This documentary was originally released in 2007. This new blu-ray disc consists of outtakes of the rehearsals, minted from newly found master tapes, followed by the concert itself, also minted from a new master.
From the outtakes of the rehearsals, we got a glimpse into how exact every note is taken in Elvis’s concert. Elvis paid attention to every note of each song. It was funny to see his small microphone attached to the pole actually “wilted” during his singing of “That’s Alright, Mama” during the rehearsal. You also get to see the back-up groups (male: Imperials and female: Sweet Inspirations) performed in a separate room while Elvis was singing in another room. One appreciates how exact every song was performed. It is also nice to see his guitarist James Burton up close. He is one of my favourite guitarists, next to Hank Marvin of the Shadows.
The concert followed continuously after the outtakes. Before the concert, you got a glimpse of many celebrities, such as Juliet Prowse, Cary Grant, Xavier Cugat and his wife Charro. This concert was filmed in July 1970 at the International Hotel in Las Vegas, consisting of performances from 6 different nights. The connections were quite seemless, unless you paid special attention to Elvis’s costume or the amount of sweat on his chest. I have compiled a song listing of the concert which is as follows:
01 That’s Alright, Mama
02 I Got A Woman
03 Hound Dog
04 Heartbreak Hotel
05 Love Me Tender (lots of kisses from Elvis to all the ladies)
06 I Can’t Stop Loving You
07 Just Pretend
08 The Wonder of You
09 In The Ghetto
10 Patch It Up
11 You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’
12 Polk Salad Annie
13 One Night
14 Don’t Be Cruel
15 Blue Suede Shoes
16 All Shook Up
17 You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me
18 Suspicious Minds
19 Can’t Help Falling In Love
Elvis was in top form. (Concert: 5+/5)
That’s The Way It Is arrives on blu-ray with MPEG-4 AVC @ 20.95 Mpbs 1080p 2.40:1 encode on a BD-25 disc. Shame on you, Warner Brothers for such low bit-rate count and not using a BD-50 disc. The quality of both the outtakes and the concert was actually quite good. Apparently, the outtakes for the DVD were atrocious. I appreciate the use of 2.40:1 so that the entire picture filled my 12-foot wide screen (using anamorphic lens). I also appreciate that subtitles, even for the songs, are included. For old-timer like myself, this is really helpful. But be careful, half of it is outside the picture. Fortunately with my new Oppo-103 BD player, I could adjust the position of the subtitles. The colour was quite saturated. There are quite a bit of details, like the hair on Elvis’s chest. For a video 44 years old, I have no complaint. (4/5)
That’s The Way It Is arrives on blu-ray with DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio track. The sound is very well remastered. Elvis’s voice is centred, surrounded by James Burton’s guitar on the right front channel, the back-up singers on the right lateral channel, while the string and horn section was on the left. There was very little surround activity. Dialogue is very clear. Every little grunt by Elvis was clearly recorded. It was simply a very well recorded concert. (4/5)
The entire concert, including outtakes of rehearsals, is totally enjoyable. Finally, we have the high definition treatment of That’s The Way It Is – and it is fit for our King. And the price of $14.99 is definitely right too. Very highly recommended.
Lastly, be careful when you read the reviews. Amazon.ca has the habit of putting old reviews of DVD from 2004 into the blu-ray section. Also, when I typed in the title Elvis Presley That’s the Way It Is – the expensive import 2001 edition blu ray came up. I have to search to find this $14.99 item. Be careful.
on April 26, 2003
Fantastic, Super, Dazzling. This 90 minutes of concert and behind the scenic footage is breath taking. It is 1970 and Elvis has a Vegas tour planned, he has finished his movie contract and has been reborn more mature, thanks to his 68 comeback. 'That's the way it is' captures Elvis' charisma, talent and amazing voice, it is totally re-cut and restored by Rick Schmidlin (Greed, Touch of Evil). It is basically split into two parts - off and on stage. The off stage section follows Elvis in the MGM studios and his endearing clowning around through the Vegas warm up and the show itself. And what a show! It shows Elvis at the height of his carer holding the audience spellbound. There is a variety of songs (full list of songs below) incorporating R & B, Blues, Country and of course Rock & Roll. There are touching and spin tingling versions of You've lost that loving feeling and You don't have to say you love me. But naturally all the songs are outstanding. In conclusion I think even if Elvis hadn't had any of his movies, no previous concerts and no fame what so ever, just this - he would still be the King.
