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The film tells about Burton family formed by the father (John
MacIntire), his second Indian wife (Dolores del Rio) and two sons , one
(Steve Forrest) of the first wife and another (Elvis Presley) results
to be a half-breed . The latter will have to choose sides when the
battles between white men and Kiowas (Rodolfo Acosta) go on the warpath
. Burton family splits loyalties , the confrontation will be violent
and lethal .
It's an interesting western with an exceptional interpretation by Elvis Presley who only sings two songs at the beginning of the film . He's a mestizo who along with his mother will be excluded for both races . Originally planned as a vehicle for Marlon Brando and Montgomery Clift ; however , the picture is considered to be Presley's best western and along with ¨King Creole¨ (directed by Michael Curtiz) and ¨Jailhouse rock¨ (by Richard Thorpe) his greatest movies . Andy Warhol's famous diptych of Elvis Presley as a cowboy came from a shot in this movie . Steve Forrest (Dana Andrews's brother) as his kind brother is very fine . Dolores del Rio as his affectionate mum and Rodolfo Acosta as Kiowa chief , repeat well their usual Indians roles . Barbara Eden as a wonderful youngster who helps protagonists is enjoyable and enticing , though Barbara Steele walked off the picture after an argument with director Don Siegel , she then was replaced by Eden . Besides , in the secondary cast appears Richard Jaeckel (Dirty dozen) , L.Q.Jones (Peckimpah's habitual) and Karl Swenson . Glittering and shimmer cinematography is perfectly reflected on spectacular outdoors and colorful interiors by cameraman Charles Clarke . Lively as well as atmospheric musical score by Cryl Mockridge . The motion picture was professionally directed by Donald Siegel (Dirty Harry) . The flick will appeal to Elvis Presley fans and Western genre enthusiasts.
Basically, Elvis does not sing much in this one. It is a dramatic role
in which he plays a half-breed youth, raised in his father's white
world, but now caught in the midst of an Indian war.
This film is a sad statement of what might have been. Here we glimpse the natural dramatic talent that was never allowed to blossom. There would be no "From Here to Eternity" for Elvis as there was for Sinatra. Contracts later forced him in to the musical-comedy roles that he grew to hate. He was told you will do these movies with this starlet or that starlet, sing this bad music with ducks or cows in the background, play the race car driver, the speed boat driver, the motorcycle racer, or you won't work at all.
The truly sad thing is that if this part of Elvis' talent had been cultivated, if his musical career had been kept separate from a dramatic acting career, perhaps his life would have traveled a very different road. It is a horrible thing to know that you have talent & to want to be able to use that talent, but be forced to waste it. IMHO, it was something that gnawed at him and played no small part in his own self-destruction.
This is definitely one of the King's best flix, his best performance surely.
It was nice to see him play a taciturn guy but be believable, the
surrounding cast-from LQ Jones to Jeanie there to Del Rio to John
McIntire-were all pros, plus Don Seigel's record(Dirty Harry, Invasion of
the Body Snatchers, etc.) speaks for itself.
Elvis, in Walter Matthau's opinion(co-starred with Elvis in 'King Creole')had some talent and could have become a decent actor if he'd stuck to things like this.
By all means, give it a look, its worth watching-Elvis gives it his best and it's a solid flick all around.
*** outta ****
Elvis stars as a half-Indian in this exciting Don Siegel-helmed Western with a ton of action and a meanstreak. Elvis's character is surprisingly tough and hard-assed, plus the songs are kept to a minimum (he sings the title song and does a little hoe-down at the beginning...that's it). Anyway, Indians are massacring farmers in an attempt to take back their land, and Elvis is torn between the Indians and the racist white folk. Elvis gives a great, understated performance...he seems aware that this is a Siegel film, not an Elvis film. All in all it's the King's best foray into filmland.
A lot of highbrows will dismiss that as another Elvis lousy movie.But
just have a look at the name of the director:it's not Norman
Taurog,it's Don "Body Snatchers" Siegel!And every Siegel movie is worth
a watch at least or more with such gems as "invasion of the body
snatchers" and "beguiled".
