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Elvis: His Best Friend Remembers (Full Screen) [Import]
Essentially an illustrated interview with longtime Elvis buddy Joe Esposito, Elvis: His Best Friend Remembers is meant for the hardcore Elvis fan only. Esposito met Presley in the Army and stayed a member of the "Memphis Mafia" for the rest of the King's life (and death--his account of finding Elvis's body is by far the most interesting part of the interview). Esposito's memories are cozy and sanitized; in his telling, the news that Elvis gave Tom Jones his first peanut butter sandwich while on vacation in Hawaii qualifies as a fascinating anecdote. Random footage from newsreels and various Presley press conferences is cut into the interview, along with a lot of vintage '60s Polaroids. As befits the bargain-basement ambience, there's not a single note of Elvis music to be heard. --Robert Horton
40 minutes of DVD extras include more comments from Joe Esposito (including the details of how he met Elvis, which should have been in the main program), with the added appeal of original news broadcasts from the day Elvis died: David Brinkley's national report and a Memphis station's reassuring statement that "drugs were not the cause" of Presley's death. Best of all, there's an interview with the man who originated the phrase "Ladies and gentlemen, Elvis has left the building," truly a great pop-culture footnote. --Robert Horton
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Top Customer Reviews
Still, it is refreshing to view a kinder portrait of Elvis by someone close to him instead of the vitriol dished out by West, & Co in their book written by Steve Dunleavy. Elvis deserves better, and so do his fans, so if you're looking for the more sensationlistic Elvis information, you won't find it in this DVD.
It is interesting to note that a few years back, Joe Esposito was embroiled in a battle with EP Enterprises (read: Priscilla), who tried to force him to surrender his private collection of movies and photos of Elvis he'd taken over the years. Perhaps this DVD is the result of a compromise that was reached.
It seems Elvis had [three] best friends, [songwriter / actor / bodyguard] Red West, Gospel-C & W star/musical mentor Charlie Hodge, and Mr. Esposito. That's okay, I'm just surprised that these other names are mostly vacant from the proceedings. [Historians-fans check out Charlie's good video "The Elvis I Knew", Decker Television, 1994].
Joe does not dwell on Elvis 1960s' commercial slump nor his 1970s' personal struggles. Just once I'd love to hear how a creative force like Presley managed to deal with bad picture after bad picture. Esposito simply says they were escapist endeavours, and that's that - one must assume that the "Star Is Born" rejection by The Colonel was an issue with Elvis and his closest companions. The stars' prescription drug problem has been recounted enough by now, though, so the program does not suffer by lack of address to it.
The tape runs 130 minutes with about 20 unnecessary minutes. The narrative runs chronologically about to the point it should close, but suddenly we're going back in time again, and then we are treated to some dedicated (to say the least) cameos with Elvis imitators and other ardent supporters. So J.E. gives them their "15" minutes of fame. Why not?
Ofcourse there are areas of Presley's life which many find still mysterious - his actual law enforcement credentials and the reportedly planned Grand Jury proceedings to take place on/prior to 08-15-1977 relevant to the idea that Vernon and Elvis Presley were victims of [trick]. (...)
I have seen most of Elvis's movies and biographical movies such as "This is Elvis," "Elvis, That's The Way it Is" and "Elvis On Tour," which I love and highly recommend. This, however, for the first time, allowed me to find out intimate, private details that I never would have known about otherwise.
Joe tells so many interesting tidbits and answers some questions I've always wondered about all these years. I also appreciate the fact that Joe was Elvis's friend from the time they met in the Army until Elvis's death. He was loyal and never turned his back on Elvis. You can tell Joe really loved Elvis and Elvis's family and we should feel honored that he allowed us to get a glimpse into their most private lives. This is a very sentimental and at times funny glimpse into Elvis's private life, while always staying tasteful as Joe never says anything negative about Elvis's family and friends. I have a lot of respect for him after watching this film. Elvis was lucky to have such a trustworthy and loyal friend!
There is also a touching tribute song to Elvis towards the end that I thought was beautiful and Joe's touching recollection of Elvis's death really broke my heart. You won't be disappointed by this DVD if you love Elvis they way I do!!!!
At the beginning of each chapter, Esposito sits on a couch in front of a fireplace to give his two cents about the following set of photos. His stories are shallow and uninsightful into the life of the King. How many times does he have to say how patriotic and good looking Elvis was? Duh! It would have been much better if he did a scripted voiceover instead and you didn't see him at all.
Cheesy muzak plays in the background. I know this video is unofficial, but come on, how about at least some exciting generic rock'n'roll tunes instead? He and the sappy muzak became more annoying after each chapter.
There was also no rhyme or reason to the organization of the chapters. At one moment he's talking about his service days with Elvis, then it jumps to Vegas, then to his 68 Comeback special and then to his movies.
This DVD is worthwhile to the die-hard collector for some of the photos and video clips, but I would have rather seen them in any other Elvis documentary than having to wade through this one.
Most recent customer reviews
A special, intimate look to the person and the artist Elvis Presley with many unseen footage and pictures from the artist of the century..... A must for every Elvis-Fan!!!!Published on Aug. 5 2003 by Jean-Marc Vannier
The title suggested that this dvd would portray an intimate glimpse into the personal life of Elvis through the remembrances of his best friend. Read morePublished on Dec 25 2002 by D. Jones
This was the first video where I've seen alot of Elvis and Priscilla together. I think they really must have a had a very special relationship. I really enjoyed it. Read morePublished on Nov. 28 2002
out of all the documentarys available about elvis, this one tops them all,i've got over 20 documentary dvds about elvis and his life and i can honestly say that i've enjoyed this... Read morePublished on Oct. 2 2002 by mr s a reddan
Even though some of the DVD was a bit unorginazed. I thought that this was a great DVD anyway. He talks about being in Germany up to the time of Elvis' death. Read morePublished on Aug. 29 2002 by P. J Parrish
Forget all the other documentaries about Elvis - Joe Esposito was there for it all! He tells the truth, shows great photos and video - and is honest about life (19 years) with... Read morePublished on Aug. 27 2002
Thank you Mr. Esposito for making this DVD. I would recommend this DVD to any Elvis fan. Mr. Esposito shows the very human side to a very large KING. Read morePublished on Aug. 22 2002 by Sibylle Basel