After the book and the video we now have the DVD on a 1956 summer love between Elvis and June and the beginning of Elvis' career.
The package has a good design, although they used a horrible picture of Elvis and June. Elvis looks scared (like he’s on the first carnival act of the Colonel, chickens on a hot plate) and June doesn’t look into the camera. It looks like they colorized and edited a photograph from the book, making Elvis looking into the camera in stead of to the right like he does on the original photograph. Watching the documentary there are so many much better pictures of the couple, why didn't they use one of those?
The DVD has an neat animated menu and is easy to navigate. Besides the documentary we get some bonus material. The extended interviews run for about four minutes and the photo gallery contains 9 photos. The Home movie out-takes and personal snapshots and clippings from June’s scrapbook aren’t present in the bonus section as announced on the cover. They are present in the documentary of course.
This documentary kind of tells two stories. We see the love story between Elvis and June and in the background the rise to national fame of Elvis in the summer of 56 with his first national No. 1 hit ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ and his famous T.V. appearances.
For us this DVD was the first look at this footage this complete. Watching it we can only say that this set contains great footage, including some very short fragments of Elvis performing in the early fifties that we haven’t seen in other documentaries and of course a lot of footage and photos of Elvis and June relaxing. It paints a great picture of family fun in the fifties.
Most extensive is the footage of two fishing trips that the couple (and their parents) made. You see Elvis feeling free and not worrying too much about the footage being shot. He felt so free he didn’t mind being filmed with his friends wearing SS officers caps making the ‘Sieg Heil’ greeting. A friend of June’s father, captain of the boat, had brought those caps home as a souvenir from World War II and they wore those caps to protect themselves from the sun at sea.
Again, Elvis felt very free this summer, perhaps a bit carefree too. After a short appearance at the shoe store of the boat owner he got a gun. Later we see Elvis and his friend playing around with it. They brought out some kind of airgun and we see how somebody tried to shoot a piece of paper out of Elvis’ hand. Fortunately they did’t hit the hand which was set to perform for the next twenty years.
During the documentary we see the romance bloom, see the couple enjoy spending time together but also see how the rise of Elvis career (and his many co-stars and girlfriends) and the burden on his life that broke them up. June Juanico talks openly about the summer she spent with Elvis and doesn’t look back in anger on breaking up with Elvis. She keep the great memories she had.
This documentary is a nice addition to any collection. It contains some great footage of Elvis on stage and a lot of footage of Elvis enjoying himself to full extend, still feeling free, something not caught on film very often afterwards.