The screenplay is close to John Huston's "the unforgiven",Hepburn and here Presley are half-breed people and thus generate violence.But what seems fascinating here is Presley's part and his tragedy ,both in the movie,and in real life:the loss of his own mother.His performance is by far his most moving not only because he 's directed by a director with a genuine talent,but also because he probably searched his memories to give such a harrowing rendition.The old mom,an Indian herself ,who tries to go back to the mountain to die there is the moment which climaxes the movie.
This obsession with the mother's loss would continue in "wild in the country" ,Elvis's next movie,before he sank in an ocean of schmaltz.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Two years in the Army and a lightweight, family-oriented musical -- "GI Blues" -- intervened before Elvis again got to show his natural acting talent in "Flaming Star," a film originally slated for Marlon Brando. Elvis acquitted himself well in the role of Pacer Burton, half Caucasian and half Kiowa, in 1878 Texas. Pacer is a young man trapped between two cultures and races, in a situation in which either of two available choices spelled tragedy. The same is true of the other members of his family, including an older, white brother (Steve Forrest), and his parents (Dolores Del Rio and John McIntire) -- all perfect in their roles. This is really a film about hate, and just as much about love, loyalty, and family. It's also probably a more-than-oblique commentary on the state of race relations within the US at the time, during the rise of the Civil Rights movement. Apartheidmongers in South Africa banned this film because Elvis played a 'colored' person. On the other hand, Elvis was inducted into the Los Angeles Indian Tribal Council for his positive portrayal of Pacer Burton.
Elvis is thoroughly convincing as the 'half breed' Pacer and the film showcases his considerable nonverbal communication skills. He convincingly portrays a very conflicted character (the same was true to some extent of "King Creole") and runs the full gamut of emotion through the film. Pacer's basically a bit of a hothead, but he's also possessed of a fairly chilling cool, and both aspects of the character are played well by Elvis (who, himself, shared the same dichotomy). The scene in which Pacer and Clint, his 100%-white brother, scuffle is pretty intense.
Elvis could appear quite menacing and in this film he is pure menace at several instances. He'd have made a great bad guy in a movie and I really do believe that he could have acquitted himself well in Marlon Brando's role in "Apocalypse Now" had it been shot circa 1974, particularly if circumstances had conspired to have Elvis make more films like "Flaming Star" than "Clambake" during the '60s. Is this the best scripted Elvis Presley film? Well, most'd point to "King Creole," and this film is so un-Elvis that it's really NOT an 'Elvis Presley film.' It's a powerful film, with a strong and intelligent point to make that also ensures that it is not just another horse-opera, in which Elvis happens to have a key role. Also, the film does not focus exclusively on him and his co-stars are essential to the film and all turn in excellent performances. Still, I think that it's perhaps in this film that he turned in his best acting performance.
The rest of the supporting cast does a more-than-competent job, and among their number are Barbara Eden, Richard Jaeckel, and Rodolfo Acosta. Interestingly, LQ Jones -- who plays the clueless redneck who says that Mrs Burton's cooking was indistinguishable from any white mother's -- showed up again in Elvis' 1968 "Stay Away, Joe," the other movie in which Elvis played a native American (Jones later played Three-Finger Jack in "The Mask Of Zorro").
The film was directed by Don Siegel, who'd earlier been behind "Invasion Of The Body Snatchers" and who later went on to do the "Dirty Harry" films among many others. It's a pretty violent piece, especially for one shot in 1960. The Kiowa attack near the film's start is quite graphic for the time and the implied violence within and around that scene is even more disturbing. "Flaming Star" includes axes to the head, spears in the thigh, arrows in various parts of the anatomy, and fatal knife attacks, as well as shootings and assorted fisticuffs. Elvis wades into the violence with relish, particularly during his one-man war against the Kiowa warriors toward the film's end. The thrashing that he administers to two unsavory trappers is also realistic and pretty savage, beginning with a rifle butt snapped into one trapper's chin. Elvis, five months after his black-belt grading, must have loved the physicality of his role. He's in good shape for it, too.
"Flaming Star" and Fox's follow-up, the contemporary drama "Wild In The Country," basically didn't make as much money as "GI Blues." That fact determined what was pretty much the formula for most of the '60s. It's a pity, because Elvis' career path during the '60s could have taken an entirely different path: appearances in high-quality movies (including the odd musically-oriented one) and occasional , big-event concert performances at home and abroad. What might have been...
