Flaming Star (1960)

Elvis topless

“And when a man, sees his flaming star he knows his time, his time has come”

Flaming Star is a Western directed by Don Siegel. Released December 20th, 1960 (yes, just one short month after G.I. Blues was released), Flaming Star stars Elvis as Pacer Burton. This story is based on the book Flaming Lance (1958) by Clair Huffaker. This dramatic western shows the struggle of a mixed-blood man trying to find where he belongs. Elvis sought roles where he would not be required to sing as much. Flaming Star initially had four songs but was left to the title song and a short number in the beginning.

Flaming Star


Elvis and costar flaming Star The dramatic film takes place in Texas following the Civil War. It shows the struggle of Pacer trying to figure out his place. Between the Kiowa tribe his mother is from and the Texan father, Pacer is stuck in the middle. Originally in the running to play Pacer’s stepbrother were Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra; neither were cast. Barbara Eden (I Dream of Jeannie) stars are Roslyn Pierce, Pacer’s love interest. After trying to be the peacekeeper between the tribe and the settlers, consequently, Pacer is pulled toward the “flaming star of death”. Due to the uproar following Elvis’s death in Love Me Tender, Pacer walks away into the distance signifying his death.

Flaming Star Original Trailer


Critics said this was one of Elvis’s best performances. Flaming Star is certainly one of Elvis’s best films in regards to talent. He was so raw with his performance that growing up it was almost difficult to watch. Since Elvis was not singing as much, I pacer-for-gods-sake remember this not being my favorite movie as a child. Now that I am older, I have a better appreciation for it . It was not a musical, therefore Elvis did not randomly break out in song. Though I love those films as well, this is what Elvis wanted.

Elvis indicated he wanted to be taken seriously as an actor, which is why only two songs were included in this film. (The B-side to the album was  Are You Lonesome Tonight? and It’s Now or Never.) Understanding Elvis and knowing the backstory to his life, movies, and music has made me a better Elvis fan. This has really impacted the way I think about certain moments of his life. Elvis’s determination to not be singing in his films reminds me of how talented he truly was outside of his singing abilities.



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