Elvis | Chicago Reader

Elvis

76 minutes

A turning point in the Presley legend, this December 1968 TV special marked the King's return to form after nine years of weak recordings and laughable films. The singer gobbled enough amphetamines to squeeze himself into a skintight black-leather suit, and his sidemen from the glory days, guitarist Scotty Moore and drummer D.J. Fontana, were welcomed back to the fold for a loose-limbed jam session that unexpectedly became the heart and soul of the program. True believers usually cite this as the final flowering of Presley's outlaw persona, but the choreographed sequences, directed by Steve Binder and based on Belgian playwright Maurice Maeterlinck's 1909 fable The Blue Bird, are closer to the turgid drama of his Vegas shtick.

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