North American television network AXS TV will feature multiple Elvis Presley documentaries next month, including the 2000 “Special Edition” version of Elvis: That’s The Way It Is (1970) as well as Elvis On Tour (1972).
Providing a glimpse of the real Elvis, That’s The Way It Is features the singer in rehearsals and on stage for his third concert series at the International Hotel in Las Vegas. Highlights of this must-see film include killer renditions of “Suspicious Minds” and “Polk Salad Annie.” The documentary was Elvis’ 32nd movie, and it airs Tuesday, August 1, at 10 PM Eastern.
Less than two years later, the cameras rolled again for Elvis’ 33rd and final movie, Elvis On Tour. A concert at the Hampton Coliseum in Virginia provides the bulk of the live performances, with other cities including Greensboro, North Carolina and San Antonio, Texas. Studio work, rehearsals, and other behind-the-scenes action demonstrate a hectic yet repetitive schedule. Elvis On Tour airs Tuesday, August 22, at 10 PM.
Though both movies are an important part of the Elvis legacy, the difference between the vibrant performer of That’s The Way It Is and his subdued counterpart in Elvis On Tour is striking. Elvis On Tour certainly has its moments, though, picking up steam in the last half.
The 1981 documentary This Is Elvis mixed archival Elvis footage with reenactments by “actors.” The Elvis footage more than makes up for nauseating, voice-over narration by Ral Donner as “Elvis.” The documentary does a decent job recounting Elvis’ life and career. An updated version, sans imitations, was released as The Great Performances in 1990. The concept is in sore need of updating again, but This Is Elvis is certainly worth a watch. It airs on Tuesday, August 8, at 10 PM.
Wednesday, August 16, marks the 40th anniversary of Elvis’ death. At 9 PM, AXS TV goes back to the early years with the 2001 documentary Classic Albums: Elvis Presley, a look at his 1956 debut album.
AXS TV also serves up Clambake (1967), one of the worst Elvis movies. Check out his 25th film on Tuesday, August 29, at 10 PM, if you dare.
A 2016 fictional movie about “Elvis” (Jonathan Nation) going undercover holds no interest for me. Elvis Lives! airs on Tuesday, August 15, and Wednesday, August 16, at 10 PM if you are into that kind of thing.
Here is the full schedule (all times Eastern):
- August 1, 10 PM: Elvis: That’s The Way It Is – Special Edition (1970/2000)
- August 8, 10 PM: This Is Elvis (1981)
- August 15, 10 PM: Elvis Lives! (2016)
- August 16, 9 PM: Classic Albums: Elvis Presley (2001)
- August 16, 10 PM: Elvis Lives! (2016)
- August 22, 10 PM: Elvis On Tour (1972)
- August 29, 10 PM: Clambake (1967)
UPDATE: August 12, 2017
HDNET MOVIES, sister network of AXS TV, will broadcast an Elvis movie marathon the night of Wednesday, August 16. The marathon will include two of the best (Elvis: That’s That’s The Way It Is and Elvis On Tour) and two of the worst (Paradise, Hawaiian Style and Clambake). At least all of them feature the real Elvis. None of this Elvis Lives! business.
Here is the August 16-17 HDNET MOVIES Elvis schedule (all times Eastern):
- August 16, 8:30 AM: This Is Elvis (1981)
- 7:00 PM: Frankie And Johnny (1966)
- 8:30 PM: Paradise, Hawaiian Style (1966)
- 10:05 PM: Elvis: That’s The Way It Is – Special Edition (1970/2000)
- 11:45 PM: Clambake (1967)
- August 17, 1:35 AM: Elvis On Tour (1972)
- 3:20 AM: This Is Elvis (1981)
- 5:10 AM: Paradise, Hawaiian Style (1966)
- 6:45 AM: Frankie And Johnny (1966)
- 8:15 AM: Clambake (1967)
Many of the same films will run again throughout the rest of August.