Blu-ray Review: Elvis: That’s The Way It Is

Elvis Presley died in August of 1977. I was born in May of 1978. So there is no way I was ever going to have a chance to see him in concert. Watching this concert film from 1970 makes me wish I was born several years earlier so that I could have attended one of these concerts.

That’s The Way it is isn’t just a concert film. It begins by showing Elvis and his musical team during their rehearsal stage. This is really interesting as it gives the viewer an insight into the more casual Elvis. He comes off as a funny and goofy guy that seems like he’d be a lot of fun to hang out with. You watch as the band practices a few songs then they go to the next stage by bringing in the backup singers and getting them on the same page.

Finally, after about a half hour of this we get to the concert, which is Elvis at his prime. He gets out there and he sells every song he performs. During “Love Me Tender” he wanders through the audience kissing every girl that comes near him. Dozens of women run from their seats in hopes of being one of these lucky ladies.

This Blu-ray release gives you two versions of the film. The original 1970 film with a running time of 95 minutes and the 2001 special edition that runs 13 minutes longer. The song line up is quite different. The annoying part is that not every song in the 1970 version is included in the 2001 version. I understand adding more songs, but why would they take songs out? It makes it so you have to watch both versions in order to get all the songs.

Regardless, Elvis: That’s The Way It Is is a great concert film that gives all of those who never had a chance to “The King” live a glimpse into how amazing a stage performer he really was. There was a reason Elvis was and still is “The King”, and that reason is wonderfully represented here.

The film is presented in 2.4:1 widescreen and Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround sound. This is a great looking film. The transfer on this Blu-ray is fantastic.

You get Patch It Up: The Restoration of Elvis: That’s The Way It Is: (9 min.), a great look at the changes and updates to the new version of the film, and Twelve Song and Non-Musical outtakes (35 min.) For some of those moments lost from the 1970 film to the 2001 film, they are included here with some other things as well. The best being his rendition of “Sweet Caroline” I have no idea why they cut this from the 2001 edition. Also there is no “play all for these” which is kind of annoying.

I really enjoyed watching this Elvis concert film, and look forward to watching it again. You should too.

Warner Bros. presents Elvis: That’s The Way It Is. Directed by: Denis Sanders. Starring: Elvis Presley. Running time: 95 minutes (1970) 108 minutes (2001) Rating: G (1970) PG (2001). Released: August 12, 2014.

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