The ending never fails to sadden me immensely. As in his debut film, this film ends with the death of Elvis' character. I guess the obvious thing is that Pacer's off to die and, in a way, being a man between peoples, he's got no other place to go. It says something about Elvis' characterization of Pacer, I think, that we'd even care. The same is true of the deaths of Pacer's mother and father. More to the point, though, I always think of Elvis seeing his own Flaming Star of Death 17 years later. For that matter, 10 out of 10 people die, as do 10 out of 10 pets, and we all face our own mortality and that of our loved ones. I must admit that, figuratively, Elvis has yet to die -- as I write he's in an amazing third week at #1 on the UK singles charts, with #1 rankings in several other countries courtesy of a remixed, relatively obscure 1968 movie song. I went to high school and university with a kid (Robert Trueman, good friend of my best friend) who died, rapidly, of leukemia -- ironically enough, a few years before he'd told me that he wasn't really into Elvis but that he loved the song "Flaming Star." It's indeed a great song, but one forever touched by an additional aura of sadness the result of Robert's passing too soon.
One of Elvis's best films.
Legendary film director Don Siegel (Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Dirty
Harry) gets the most out of Elvis and the King proves here that when he had
something of substance to work from, he was more than capable.
This film not only has a gripping and tragic storyline, it looks and feels authentic enough in dealing with an important chapter in American history. The film is packed with emotional moments and action and an all round good cast. If Elvis had gotten more film roles like this one, he could have become one of the great movie stars. 8 out of 10.
Clair Huffaker was a master story teller. His westerns are still read by true western aficionados. "Flaming Star" was Elvis's opportunity to act and to prove to the world that he could. Unfortunately the Colonel didn't want the world to know. This is one of Hollywood's best kept secrets. Maybe the fact that Elvis knew that he had actual talent for acting broke his heart, and those stupid Hall Wallis "sillies" must have driven Elvis crazy! Huffaker writes a good story of an interracial family harassed by prejudice and bigotry of the small western town. It is the struggle of two brothers in love with the same woman. It shows the love of a husband to his Indian wife. This film has enduring story.
For a movie that was originally planned for Brando, Elvis sure does a
good job. According to the trivia, it was planned for Sinatra too. I'm
assuming Sinatra would've played Clint, while Brando played Pacer.
While some might find the movie to be too depressing, I say, it calls for it. A movie like this, with a story like this, can't have a happy ending. So if you're expecting the usual Presley picture with singing and all, look somewhere else. If you want a movie with a great script and many memorable lines and scenes, see Flaming Star. If you are a fan of Elvis, see this movie for sure. Elvis shows what a natural actor he is in this movie. He also proves that he could star in a serious movie with a serious role.
If you are looking for a movie with action, look no further. Flaming Star has plenty of action. If you just want to see a good Western, see Flaming Star. Once you start watching Flaming Star you won't be able to stop. The movie had me watching up until the powerful ending. Everyone did their job well when they made this movie. Steve Forrest was great as Clint, Pacer's brother. Dolores del Rio was great as Neddy, Pacer's mother. John McIntire was great as Sam Burton, Pacer's father. Even the other supporting actors were great. Everyone was great. The actor that portrayed Buffalo Horn, Rudolph Acosta, was very memorable. Elvis was of course, great as Pacer. When you start watching the movie, in the beginning, it seems like the movie isn't really about Pacer. But later on in the movie when he has to make a choice of whether he will fight with the white man, his father's people, or the Kiowas, his mother's people, the movie gets very interesting. Elvis is put in many situations in the movie when he has to fight for his family and for his life. Pacer becomes the film's hero once the fighting starts. The whole movie is very powerful and unforgettable, so don't miss this one. You are in for a pleasant surprise. Elvis Presley fans will be pleased. Even people that aren't really fans of Elvis will be pleased. See this great movie and you won't be disappointed.
I had never seen the entire edition of Flaming Star, but I've got to say
Elvis did a pretty good job!. I caught the very beginning with the song
session in the house and I thought, just another Elvis singing
The real surprise came for me with the plot and the action sequences. Wow!. If Elvis could have chosen some better parts, I think he could have transitioned himself into a decent actor.
Too bad this type of performance is far and few between.
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