Almost Elvis
directed by John Paget
(Blue Suede, 2001)

Almost Elvis is a fascinating documentary centering on Elvis impersonator Irv Cass. The Niles, Mich., performer prepares for a final attempt at the national crown at Memphis' "Images of Elvis" contest, a title he has been the runner-up for multiple times.

While exploring Cass' struggles to succeed and battling with the diet decision, we are introduced to other Elvis hopefuls. These include Quentin Flagg and Robert Washington. His extreme youth may hold Flagg back and Washington may have an obstacle to the crown in the color of his skin. Regardless, they are among the talented contestants who are Irv's colleagues from his South Bend, Ind., regional to his chance on the Memphis stage.

Beyond the colorful characters that are the impersonators, this documentary also explores the Elvis impersonator community made of up talent judges, fans, costume designers, agents and more. Almost Elvis is an entertaining and illuminating view of this subculture that is the ultimate in retro.

- Rambles
written by Tom Schulte
published 26 July 2003

Buy it from