HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Bruce Lee & I
Doraemon The Movie: Nobita's Dinosaur
Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood
Invasion Planet Earth
Ferdinand
Buddhist Spell, The
Steel and Lace
Reivers, The
Angel Has Fallen
I Lost My Body
At First Light
Free Ride
Crawl
Transit
Blank Check
Mad Monk, The
Wind, The
Holly and the Ivy, The
Atlantique
Now, Voyager
Wolf's Call, The
Nostalghia
Nightingale, The
Eighth Grade
Irishman, The
Betrayed
Lords of Chaos
Operation Petticoat
Dead Don't Die, The
On the Waterfront
Last Faust, The
Moonlighting
Art of Self-Defense, The
Ironweed
Booksmart
Prisoners
Beach Bum, The
Kill Ben Lyk
Into the Mirror
Support the Girls
   
 
Newest Articles
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
Shit-Eating Grim: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom on Blu-ray
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
   
 
  Flaming Star That's not alright, MamaBuy this film here.
Year: 1960
Director: Don Siegel
Stars: Elvis Presley, Steve Forrest, Barbara Eden, Dolores Del Rio, John McIntire, Rodolfo Acosta, Karl Swenson, Ford Rainey, Richard Jaekel, Anne Benton, L.Q. Jones, Douglas Dick
Genre: Western
Rating:  7 (from 2 votes)
Review: Pacer Burton (Elvis Presley) and his half-brother Clint (Steve Forrest) ride home to a birthday celebration with their parents and friends the Howard family and Ros Pierce (Barbara Eden). After Clint’s mother died, Sam Burton (John McIntire) married Neddy (Dolores Del Rio), a Kiowa Indian, but while the family are close-knit some locals are uneasy about Pacer’s mixed-race parentage. Tensions flare when the new Kiowa chief, Buffalo Horn (Rodolfo Acosta) goes on the warpath and slaughters the Howard clan. Pacer and his mother find themselves caught in the middle of an ugly race war that tears their family apart.

When most people dismiss Elvis Presley’s movie career they are more often considering his post-Blue Hawaii (1962) run of forgettable fluff. However, Elvis’ early films were pretty solid. Flaming Star ranks alongside King Creole (1958) as his most substantial cinematic effort and that is partly because it is the only Elvis movie actually about something: racism. Based on a novel by Clair Hunnaker, who co-scripted alongside Nunally Johnson, the film cleverly allies the rootlessness of its half-breed hero with the image fostered in the public eye of Elvis as rebellious youth incarnate which, whether accurate or not, had taken on an almost mythic grandeur.

Acting on Elvis’ own instructions, the great Don Siegel dispenses with the token musical numbers early on (although the theme song is pretty good) and gets down to the dramatic meat. He brings the same tough, uncompromising edge that he brought to his other westerns and crime pictures. The opening massacre of an entire family is genuinely nightmarish and brutal. Later on, Elvis holds a child hostage at gunpoint. Though we know there is no way he would ever hurt her, the tension remains unnerving. He does not even get the girl. Future I Dream of Jeannie star Barbara Eden (who replaced a miscast Barbara Steele!) is in love with older brother Clint, much to Pacer’s quiet despair. Pacer is torn between the racist townsfolk and the Kiowa who may tolerate him and his mother but threaten the rest of his family.

Like John Wayne in The Searchers (1956), Pacer is an outcast in both worlds but also the only character able to move between those worlds. That gives him an advantage. Unlike The Searchers, which concludes on an optimistic note embracing the idea of an intergrated America, Flaming Star is about destruction. After opening with the image of a happy family celebrating togetherness, it tracks their gradual disintegration via distrust, tragedy and death. Only after a great American icon has been served as a sacrificial lamb does the film offer any possiblity of a brighter future. Unsurprisingly, Elvis fans were unaccustomed to seeing their idol in such a downbeat movie and although all his films made money, this was not among his highest grossers. So Colonel Tom Parker (here credited as technical advisor - yeah, right) put him back on the musical comedy treadmill and the rest is history.

Brooding and charismatic, Elvis gives arguably his most anguished and affecting performance. He also got to show off his action hero credentials, whether kicking the crap out of racist scumbags who dared molest his mama or becoming a bare-chested virtual one-many army as he wipes out a succession of stuntmen. Siegel may have pushed the envelope as far as violence was concerned but also delivered a more balanced and thoughtful account of the Kiowa struggle than was the norm at this stage in Hollywood westerns. Dolores Del Rio is every bit as outstanding as Elvis imbues her role with stirring grace and dignity.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 2014 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Don Siegel  (1912 - 1991)

Respected American director, a former editor, whose action thrillers were second to none. He started out in lower budget movies like The Big Steal, Riot in Cell Bock 11 and The Lineup but come the sixties he started making higher profile work such as the remake of The Killers and Madigan. His fruitful partnership with Clint Eastwood gave us Dirty Harry and Escape from Alcatraz, among others. Another of his finest 1970s films was Charley Varrick.

Siegel had small acting roles in Play Misty for Me and Philip Kaufman's Invasion of the Body Snatchers - he had directed the classic original in the 1950s.

 
Review Comments (2)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
  Rachel Franke
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: