DVD Reviews

Elvis Found Alive (DVD Review)

Last year Joel Gilbert came forth with his spoof documentary Paul McCartney Really is Dead and now he's turned his attention to the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley. The McCartney film relied heavily on insider gags; the viewer needed to be up on their Beatles trivia to "get" many of Gilbert's references. Elvis Found Alive is different, choosing instead to spin a wild tale of how and why Presley faked his death. The storyline goes like this: After being inspired by a trip to Graceland filmmaker Gilbert seeks out, through the Freedom of Information Act, all of the government's files on the star. He gets them, heavily redacted, but lo and behold the ink used in the redaction is still wet so Gilbert sets his staff to work wiping off the liquid so the documents can be read. They find an address in Simi Valley, California, that turns out to be where Elvis is living incognito.

Gilbert cajoles Presley into telling his life story and most of what is heard during the recounting of the early years is the real story. But then Presley becomes adamant about the fact that he began living a double life, working undercover as a DEA officer. This gets him in trouble with the Weather Underground, the Black Panthers and the mafia, all of which gang up on him at one point and make several attempts on his life. Realizing that they aren't going to be satisfied until he's dead and wanting to protect his family, Presley concocts a scheme to fake his death that involves a double who happens to be dying anyway. The entire story is told without any winking but the body-switching part is so convoluted that the viewer can't help but crack up. Elvis is never seen (except in blacked-out profile) but the person doing his voice does a pretty good job. This is one of those films where you go into it knowing full well that you're going to get your leg pulled and Gilbert is proving to be quite adept at making it fun. Makes you wonder who his next tongue-in-cheek target will be.

Kevin Wierzbicki


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