Elvis, That’s the Way It Is (1970, Elvis Presley, James Burton)

Poster for the movie ""
109 min - Music, Documentary - 11 November 1970
Our rating:

Forget about his spotty Hollywood career. Elvis was never funnier, more exciting or more surreal onscreen than in Denis Sanders' documentary of the King's dates at the International Hilton in Las Vegas.

In addition to a heapin' helping of electrifying live footage, we also get to see Elvis clowning around with his band (which includes such ace session cats as guitarist James Burton and drummer Ronnie Tutt).

There's Elvis riding a tandem bicycle around a studio lot, Elvis splitting his pants and Elvis blatantly lying to his backup trio, the Sweet Inspirations, about why one of his band members is missing. (Not wanting to take the heat for firing the musician, Elvis tells them the guy had to leave to look after his "infant baby.")

Elvis' Hilton appearance marked the beginning of his first tour since 1957, and fans from all over the world flocked to Vegas for the blessed event. He hadn't totally porked out by this point, so he was still gyrating like a man possessed.

Sanders intercuts Elvis' rehearsals with ample footage of the faithful as they prepare for a live encounter with the legend. He may seem now like little more than a bad pop-culture punchline, but this jumpsuited jackal is so charismatic and talented it's easy to see why he's still the King.


Director:  Denis Sanders
Producer:  Dale Hutchinson, Herbert F. Solow
Director of Photography:  Lucien Ballard

Production Details

Production Companies:  Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

Release Date:  11 November 1970

Running Time:  1 h 49 min

Genres: Music, Documentary

Language:  English

Budget and Box Office takings where known