Elvis '56 | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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An excellent one-hour documentary (1987) that charts the pivotal year in the career of Elvis Presley when he went from being an obscure rockabilly/blues performer who drove a truck to a national icon with several gold records to his credit. Armed with fascinating archival footage and rare still photographs, Alan and Susan Raymond, who originally made this for cable, do a persuasive job of suggesting that, contrary to most versions of the all-American success myth, Elvis's artistic freedom and the authenticity of his relationship with his audience dwindled as he became more and more rich and famous. Indeed, the shape and direction of his career as a whole can be discerned during his first year as a star--which went from southern dances to singing "Hound Dog" in a tux to a basset hound in a top hat on Steve Allen's TV show. On the same program, the Raymonds' documentary Sweet Home Chicago (1993) about the history of Chess Records, including footage of and interviews with Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, Willie Dixon, Chuck Berry, and other blues performers. To be shown on video. Facets Multimedia Center, 1517 W. Fullerton, Friday and Saturday, April 7 and 8, 7:00 and 9:15, and Sunday, April 9, 5:30 and 7:45, 281-4114

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