Elvis Presley: The Searcher

A new documentary film about Elvis Presley debuted last weekend on HBO. The film, Elvis Presley: The Searcher, provides an in-depth view into the life and times of Elvis Presley.

This three-hour, two-film presentation Elvis Presley: The Searcher focuses on Elvis Presley the musical artist, taking the audience on a comprehensive creative journey from his childhood through the final 1976 Jungle Room recording sessions.

Commentary is provided by several historians along with Priscilla Presley, Elvis’ ex-wife, members of his band, childhood friends, and musicians Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen, Robbie Robertson, and Emmylou Harris.

I first heard about “Elvis Presley: The Searcher” on SiriusXM radio when the film’s director, Thom Zimny, hosted a long segment on the Tom Petty channel in which Zimny discussed Petty’s commentary in the film. That discussion got me hooked, so I watched the film on the evening of its debut.

The first part details Elvis’ early life in Tupelo, Mississippi and his unprecendented rise to fame over a single year. The second part begins with his return home after his Army discharge and facing a rapidly changing pop-music scene.

Zimny’s “Elvis Presley: The Searcher” is a fascinating documentary and I do recommend it, but it is not a happy tale. The sadness of Elvis’ life comes through loud and clear throughout this film.