FTD/ Flaming Star did another co-production. This time they bring a heavy weight by David English and Pal Granlund: The Making of Viva Las Vegas, a book 3CD combination. Is it also a champion in its category?
Awesome, just awesome. I could leave it with that, but I will take some more of your precious time. The 400 page book and the separate CD sleeve are fitted in had hard paperboard box, perfectly worked out. The CD sleeve has an alternate EP-cover, emphasizing that Ann-Margret is also starring, with a shot from the C’mon Everybody scene. The 3 CDs all have the classic Nipper label design.
The book is, as usual, on glossy paper, with a perfect font size and layout, really nothing to complain here! The only unusual is the size, it's on LP format and that really pushes it a level higher.
I could start with the same phrase as the previous section, since the content is awesome too. In the introduction David English gives a short overview of the making of The Making… a lot of work and travelling!
The book is divided in five chapters: Pre-Production, The Soundtrack, On Location – Las Vegas, Return to Hollywood and finally Post Production & Promotion.
The first chapter gives a great insight on the development from story to script to screen. It gives a ton of background information on the writers, but also informs us on contracts, supposed songs. Many shots of Ann-Margret during dressing and make-up tests, those are always welcome.
Pieces of interviews are used as if Ann-Margret recollects her memory of the evens, nicely done!
Ernst Jorgensen gives some comments on the Soundtrack sessions, while all songs are listed with the takes and there’s also background information on the songwriters and comments by other people involved in the movie or recordings. The Soundtrack chapter is chopped in pieces that are put in there chronological place.
A lot of the pictures in the On Location in Las Vegas section shows that Elvis and Ann-Margret were more than just colleagues. There a many, many photos I have never seen before and several newspaper and magazine clippings give a complete picture of the happening.
The Return to Hollywood gives many shots of the (rehearsing of) the C’mon Everybody sequence, a pure delight, again with a lot of background information. The Post-Production chapter gives many related record covers and movie posters from all over the world.
The CDs are a nice addition, the mono soundtrack on CD is welcome. I’m still one of those that think the mono version of the title track sounds better than the stereo version. I have to admit I would never notice the lack of quality control mentioned earlier in the news and when you just play the CD you will probably neither.
The second CD (Memphis, Tennessee – The 1963 album) is very nice, a nice collection of songs with Elvis vocally at his top. The third CD is not really my piece of cake, but it was fun to give it a spin or two.
This production is a heavy weight champion! The ultimate work on one of the few Elvis movies worth watching, eleven out of ten stars.