The European edition of this 16 hour DVD set is presented in a very attractive package. In a slipcase with a classic Elvis on stage shot we find a 4 dvd digipack fold out with four panels.
The main colour is black and each panel contains one image of Elvis. The bad thing is they colourized the images into a vague blue and the quality of the photos is poor. Even though the package contains a shiny layer this could havebeen done much better.
The content of the Dutch edition is the same as the US edition, only each DVD contains four documentaries in stead of two and has Dutch and French subtitles.
This series gives a very good overview of Elvis Presley’s life, there’s no doubt about it. As a matter of fact to many it will be too much. 16 hours of documentary is a lot. Elvis' story is told in film clips, home movies, performance footage and interviews with 200-plus friends, relatives, lovers and colleagues. Among them are Connie Stevens, Ann-Margret, Jackie DeShannon, Patti Page, Carl Perkins, Donovan, Ed McMahon, Glen Campbell, Juliet Prowse, Neil Sedaka, Pat Boone, Roy Orbison, Steve Allen, Mac Davis, Dick Clark and "Memphis Mafia" confidante Joe Esposito, who serves as the project's executive consultant. There is a lot of repetition in both the interviews and the decoration material available. On the other hand, not many people will watch the whole thing immediately, like we did for review purposes.
Each documentary is dedicated to a special subject regarding Elvis’ personal life (e.g. Elvis & Priscilla, the spiritual soul of Elvis), his career (The Comeback, Hollywood Years) and his fans. Looking at the long list of people who were interviewed for this release we were wondering how the result would be. Looking at that result, spread over sixteen documentaries, it worked out very well.
Locations range from Sun Records, Presley's Circle G Horse Ranch and the movie theater that employed him as a youngster to his favorite Palm Springs restaurants, Elvis wedding chapels in Las Vegas, Los Angeles movie studios and Nashville's Grand Ole Opry.
Gladly the career dominates the series by far. The DVD’s contain very rare footage, but unfortunately there’s a lot of duplication of some of it. You’ll see it returning in several episodes. Also there is some strange overdubbing done with the sound. Sometimes that is very understandable and fitting (Houston ’74 footage with sound of Event #8), but other times it seems unnecessary. Like with the footage, there is some duplication in interviews too. Again, not everybody will watch the series completely immediately, like we did and probably that is the reason we sound more negative than the series deserves.
The episodes themselves are set up pretty good, with interviews with people who were actually there (D.J. Fontana, Steve Binder, Ann-Margret and Joe Esposito to name a few) and other celebrities (Kenny Rogers, Bill Medley). The fact that 1 hour is spend for the first 6 years of movies, and all other movies are compressed in another hour, shows that the producers have a good feeling for proportion. One of the highlights is without any doubt the episode about the Comeback, with very interesting interviews and background information. Too many of us it isn’t really new, but it is marvelous to see it told by those who were involved. Also we are sure that the episodes about The Memphis Years, Television Years and Las Vegas will be enjoyed by many. Rare pictures and footage are always candy for the eye and when the interviews have more than average information the picture (DVD) is complete.
DVD 1 contains - The Memphis years - The television years - The Hollywood years 1956/1962 - The Hollywood years 1962/1969.
DVD 2 contains - The army years - The comeback special - The Las Vegas years - Elvis and the Colonel.
DVD 3 contains - Elvis and Priscilla - The intimate loves of Elvis - The many loves of Elvis - The Memphis mafia.
DVD 4 contains - Elvis/the man and his music - The spiritual soul of Elvis - The day the music died/Elvis is gone - All the Kings disciples/impersonators and Fans.
This set is a very complete overview of Elvis’ life. After buying this set you don’t need any other Elvis documentaries since most aspects of Elvis’ life and career are present and told by those who were there. Between the interviews you get a lot of original footage, not (often) seen in other releases.