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Elvis Friend Talks Blu-ray

28 Jul, 2010 By: Chris Tribbey

Elvis 75th Anniversary DVD Collection

It’s not overstating things to call Warner Home Video’s Aug. 3 Blu-ray Disc and DVD releases of Elvis on Tour one of the most anticipated Elvis titles ever. Just ask long-time Elvis friend Jerry Schilling.

“I’ve been asked about it by fans for years,” said Schilling, who first befriended Elvis when Schilling was 12 and Elvis was 19. “There was just so much footage to go through, and it just kept getting pushed back. We’ve been talking about [a DVD release] for a decade, and I’m thrilled with what Warner Bros. is doing with this.”

The studio has been holding off on releasing the last film before The King died for three years, timing the home video releases of the 1972 Golden Globe-winning documentary for the year that would have been Elvis’ 75th birthday.

The documentary (DVD $19.96, Blu-ray $34.99) features 25 musical performances, including some of Elvis’ greatest: “Don’t Be Cruel,” “Hound Dog,” “Love Me Tender” and “All Shook Up,” among others. The Blu-ray features a remastered picture, montage sequences (supervised by director Martin Scorsese), Elvis’ “Ed Sullivan Show” performance, his first performance of “Burning Love,” and a 40-page booklet with photos, trivia, quotes, a tour itinerary, set lists, costumes and more.

“It’s a really interesting behind-the-scenes look at what was going on in Elvis’ mind at the time,” Schilling said of the documentary. “This is the most insightful piece on Elvis you’ll ever see or hear. He was very vulnerable.”

Going through a divorce at the time, Elvis was constantly reflecting on his life and career to that point, Schilling said.

“He said things like ‘I don’t think anybody’s trying to hurt me, but Hollywood never got who I was,’” Schilling said. “Outside of some very brief stuff, this is the only behind-the-scenes look at Elvis. I think people will find it fascinating to see what he did before the show, his mood, his temperament, his thinking.”

Warner knows this release is a big deal, and is treating it as such, screening the documentary Aug. 14 in Memphis during Elvis Week (Aug. 10-16). The documentary also will see day-and-date releases on iTunes, Xbox Live, Zune marketplace and Amazon, cable and satellite VOD.

The same day as the documentary, Warner also is releasing the largest-ever Elvis film boxed set with the Elvis 75th Anniversary DVD Collection ($74.92). It will include 14 feature films and three documentaries, among them Elvis on Tour, Jailhouse Rock and Viva Las Vegas. Warner also is packaging Elvis on Tour, Jailhouse Rock and Viva Las Vegas into one Blu-ray set for $49.99, and will make each of the films available on DVD by themselves at $12.97 each.

What would Elvis think about all this attention all these years later?

“He would definitely be proud,” Schilling said. “Elvis was an artist who worked very hard to be recognized. He was born to be a star. He would love that people were still listening to his music, watching him on screen.

“I was very proud he was my friend.”

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