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Elvis Blu-ray Collection (Blu-ray Review)

Warner Bros has done something unique.  In a music first, if memory serves, they have released a collection of the King’s films and live performances.  These editions have been released as a 3-disc Blu-ray collection and as a single disc-book of Elvis on Tour.  WhySoBlu was extremely fortunate to get a copy of the 3-disc set for review and a set to give away (enter here).  Without further delay  WhySoBlu is proud to present the Elvis: Blu-ray Collection.

*This is a 3 in 1 cumulative review. Formatting may be different.

Film  

Jailhouse Rock: Vince Everett (Elvis Presley) is newly released ex-con who went to prison for killing a man accidentally. He didn’t even start fight.  While in prison he befriends his cellmate who teaches him how to sing and improve his guitar playing abilities.  Once Everett is finally released he gets work playing gigs in bars and clubs.  It isn’t quite what he had in mind.  Everett meets Peggy (Judy Tyler) who is a record executive that likes his stuff and wants to help him rise to the top.

Jailhouse Rock is my first Elvis film.  This was also Elvis’s third film.  They don’t seem to be the greatest of films, because they do rely on very simplistic formulas.  This doesn’t mean that the film is “bad” but it can be cheesy. Cheesy is good, though.  Jailhouse Rock does have the distinction of catapulting Elvis into mainstream stardom due to the title track performance in the film.  When I watched the scene in question I was pretty blown away by it.  The King had skills! And it’s a rockin’ tune!

Viva Las Vegas: In what many consider to be one of The King’s best films (and that is saying a lot) Viva Las Vegas, Elvis finally meets his match in his female counterpart; Ann-Margaret.  The plot is simplistic, again, in that it’s about him needing to drive out to L.A. to buy an engine for some super sport car (that he designed), so he can enter some race.  Okay.  What makes this film truly stand out are the dance-musical numbers.  There are TEN of them.  Elvis is really cool in this film, but it’s Ann-Margaret who steals the show, in my opinion.  My jaw dropped during her dance numbers, and I don’t mean due to her beauty, but because she’s a great dancer.  She totally killed it!  Wow!

Elvis on Tour: Fifteen cities and fifteen nights…in a row!  This is a whirlwind of a performance(s).  Elvis plays fifteen cities and fifteen nights in the USA and obliterates them all.  Elvis on Tour is part performance, documentary, montage, rolled up all into one.  The performances were great, and what made them great was the meshing of his group.  Elvis had a full-on band, back-up singers, and an orchestra every night.  His set list consisted of rock n’ roll, funk, love songs, and gospel. Karate moves aside, Elvis was a true showman and the crowd loved him.  He was not one of those artists that never acknowledged the people, in fact he went right into the stands to kiss the women.  Elvis on Tour also features montage supervision by Martin Scorsese.

Video 

All three films are presented in wonderful 1080p widescreen aspect ratios of 2.40:1 and 16X9.  Elvis has never looked better!  Granted, the films (cumulative) receive a three and a half star, because they’re not all consistent.  Jailhouse Rock is in black and white, which look great, but some shots are grainy (the nice kind of grain) and other shots look a bit soft.  Grey levels are top notch and so is the absence of heavy noise.  Viva Las Vegas is smooth sailing until we get to the last reel of the film and into the big race.  I noticed some minor flicker and a few instances of dirt here and there.  The color palette on Viva Las Vegas is immaculate!  Elvis on Tour was shot on 35mm but is not polished at all.  It retains its full documentary feel.  The performances do look great, but when we default to the backstage antics and interviews, it gets grainy again.  It’s a raw show, so that may have something do with the aesthetics of it.

Audio 

Jailhouse Rock and Viva Las Vegas are presented in TrueHD 5.1 surround sound.  Elvis on Tour is presented in DTS MA-HD 5.1 surround sound.  It’s the third disc that elevates the entire set to a four star.  Jailhouse Rock was released in 1957, so the there’s just so much that can be done with the source.  The music sounds great, though.  The same thing can be said about Viva Las Vegas since that film was released in 1964.  Again, the tunes are what sound dynamite.  Dialogue, and everything else is very front centered which is to be expected.  Now where this set shines is the Elvis on Tour disc.  It rocks and it jams!  The bass is great. You may have to turn the volume down a bit unless your neighbors are big Elvis fans and don’t mind.  It’s a pretty aggressive and funky mix.

Special Features 

Jailhouse Rock and Viva Las Vegas contain commentary tracks by Elvis in Hollywood author Steve Pond, Retrospective Featurette, and the Original Trailers.

Elvis on Tour is a barebones release. No special features are contained within this disc.

Final Thoughts 

No, Elvis Presley was never a thespian, and never turned the film world upside down.  He owned the music world and there’s no denying that.  These films, in some respect, are downright wholesome, and just plain fun.  They’re cool to look at, but you may or may not take anything away from them.  I do hope that Warner Bros take note and release the entire Elvis Presley catalog  on blu-ray.  They have made a fan out of me!

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Bring home Elvis Presley on  Blu-ray!

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Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

3 Responses to “Elvis Blu-ray Collection (Blu-ray Review)”


  1. Gregg

    I’m glad they paid the King a good tribute by delivering the visuals and sound with some decent quality. What Elvis fan could be without this set??

  2. Josh Healy

    Hi, hope it’s OK to contact you here. We would love to include your blog on our giveaway search engine: Giveaway Scout (http://www.giveawayscout.com). Have a look and if interested, use our online form to add your blog (http://www.giveawayscout.com/addblog/ ). thanks, Josh

  3. Sean Ferguson

    I am still jealous you got to review this!