Maltin, Jan 29, 2004
always felt that the mark of a good documentary is its
ability to draw you in even if you don’t know or care
that much about the subject. 200 Cadillacs is an
unpretentious hour-long film about one aspect of Elvis
Presley’s life that’s making its debut on DVD from Image
Elvis had a lifelong love of Cadillacs, and he chose to
give them away to colleagues, friends, and people who
did him a good turn... he even gave them to total
strangers on the spur of the moment. Many of those
recipients are interviewed in this film, from the cops
who worked security for him on tour to a nurse who cared
for his health, and they paint a warm and vivid picture
of the entertainer.
I like Elvis
well enough, but I’m not a devotee, and I never thought
I’d find this film as compelling as I did..
Nigel Patterson (Source: EIN January 8, 2004)
The brainchild of Rex Fowler, 200 Cadillacs
takes the viewer on a journey into the stories
behind Elvis' love of giving Cadillacs to
friends and complete strangers. This is an
important release about Elvis as it opens up a
known but little publicised part of Elvis'
The documentary features more than 200 photos
of Elvis, many of them previously unpublished,
and there are some great shots to look at.
There are many wonderful stories in 200
Cadillacs. Apart from its titular focus, the
documentary goes beyond just the giving of
Cadillacs to Elvis the humanitarian and Elvis
the emotionally concerned friend. The stories
include Elvis' response to the death of a
friend's brother, an incident involving Myrna
Smith, Elvis and a $30,000 Diamond Ring,
and drama concerning the first TCB Necklace.
A highlight of 200 Cadillacs is its strong,
rock and roll, sometimes bluesy soundtrack. The
music complements the narrative to a tee, and
will have many fans rushing out to buy the
companion soundtrack album. A fitting blend of
lyrical sentiment, rock & roll musicality and
strategic placement combine to give the story
Some of the standout tracks are the poignant
'Shine A Little Light On Elvis', the title track
and 'Running With The King'. Many of the songs
were composed and performed by Rex Fowler.
Verdict: 200 Cadillacs is an important documentary
shedding much needed light on an often overlooked part of the
Elvis Presley story. With a persuasive narrative, fine editing
and an in your face soundtrack, it is highly recommended for
both the casual fan and serious student of The King.
200 Cadillacs ranks as
one of the best Elvis documentaries ever made.
One of the songs on the soundtrack says it well: “How
about some credit where the credit is due”; not only the
“legendary” story of Elvis just giving away cars, but the
reason behind it, trying to help people out or just saying
“thank you” his way, not only giving material things, but
most of all giving help, friendship and love.
This DVD is one of
the best documentaries released lately, putting the
record straight on the man and the Cadillac myth.
Nigel Patterson (Source: EIN January 8, 2004)
The CD starts with Elvis declaring
“I suppose you know I’ve got a lot
This is the perfect beginning for
a fabulous & fun cruise through a
delightful selection of songs about
the life & myths of Elvis Presley,
and I haven’t been as impressed with
a new CD in a very long time.
Including songs from the
excellent ‘200 Cadillacs’ DVD this
is a wonderful mix of Country &
Western, Blues and Rockabilly. The
songs all have an Elvis connection
and many of them feature lyrics that
capture the fascination of Elvis’
life perfectly in just three
Rex Fowler, who conceived &
produced the DVD, features on 5
tracks and proves himself to be a
very talented composer. Other tracks
are by Carl Perkins and even Paul
Burlinson, Mavis Staples with Levon
Helm (of the classic group ‘The
Band') are represented with their
excellent bluesy take on ‘Hound
Dog’. While you might not be
familiar with some of the newer
bands, all the songs fit perfectly
together and made me want to
investigate them further.
