Elvis: That’s the Way It Is was Elvis’ first non-dramatic film, a documentary chronicling live performances from The Elvis Summer Festival at the International Hotel in Las Vegas. The film features shows Elvis performed on August 11, 12, and 13, 1970. Who would have imagined that, seven years later, he would be gone? He was so vibrant and sexy and alive at the time that it is mind boggling to think about.
One of the things I loved about the film was that it not only showed some amazing concert performances, but it showed the ‘behind the scenes’ Elvis hanging out with his entourage, rehearsals, fans commenting on what they love about him, and celebrities such as George Hamilton, Cary Grant, Juliet Prowse, and Sammy Davis, Jr. arriving for opening night.
I was only nine years old when the film released, and I remember watching it, enthralled. At the time, I had never been to an Elvis concert, and it was a thrill to see him perform. And, to see glimpses of the ‘real’ Elvis in how he interacted with his friends and the people who worked with him.
That’s the Way It Is featured some fabulous songs, some that people who aren’t true Elvis fans aren’t all that familiar with, such as How the Web Was Woven. Here is a brief clip of him singing part of the song in rehearsals as he plays the piano. Watch what he does at the end:
Here is a recording of the entire song:
One of my very favorite songs from the performances is Just Pretend. I love it so much, I named my first romance after it (I wrote it when I was eleven). I also named my hero Lonnie Beale after Elvis’ character in the movie, Tickle Me. And, I described him as looking like Elvis. 🙂 I still have the story, written mostly in pencil with the first page missing from the tattered spiral notebook. At the end, my heroine thinks Lonnie died in a plane crash, but as it turns out, (Spoiler alert!) he’d taken a different flight and he comes to her where she’s crying on the beach, and he sings Just Pretend (which has a line, “I’ll come flying to you again.” – see how I cleverly wove that in?) It was a riveting moment, LOL.
Here is his concert performance of Just Pretend:
Wasn’t he so sweet to his fans? Lucky, lucky woman.
I was excited to learn that the re-mastered version of That’s the Way It Is will be showing in select theaters this month. It is coming to Oklahoma City, and I must go. So, I’m off to check on tickets. Until next time…