New Elvis documentary 'The King' opens at Music Box Theatre

Saturday, July 21, 2018
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New documentary 'The King' about Elvis Presley opened Friday at the Music Box Theater in Lakeview.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- New documentary "The King" about Elvis Presley opened Friday at the Music Box Theatre in Lakeview.

ABC7's Janet Davies spoke with award-winning director Eugene Jarecki about how the rise and fall of Elvis seems a lot like the dwindling American Dream.

Jarecki took a road trip in The King's 1963 Rolls Royce.

"The country needed, as Bruce Springsteen says, a hero to rise from the streets, and Elvis was that hero," Jarecki said. "And he overtook the world with a level of authenticity and beauty and raw power that confirmed what everybody wanted to be true about this country, that a person from nowhere, the sticks of Mississippi, could rise to an unimaginable height."

Presley is criticized for co-opting black music, and restyling it for white fans, and big hits for himself.

"The music industry gives credit, gives money, gives kinship, to someone like Elvis while the people on whom his career is so based, BB King, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, how come these people aren't King? How come your heroes matter and my heroes don't matter?" says rapper Chuck D in the film.

There's a wide cast of characters that take a ride, like political operative James Carville.

"Mike Tyson, somebody said he hit you so hard it changes the way you taste. America never tasted the same after (Elvis) hit," Carville says in the film.

"We got seduced like Elvis got seduced by a society that puts people on a pedestal and shouldn't, he's just a person, he's not more valuable than a school teacher or a fireman," Jareicki said. "I chose a car that's fit for a king and a very lost king, a king who's deeply in pain and on his way to die."

"The King" opened at the Music Box Theatre Friday, and you can see the director in Friday night and Saturday afternoon. He'll be answering questions from the audience.