Elvis: That’s the Way It Is

Elvis: That’s the Way It Is

Elvis: That’s the Way It Is is a documentary movie directed by Denis Sanders about Elvis Presley that was released on November 11, 1970. The film documents Elvis’ Summer Festival in Las Vegas during August 1970. It was his first non-dramatic film since the beginning his movie career in 1956, and the film gives us a clear view of Presley’s return to live performances after years of making movies. The original concept as devised by Colonel Tom Parker was in view of Elvis’s triumphant return to live performances was a closed circuit television presentation of one show but the concept developed into this movie. Although the lion’s share of the footage takes place onstage at the International Hotel in Las Vegas, there are several other parts to the film:

* The opening credits sequence contains footage of Elvis’ show at Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix on September 9, 1970. This was the first show of Elvis’ first tour in 13 years.

* Elvis and his band are seen rehearsing for the Las Vegas engagement at MGM Studios in Culver City, California. There are scenes of Elvis running through such tunes as “I Just Can’t Help Believing”, “What’d I Say”, “Little Sister”, “Words”, “That’s All Right Mama”, and “The Next Step Is Love.” The rehearsal sequences were filmed during late July 1970.

* Later rehearsals show Elvis in Las Vegas with his back-up vocalists The Sweet Inspirations, Millie Kirkham and The Imperials Quartet, preparing songs such as “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me” and “Bridge Over Troubled Water”.

* There is also a session of rehearsals that takes place in the Showroom Internationale of the International Hotel in Las Vegas. Together, Elvis and the entire group run through songs from “Mary In the Morning” to “Polk Salad Annie”. These rehearsals took place on August 7, 1970.

* Footage of an Elvis Appreciation Society convention in Luxembourg was shot on September 5, 1970. Radio Luxembourg DJs Tony Prince and Peter Aldersley are on hand to lead the festivities. A tandem bicycle owned by Elvis is raffled off to a lucky fan in the audience. Additionally, various musicians are seen performing their own versions of Elvis’ songs.

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