The previous edition of the official Graceland tour DVD was produced in 2000. Even in a house where nobody lives any more, things can change in eight year: time for a revamped version. We’ve watched this DVD in premiere and must say that it is an absolute must-have. While the old release came out on one disc with a total running time of 60 min., we now have 2 discs with over 140 min. The quality of the footage is crystal clear and the soundtrack is mixed in the high quality 5.1 Dolby Digital format. When we visit the music room, we hear a moving instrumental version of ‘How Great Thou Art’ and when the narrator tells about the passing of Elvis’ mother, we hear an emotional female voice humming ‘Amazing Grace’ through the back speakers. De documentary starts with a technical gimmick: a collage of famous pictures are rendered in 3D so it looks like they are ‘moving’. It’s hard to explain in words, but the effect looks awesome!
Before we enter the mansion, there is some pre-history of Graceland and Elvis’ rise to stardom. The guided tour in the house is combined with footage from important moments in Elvis’ life.
When the front door closes behind us, the camera looks upstairs – the forbidden area for visitors. EPE is well aware that fans are anxious to know more about the second floor. Eventually, we see a shot from the top of the stairs, ending at a closed door…what follows is a nice 3D animation of the second floor, made from the blue prints. We got a virtual look upstairs in all the rooms and learn about their function.
Each room that is open to the public is narrated in detail. We see different views from angles that you don’t have as a visitor. This gives us some interesting surprises: under the table in the dining room is a buzzer at Elvis seat, so he could call somebody from the kitchen in complete discretion. In one of the kitchen drawers, we get a look of the acts of Lisa-Marie as a child: she carved her name in the wood. The items that are on the night stand next to Gladys bed are from her purse, at the time she passed away and the lamp above the pool table is broken from behind due to a ‘lost’ billiard bal. Such facts are spread all over the DVD, together with never before seen pictures of various interiors during the years.
After we have visited the mansion, we go back to the foyer to have a quick look at the rooms during Christmas time. We leave the house for a while for a brief overlook of the car museum and the two planes and go back to the trophy room and the racquetball building where we can see the complete second floor for the first time with the dressing room, Jacuzzi and bath room.
Whenever you bring a visit to the Meditation Garden, Elvis’ grave site is always covered with lots of flowers, cards and souvenirs. It’s a strange sight in these shots when you see that the lawn is completely empty and there is only one white rose on each grave. De documentary ends with an overview of the activities around Graceland and Elvis after 1977 with emotional footage of the Candlelight Vigil.
The second disc contains over 60 min of bonus footage in 4 chapters
Graceland in the Snow (15:24)
Footage from January 1958 with Graceland under a large coat of snow. This is the known footage of Elvis’ parents walking around in the snow and driving around in the pink Caddy. This time, the footage is complete.
A Fan’s Home Movies of Elvis (19:35)
Some of these shots are included on various DVDs (Elvis during horseback riding, talking with the fans at the gates …), but know collected in its total. The footage was shot by one fan and donated to Graceland. Filmed between 1968 and 1970.
‘Home from The Army’ Press Conference (16:04)
The famous press conference from March 7, 1960 when Elvis returned back from the army.
‘Graceland Archives’ (14:13)
Probably the most interesting item on this disc is this extended tour of the Graceland Archives by Angie Marchese, director of archives. In the past, we had some sneak peeks in this building, but it’s always interesting and fascinating to see the lady with the white gloves opening another box full of surprises. Once again, this proves that there are still hundreds of documents and pictures in the archives that are never seen by fans. We can see the blue prints for a recording studio that was never build, the plan was cancelled and the racquetball building was build on the location. Another large box is stuffed with items that the Presley’s took with them when they moved from Tupelo, we see a postcard from Vernon that he wrote to his wife and son when he was in jail. Probably each fan will want to take a look in the files with documents for the preparation of the august 1977 tour…the tour that never was…
The production of this DVD was the last project that Todd Morgan was working on before he passed away. This DVD is dedicated to his memory. With this item, Todd leaves a great legacy to all fans! An absolute must-have!
Format: Region Free
Subtitles: English / Spanish / French / German / Nihongo