It has taken 30 years for Elvis Presley's film to arrive in Britain - on the 75th birth anniversary of the legend, the film titled Elvis is being released for the first time on DVD and Blu-ray in its unedited form.
Elvis was broadcast on ABC-TV in the US in February 1979, to great acclaim. But though an edited version of the film had a limited release in British cinemas, and it then briefly appeared as a video title, it was abruptly withdrawn for legal reasons involving music rights. Since then, it has been broadcast on British television infrequently and with little fanfare, reports telegraph.co.uk.It was directed by John Carpenter, who already had a huge reputation as a genre director, thanks to his space-travel saga Dark Star (1974); Assault on Precinct 13 (1976), his gritty account of a police station besieged by a gang of delinquents, and Hallowe’en (1978), the first in the successful horror franchise.
In Elvis, the title role was played by Kurt Russell, then only 27. Russell was rewarded with an Emmy nomination for his performance and it ushered in his film career as a grown-up.
On the subject of casting Russell, Carpenter observed at the time: "What’s the point of getting someone who looks like Elvis and can impersonate him? The thing about Kurt is he’s an instinctive actor. I think he understands Elvis. He’s totally convincing."
The film begins in 1969, with Presley about to go on stage for a comeback concert in Las Vegas, after many years without performing live. He’s jittery, moody, and afraid he may be the subject of an assassination attempt. Then it flashes back to Elvis as a boy of 10 in Tupelo, Mississippi, and the very start of his interest in music.