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|Directed by||Don Siegel|
|Produced by||David Weisbart|
|Written by||Clair Huffaker (novel)
Dolores del Río
|Music by||Cyril J. Mockridge|
|Cinematography||Charles G. Clarke|
|Edited by||Hugh S. Fowler|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
|Box office||$2 million (US/ Canada)|
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.
Elvis Presley plays Pacer Burton, the son of a Kiowa mother and a Texan father working as a rancher. His family, including a half-brother, Clint, live a typical life on the Texan 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.
- Elvis Presley as Pacer Burton
- Barbara Eden as Roslyn Pierce
- Steve Forrest as Clint Burton
- Dolores del Río as Neddy Burton
- John McIntire as Sam "Pa" Burton
- L. Q. Jones as Tom Howard
- Douglas Dick as Will Howard
- Richard Jaeckel as Angus Pierce
- Rodolfo Acosta as Buffalo Horn
- Karl Swenson as Dred Pierce
- Ford Rainey as Doc Phillips
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. Originally Frank Sinatra and Marlon Brando were lined up to play the brothers.
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. However, determined to be taken seriously as an actor, Presley asked for roles with fewer songs. 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.
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. (Steele claims she quit.)
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. 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. 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. No longer would Presley be considered a serious actor.
Publicity stills of Elvis from the film were used by Andy Warhol to create several silkscreens, among them "Double Elvis", (many of which exist, one of them in particular selling for $37 million in 2013 at Sotheby's), "Triple Elvis", of which two are said to exist, one fetching $81.9 million in 2014 at Christie's, "Eight Elvises", which sold privately in late 2008 for $100 million and of which only one copy exists, several single Elvises and "Elvis 11 Times".
|Elvis By Request|
|EP by Elvis Presley|
|Elvis Presley chronology|
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. 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 by Presley and later released in the 1990s. The significantly darker lyrics of the "Black Star" version were seen by some commentators as part of the reference of David Bowie's Blackstar.
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. 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.
- Elvis Presley – vocals
- The Jordanaires – background vocals
- Howard Roberts – electric guitars
- Tiny Timbrell – acoustic guitars
- Jimmie Haskell – accordion
- Dudley Brooks – piano
- Myer Rubin – double bass
- Bernie Mattinson – drums
|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|
|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|
- 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
- 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.
- Victor, Adam, The Elvis Encyclopaedia, p.167
- Victor, Adam, The Elvis Encyclopaedia, p.190
- Jorgensen, Ernst. Elvis Presley A Life in Music: The Complete Recording Sessions. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1998; p. 137.
- Daily Telegraph 13 January 2016 Does a 1960s Elvis song hold the key to Bowie's Blackstar, and 5 other theories behind his mysterious farewell
- Jorgensen, op. cit., p.414.
- Flaming Star at the Internet Movie Database
- 'Flaming Star' co-star, Barbara Eden, remembers Elvis Presley at ElvisPresleyBiography.com.
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