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Premiere That's The Way It Is - New Edition

By Ian MackayAug 14, 2000
We found this review of the That's The Way It Is premiere and it was written so enthusiastically that we simply had to add it to this weeks edition. It's a long, song by song review, written after having experienced the preview.

Please don't read this if you don't love TTWII - please don't read it if you don't know what you're talking about - piss off and flame someone - this is for the fans.

Apologies for the confused commentary. My mind is blown. I no longer know what's on the original movie, what's on the original album, what's on The Lost Performances, what's on the new TTWII CD - nothing - my mind is a blank. They look like new angles but they may not be - the whole movie looks totally different. Almost 100% of the songs are totally different.

Opening shots - MGM - Then Metro Goldwyn Mayer in dots - Cinemascope - digitally remastered - surround sound - what a bloody sound.



Mystery Train - Vegas background, audience stills from Phoenix I think but Vegas and into Tiger Man - James solo. Audience shot of gorgeous blonde woman that looks like Sandi Miller. Loads of strobe. Song ends - karate kick. Screen goes black.

Then straight into the Ronnie jungle intro to the That's All Right concert start except we're now into the roof shot of driving in to MGM - same pictures I think but one shot from inside the car - walks in to the studio then we see him coming in the door, shaking hands with the security guard - looks all new to me. Greets the camera, looks like God, talking to Charlie and Joe about You Don't Have To Say You Love Me, looking at acetates. Listening to The Next Step Is Love - looking fab then - on comes the first of many explanatory titles explaining the rehearsal and giving the date and place - in a modern typeface - you'll love it - it tells people what's going on - what a bloody good idea!


Elvis singing along with himself un-miked to Bridge Over Troubled Water. James and Ronnie digging it - obviously acetates from the June sessions. "These are the same guys etc." Still singing along to You Don't Have To Say You Love Me - great hands at the end. Again into a restart of the song, still no mike - claps his hands and singing along to himself. Charlie pretends to tune up with John and Elvis picks up the mike - cuts.

Talking "we don't know these songs" etc.

That's All Right - not from the start with the towel on the stool - great angles really shows him in with the band - tight. Shakes like hell during a James solo - gets a few screams from the Orpheum audience. Totally different angles and close-ups - great. Mike falls down - what a surprise but it still gets a few laughs. Drops his guitar and tells us the mike just gave up.

Polk Salad Annie arm movements, as before - into the split pants routine.

Then the first of a few fabby five seconds clips of Elvis and the guys eating - speeded up film used to great effect.


Into How The Web Was Woven - as before at the piano. John looking, not for the first time, like he's confused and in awe at the same time. Falls off stool - surprise.

Straight into Little Sister/Get Back as per the CD. Shocked the hell out of me. Again - great wide shot of the band - Jerry just looks so great - with Charlie in it this time. Great shot of his foot that got them screaming.

Into Words - rehearsal - just Glen - talking about the singers being retarded when coming in - great close-ups. Then into the full band with the mike - as before but, again it looks like different angles - Ronnie finish with the bass drum when he sits down - as before.

Walks out with Richard and Joe - it explains Joe as his "confidant" in the titles. On to the tandem (who's won the tandem then?" Just E and Joe - same shots I think but with My Baby Left Me as backing (obvious where Ernst had his hand in this - credited by Rick twice - he's carefully chosen some great incidental music and no doubt much of the other stuff). Through the door and back into rehearsal - My Baby Left Me continues - longer shots of Elvis with upturned glasses - finishes the song, throws his towel into the air and Ronnie throws his stick backwards in unison.

So you may ask - where is Crying Time? Well, here it comes - all standing round the piano - Richard, Joe, Jerry, Charlie, Elvis, John, all singing - Glen playing - camera goes up over the piano lid. James conducting - maybe Joe's not singing. Towel in the air again and Elvis has a swig from a bottle as he walks away.


Into Love Me on stool with towel and Elvis pretends to give the mike a blowjob - screams again. The look on his face - he knows what he's done. Falls off stool - surprise - and asks Ronnie if "we're on tempo".

Then a brilliant close-up, looking mean, moody and sexy - serious - talking to Denis Sanders - I won't spoil the joke for you but it leads into a masterly cut.

Ceiling shot from the Hilton suite and the Sweets, Millie and the Imperials rehearsing You Don't Have To Say You Love Me. Into Twenty Days and Twenty Nights after some paper shuffling and - Felton! Just sitting their smoking, talking to the singers and doing his job- he just looks ace - in charge - it explains his role on the titles and it's a real plus - at last people will know what the fuck is going on - now we know how this masterpiece Elvis Vegas show came together.

Charlie in harmony beside Elvis - both reading the words- bit of a laugh and one of them - Elvis, I think, goes way off key. Gets feedback - Imperials still look like they've bought their glasses from the Pink Shops. Terry Blackwood explained to me afterwards that although he was 28 at the time, he kept getting stopped in the casino for looking under 21 - he just looks like someone's wee brother in for the day.

Again - I won't spoil this bit for you by describing the song fully but it's Rick, the supreme cutter at work - he's turned what Sanders stuck together in a half-arsed way into a thing of beauty showing professionals at work - you'll love it and for me it's one of the highlights of the movie.

Another 5 second speeded-up clips of Vegas and the International and in walks Elvis through the door after completing LA rehearsals. Shakes hands with Felton - god I love that man and into the Gee Gee discussion with the Sweets.

Bridge Over Troubled Water rehearsal with the singers and it's now coming together - we get it now - we know what's going on - the Rhythm section first, then with the vocalists too - it makes sense at last although we get another well-placed explanation. Elvis the Producer really coming to the fore here - he's in charge now much more than before - much longer with Elvis directing the band and singers - getting frustrated, encouraging - showing the man at work - the main objective of the Special Edition. Really showing his dry sense of humor here and again, I won't tell you the joke. Big Moscheo sideburns in great close-up. Bridge Over Troubled Water is given its full time allotment - a lot more than before and rightly so - great segment.

Cattle Call follows and what a scream this is with the Sweets joining in as a unit. Takes a drink and announces he's going to Yodel. Into The Happy Yodeller, I think and Ronnie and James get into the speeded-up version - what a scream this is.

Santa Claus Is Back In Town from the new CD with screwed up words although he's reading them - in July? Sexy as hell - you'll love the close-ups. "If you don't behave your goddam self, your Santa Claus just ain't gonna be hanging round" as the camera pans to John looking utterly confused again. Glen great work, sounding like a bluesman and then into a classic shot of James looking equally confused. Ronnie is the only one who looks like he knows what he's doing "You be a good little girl this year" - ends on Glen.

No gap - into Words and then another masterly cut and we're on the stage of the International with an explanation
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