Some tracks reminded me of the
fun of The Dixie Chicks, while other
songs hint at the wonderful story
telling of Chris Isaak or Sheryl
Crow. I also felt the rockabilly
vibe of Brian Setzer & The Stray
Cats at their early & best. The
discovery of Carl Perkins’
unreleased version of John Hiatt’s
‘Memphis In The Meantime’, with its
delicious ‘Mystery Train’ feel, is
also a great find.
Heather Eatman captures a
poignant moment in ‘Too Tired To Be
Elvis’, The Cucumbers will get you
dancing with ‘Blue Cadillac’, while
Jon Pousette-Dart grabs a perfect
slice of Elvis history in ‘Running
With Elvis’ - “Running with the King
at the height of his rein, was like
trying to hold on to a runaway
From the first track ‘200
Cadillacs’, via Syd Straw’s
brilliant tale of sorrow and
jealousy ‘Listening to Elvis’,
through to the finale ‘Shine A
Little Light’ this is a fabulous
journey worth driving through again
This is perfect cruising music
and I often found myself laughing
out loud at the fabulous lyrics
while coasting through Sydney’s
beaches, hi-fi turned up loud, in my
purring Pink Cadillac.
is thoroughly recommended to anyone with an interest
in Elvis, good story-telling and great music.
Latest CD Reviews!
Florida Entertainment News & Views (Miami)
"There have been
dozens, if not hundreds, of films
documenting the life and impact of Elvis
Presley, but it seems somehow appropriate
that 25 years after his passing, a new
documentary should appear that chronicles a
side of "The King" that's rarely referred
to. Much has been said about his
contributions to the world of music, but
little is ever mentioned about his
generosity in other aspects of his life, the
gifts he gave those to whom he was closest.
It was said that Elvis gave away 200
Cadillacs and it was that side of the
Presley personality that sparked the
creation of 200 Cadillacs, a movie that
purports to track down the recipients of
those motorized mementos.
"The film's score combines songs written by
the project's co-producer, Rex Fowler of the
Boston band, Astec Two-Step, selections
penned by John Hiatt, Jon Pousette-DArt,
Heather Eatman, Scott Kempner of the Del
Lords and others, with cover versions of two
of Presley's signature songs, "Hound Dog"
and "All Shook Up." While most of the songs
seek to emulate the rockabilly style that
Elvis brought to prominence during his stint
with Sun Records, Fowler's composition are
the most affecting, each paying tribute
through empathy and affection. The title
tune, which starts with a recitation by
Elvis himself, sets the tone. "Tough &
Tender" effectively captures the soul of the
man and a humanity that's often overshadowed
by lurid tales of drugs and excess.
Likewise, "Shine A Little LIght" provides a
fitting epitaph and the album's ideal coda,
a heartfelt paen to a man who, despite his
faults and often bizarre behavior, remains
the essential American idol, and the single
most influential individual to ever grace
the annals of rock 'n'' roll.
"Some soundtracks work best in the context
of the movie they were meant to accompany.
200 Cadillacs stands along and remains
immensely enjoyable on its own."
From All Music Guide:
Review by William Ruhlmann
Rex Fowler of Aztec Two-Step had the idea of making a
documentary film about what happened to the 200 (more or less)
Cadillacs that Elvis Presley gave away to friends, relatives,
and strangers during his lifetime, a charming and imaginative
idea for a new take on the king of rock & roll. Being a
musician, Fowler naturally wrote songs for the film commenting
on Presley and performed in his rockabilly style; the result is
equally charming and imaginative, especially because of the
extra guests. These include long-standing indie rock favorites
like Syd Straw, the Del Lords, and the Cucumbers, who add their
own reflections on Presley and even perform some of his music.
There is a Cucumbers' version of "All Shook Up" and a rendition
of "Hound Dog" contributed by Paul Burlison with Levon Helm and
Mavis Staples. Best of
all is a previously unreleased recording of Carl Perkins doing
John Hiatt's "Memphis in the Meantime." The 200 Cadillacs album
is a good companion not only to the film, but also to anyone's
Elvis Presley collection.