The original documentary was very well received, since it contained some really new material and it was done in a very tasteful manner. Two versions were available at the time, the "Priscilla"-version and the "George Klein"-version. The second is the most common one and is used for the DVD release too. Part two of this documentary, "The Man And The Music", has been released. A third ("new") volume, "From The Waist Up" presented by U2's Bono, will see the light in July.
The cover design is in the same style as the videos were. For some reason the producers mixed the pictures of the covers around. This second volume has the picture that was on the cover of volume 1 of the original video version, but it matches the content. The 4 page booklet is not very special, but at least there is some information on it, something that is pretty rare with Elvis-releases on DVD.
The DVD itself starts with a language selection, which is done in a pretty stylish way. This goes also for the sound-setup (Dolby 5.1 or original stereo). The main menu gives you the choice between the complete documentary, the songs, the other footage ("Elvis in public and private") and a photo gallery. The songs-section has 3 different sub-menus. Being able to access the songs easily is about the only positive we can say about the DVD-production.
The photo gallery is just a bloody shame. The way the pictures, all stills from the actual documentary, are presented is stylish in a way, but the image quality is so poor that it really hurts your eyes. It's a shame that once again Elvis' work is treated this way. Maybe the fans should stand up and refuse to buy these half-products.
To many the content will be well known, but for those that missed the original documentary, we give a short overview. As said in the introduction, George Klein presents this documentary. He gives you some basic information about Elvis' career, mainly fifties and in short the sixties and seventies. The story is the well known one, the difference with most other biographies is that it is an original "EPE" release and it contains a lot of original Elvis songs. We see Elvis in rare candid footage and from various TV-performances (Allen, Dorsey, '68 Comeback Special", "On Tour" and "Aloha From Hawaii") and press conferences.
Much of the story is told by photos and fifties footage. We always enjoy this nostalgic footage, and there's plenty of that in this documentary. This was a great documentary when it came out, Much of the content has been released before and more complete on other DVD's (e.g. the army material on "The Missing Years" and the TV show appearances). The song selection is again a strong one, a great variation from all era's of his career.
With this kind of material (home made and TV appearances) you'd expect an upgrade of the quality when an old video is transferred to the digital DVD format. Another shame is that the audio isn't synchronic with the video ("Return To Sender"). There was a problem with the audio on volume 1 and we would expect the had a look at volume 2. Basically they just "threw" the video on DVD, without (noticeable) remastering it. Therefore the image quality is way too poor for this medium. Okay, it will not decline further, like the video did, but our video was as least as good, if not better, when we first played it.
If you don't know the documentary, you should definitely get it, but be prepared for the awful production, it's just like a video ...