The full song list -
That's all right
Little sister/Get back
My baby left me
Twenty days and twenty nights
Bridge over troubled water
Santa Claus is back in town
Mary in the morning
Mystery train/Tiger Man
That's all right
I got a woman
Love me tender
I can't stop loving you
The wonder of you
In the ghetto
Patch it up
You've lost that loving feeling
Polk salad Annie
Don't be cruel
Blue suede shoes
All shook up
You don't have to say you love
Can't help falling in love
on May 14, 2001
In another classic example of RCA/MGM's attempts to give fans only portions of songs and performances, this DVD, while adding new concert footage, also cuts several songs from the original film. Why? You have to feel somewhat insulted by the fact that the DVD version still features a nervous Elvis talking about forgetting the lyrics to "I Just Can't Help Believin'," and then doesn't include the song! It's almost insulting.
We all know DVD is capable of much longer footage, yet this release barely outruns the original. Even songs that are included in the original are cut for this version, such as the shortened and sadly missing "Hut-two-three-four, I learned that in the army" seque in "Polk Salad Annie." They could have included everything here, they simply chose not to. Probably so that a "special, special edition" can be released later, or for a new product named "Elvis Live In Las Vegas," for which we'll all have to shell out another $...
Put this together with the original concert footage, include the original version on Side 2 of the DVD (which they're perfectly capable of doing) and you've got something. But why do that when they figure no one will know the difference?
on September 23, 2002
If you have the original version of this great film, in whatever format, hold on to it! This is not the original movie!! I love Elvis and I love "Elvis: That's The Way It Is." But this new release is such a butcher job, depressing me so much that afterwards I had to watch the original to set things straight. Everything that made this film such a unique in-depth look is gone. A look not only at the King, but the whole Vegas scene at that time. Keep in mind that Elvis' return to live performance was as much anticipated by the celebrity world as it was for average fans. The feel of that is lost in this edited version. Sure, raw footage of Presley is always great to watch, but that's all there is here. Instead of a thorough, complete documentation of an event, we're left with nothing more than a bunch of videos strung together with no apparent relationship. And that's okay, but it's not what I bought this DVD for. Yes, many songs are gone, but the interviews were important, too. That's what makes a documentary, folks! I missed seeing all the preparation at the International Hotel leading up to the moment, and prepare they did. The souvenirs they sold for pocket change are now worth hundreds, if not priceless. I like that history aspect, cut out of the new release, of course. One scene I was particularly disappointed to see cut was the beautiful montage of casino lights on the Vegas strip, underscored by a smooth bluesy rendition of "Heartbreak Hotel." What a sin! "Elvis: That's The Way It Is" was done right the first time, in 1970, and it still works for me. If it ain't broke, don't fix it!!!
on January 12, 2004
This DVD of Elvis's times in Vegas is unbelievable. I am in awe when I watch it. So much better than the VHS version obviously because of the picture and 5.1 sound. On my bigscreen and home theatre system, it's almost as if I am there in concert. This is a must have for any Elvis fan. What is good about this DVD is that it is all rehersal and concert. Gone is the fan and other footage from the original.
on February 4, 2004
Elvis Thats The Way It Is in this Special Edition of the legendary Las Vegas concert shot in 1970. This movie goes in the studio with Elvis and back-stage. I have seen all the live Elvis movies and nothing can compare to this one. This DVD is Restored, remixed, it focuses on a new look at Elvis Presley. The sound is out of this world its way better than the orginal the cameras keep rolling their is not a missed piece of footage. This is a must have for an Elvis Presley fan I enjoyed this and so will you so what are you waiting for go buy this!!!!!
on April 12, 2001
The remastering is excellent, but I prefer the original film. Some of my favorite performances are missing (like BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER) as well as ALL the interviews. And how do you access all the extra songs that are supposedly included? I can't find them anywhere! Try to find the original version before it disappears!
on March 6, 2003
Superb effort went into this project. The "Special Edition" is in every possible way, a major improvement over the original release.
