Flaming Star

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Flaming Star
Flamsta2.jpg
Directed by Don Siegel
Produced by David Weisbart
Written by Clair Huffaker (novel)
Clair Huffaker
Nunnally Johnson
Starring Elvis Presley
Barbara Eden
Dolores del Río
Music by Cyril J. Mockridge
Cinematography Charles G. Clarke
Editing by Hugh S. Fowler
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates December 20, 1960 (U.S.),
February 5, 1969 (Turkey),
February–October 1961 (Europe)[1]
Running time 92 min.
Country United States
Language English
Budget $1.7 million[2]
Box office $2 million (US/ Canada)[3]

Flaming Star is a 1960 Western film starring Elvis Presley and Barbara Eden, based on the book Flaming Lance (1958) by Clair Huffaker. Critics agreed that Presley gave one of his best acting performances as the mixed-blood "Pacer Burton", a dramatic role. The film was directed by Don Siegel and had a working title of Black Star. The movie reached No. 12 on the box office charts.

Synopsis[edit]

Elvis Presley plays Pacer Burton, the son of a Kiowa mother and a Texas rancher father. His family, including a half-brother, Clint, live a typical life on the Texas frontier. Life becomes anything but typical when a nearby tribe of Kiowa begin raiding neighboring homesteads. Pacer soon finds himself caught between the two worlds, part of both but belonging to neither.

Primary cast[edit]

Background[edit]

The film rights for Flaming Star had been circulating around Hollywood since 1958 when 20th Century Fox finally decided to cast Presley in the lead role.[4] Originally Frank Sinatra and Marlon Brando were lined up to play the brothers.[4]

Presley's previous film, G.I. Blues, had been a success at the box office and had led to one of his best selling albums to that point.[5] However, determined to be taken seriously as an actor, Presley asked for roles with fewer songs.[4] Flaming Star was initially to include four songs, but after Presley demanded two of the songs be removed, it ended up with only the title song and a short number at the opening birthday party scene.[4]

Barbara Steele, a British actress originally signed to play the love interest, was replaced during filming by Barbara Eden after studio executives decided that Steele's accent was too pronounced.[4]

The film was released only one month after G.I. Blues but did not achieve the same degree of box office success, reaching number 12 on the Variety box office survey for the year.[4] Presley's next film, Wild in the Country, also failed to impress fans or critics, and Colonel Tom Parker used this to persuade Presley that his audience didn't want to see him in straight acting roles.[4] This led to musical-comedies such as Blue Hawaii and Kid Galahad, which set the precedent for most of his roles for the rest of his career.

Publicity stills of Elvis from the film were used by Andy Warhol to create several silkscreens: "Double Elvis," "Triple Elvis,", "Eight Elvises" and "Elvis 11 Times."

Soundtrack[edit]

Elvis By Request
EP by Elvis Presley
Released February 1961
Recorded August–October 1960
Genre Soundtrack
Length 11:02
Label RCA Records
Producer Urban Thielmann
Elvis Presley chronology
A Touch of Gold Vol. 3
(1960)
Elvis By Request
(1960)
Follow That Dream
(1961)

Recording sessions took place on August 8 and October 7, 1960, at Radio Recorders in Hollywood. Initially, four songs were composed for the movie, but "Britches" and "Summer Kisses Winter Tears" were dropped.[6] The soundtrack music in the film consists of only two songs, "Flaming Star" and "A Cane And A High Starched Collar." An early version of "Flaming Star," using the film's working title "Black Star," was recorded and later released in the 1990s.

Two months after the film's premiere, RCA released the extended play single Elvis By Request – Flaming Star, catalogue LPC 128, which peaked at #14 on the Billboard Hot 100.[7] It contained the title track and one of the rejected songs, "Summer Kisses, Winter Tears," along with two of Presley's chart-topping 1960 singles, "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" and "It's Now or Never." "Summer Kisses" would appear on the anniversary compilation album Elvis for Everyone five years later, and "A Cane And A High Starched Collar" would be released on Elvis: A Legendary Performer Volume 2. Finally, "Britches" saw release on Elvis: A Legendary Performer Volume 3 in 1979.

The song "Flaming Star" would be the title track of Elvis Sings Flaming Star, available at first only through select retail stores featuring products by the Singer sewing machine company as a promotional tie-in with Presley's 1968 Christmas television special, which Singer had sponsored. This album would begin the series of Presley budget releases on the RCA Camden subsidiary label.

Personnel[edit]

Track listing[edit]

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Recording date Length
1. "Flaming Star"   Sherman Edwards and Sid Wayne October 7, 1960 2:25
2. "Summer Kisses Winter Tears"   Ben Weisman, Fred Wise, Jack Lloyd August 8, 1960 2:17
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Recording date Length
1. "Are You Lonesome Tonight?"   Lou Handman and Roy Turk April 4, 1960 3:05
2. "It's Now or Never"   Eduardo di Capua, Aaron Schroeder, Wally Gold April 3, 1960 3:15

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ IMDb
  2. ^ Solomon, Aubrey. Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History (The Scarecrow Filmmakers Series). Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 1989. ISBN 978-0-8108-4244-1. p. 252
  3. ^ Solomon, Aubrey. Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History (The Scarecrow Filmmakers Series). Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 1989. ISBN 978-0-8108-4244-1. p228. Please note figures are rentals accruing to distributors.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Victor, Adam, The Elvis Encyclopaedia, p.167
  5. ^ Victor, Adam, The Elvis Encyclopaedia, p.190
  6. ^ Jorgensen, Ernst. Elvis Presley A Life in Music: The Complete Recording Sessions. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1998; p. 137.
  7. ^ Jorgensen, op. cit., p.414.

External links[edit]

Movie reviews
DVD reviews