis seemed to be on the road. more confident and relaxed than in Vegas).

The Windsor Star newspaper described the film as a “pseudo-documentary” and stated that, like “That’s The Way It Is,” it was made only to promote Elvis himself and his performances.

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Although opinions on “Elvis On Tour” were clearly divided, on January 28, 1973, at the jubilee, 30th Golden Globe Gala, the film by Robert Abel and Pierre Addidge received the main prize in the Best Documentary Film category.

It is worth noting that when “On Tour” was released, Colonel Parker was already finalizing another large project – the satellite concert “Aloha From Hawaii”, which was originally supposed to take place on November 18, 1972. Due to the premiere of the film, the event was postponed to January of the following year.

In 2022, it will be fifty years since “Elvis On Tour” appeared in American cinemas. The film showed Elvis “in his best if not better form than ever in his entire career.” Nevertheless, the film company carefully concealed the footage shot and recorded from the fans.

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Even on the official DVD / Blue Ray released in 2010, there was not a single new scene (however, due to a disagreement with Chuck Berry’s heirs, the opening credits were changed, replacing the original “Johnny B. Goode” with a mix of songs “(Let Me Be Your).” Teddy Bear “and” Don’t Be Cruel “). As a consolation, this year the anniversary set will be available for sale, which will include a total of six CDs, which will contain a recording of all four concerts from April 1972 (recorded for the film) and extensive fragments of the March rehearsals. The addition will be a Blue Ray disc with the movie “On Tour” … in the 2010 version.

Information provided by Mariusz Ogieg?o of Elvis Promised Land (Poland)


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