Digitally restored, the picture is crystal clear and brilliant. The film has also been re-edited from its original format, which contained interviews with talking heads, EP fans and impersonators, and entirely too little of Elvis. Now, "Elvis: That's The Way It Is" contains lots of extra (in fact, nothing but) footage of Elvis rehearsing, performing, and interacting with folks, including many previously deleted scenes and performances that greatly enhance the impact of the film. Why they cut this stuff out the first time is beyond me.
The movie still serves as a Documentary, but basically presents the events of Elvis rehearsing, pre-show jitters, and then the performance (filmed over 6 shows), intended to give viewers the experience of watching the "ultimate Elvis concert."
Did I mention the sound? They actually took the trouble to find the original 16 track reels and have completely digitally remastered it. The sound is fantastic! This is one of those DVDs you could simply put in and LISTEN TOO.
Elvis is at the top of his game - he's in fantastic shape and his vocals and the band sound great. What a performer! What a show! What a Legend.
This DVD does real justice to the King and presents and preserves his musical legacy.
on February 15, 2003
After the '68 TV special I'd grown curious about the "movie" Elvis again and when this came out was eager to see him in a realistic format instead of the unwatchable '9 songs, 1 fight, Elvis gets the girl' formula with him singing crap like "Do the Clam." If you want to see the "Elvis, That's the Way It Is" that you saw in the movies, this is not it. Unlike some reviewers here, I liked the original better, with more interviews and preparations for the show to go with the stage performance(s). Neither version is up to his efforts on the '68 TV special, especially the separately released "Elvis: One Night With You", my favorite Elvis video performance. In Vegas, Elvis singing "covers" of Paul Simon and Bee Gee's songs told a lot of us that something was amiss...in a way this documents the beginning of the end. Here's The Show before the whole thing went south, with Elvis working his butt off to move in a new way and capture a different audience. If you want to hear him at his best, get the Sun Label CD. If you want to see the original movie with the same title as this one, look elsewhere. If you want to understand why he started Rock & Roll, get "Elvis '56" and "Elvis: One Night With You." And if you are mildly puzzled about why he sings "One Night With You" with a feeling and power the lyrics don't merit, give "One Night Of Sin" on "Reconsider Baby" a listen!
on January 8, 2003
I have been an Elvis Presley fan since I was 6 years old. I was only 6 1/2 months old when he passed away. I'm not really sure how it all began, but what I do remember is being very young and seeing this man on TV in a white jumpsuit with a fringy belt dancing and singing. There was something about him that absolutely mesmerized me, even at that age. I realize now that what I was seeing was some part of the original That's The Way It Is film. Now, at 25, I have seen that film dozens and dozens of times and as I got older I would fast-forward through the creepy fan interviews, hotel preparations for the show, and other things just so I could get to the music.
When I first decided to view the New Edition I really didn't know what to expect. I had heard that they cut back on the interviews and added some new things. I really wasn't expecting my viewing experience to be any different than it was with the original version. I can honestly say that I was astonished, in a good way. Not only was I extremely glad that they cut out everything that didn't have to do with the music I was excited that they added additional rehearsal footage. I had become so used to seeing the original that I never truly realized just HOW fantastic he was. I felt an excitement that I never felt with the original, a joy that now, finally, THIS is how he was meant to be seen. I can't even begin to tell you how many Elvis videos, cassettes, and tapes I own, that when I view or listen to them there are no surprises for me. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy them but nothing ever struck me as being very different among them. Plus, with an almost constant repetition of listening and viewings you always forget how great some of it was.
This new edition totally changed that. In all my 19 years of loving him I have NEVER seen him in this way. I kid you not, I almost felt like I was THERE. I felt the urge to scream, laugh, cry, clap, you name it. I am really, really pleased at this new restoration. I have seen many reviews now saying that people who could care less about Elvis or were never fans became, after viewing this, people who WERE fans.
It is a shame that most people now, when you mention Elvis, automatically think of spangled jumpsuits and heavy weight. This is all they associate with Elvis when you mention the 1970's. How wrong they are. Elvis was at the TOP in this film. Thin as a rake, gorgeous, handsome, sexy, he's got the moves, his voice is at the absolute height of his ability here. If you want to talk about charisma, this man had it, people. It's there in the rehearsal footage and it's there in BUCKETS in the concert footage.
I could go on and on but I think by this point you understand what I'm saying. THIS IS A MUST-SEE!