Flaming Star (1960)

92 or 101 mins | Western | December 1960

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HISTORY

The working titles of this film were The Brothers of Flaming Arrow , Flaming Lance , Flaming Heart , The Brothers of Broken Lance , Black Star and Black Heart . According to a May 1958 HR news item, Nunnally Johnson was initially slated to write, produce and direct the film. A May 1958 DV news item added that Johnson wanted Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra to play the brothers. After Johnson bowed out as producer-director, the studio opened negotiations with Michael Curtiz to direct the production, according to a Jun 1960 HR news item.
       Another Jun 1960 HR news item credits Buddy Adler as film's executive producer, but Adler died on 12 Jul 1960, prior to the start of principal photography. The extent of his contribution to the production prior to that time has not been determined. An Aug 1960 HR news item noted that Diane Baker was originally to co-star with Presley. Although a HR production chart placed Barbara Steele and Anne Seymour in the cast, they were not in the released film. Flaming Star marked Dolores Del Rio's first American screen appearance since the 1947 film The Fugitive (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films , 1941-50).
       According to an Aug 1960 DV news item, the picture was shot on location at the Conejo Ranch in Thousand Oaks, CA. A Nov 1960 DV news item noted that two songs, "Britches" and "Summer Kisses, Winter Dreams," were cut from the film after a sneak preview. ... More Less

The working titles of this film were The Brothers of Flaming Arrow , Flaming Lance , Flaming Heart , The Brothers of Broken Lance , Black Star and Black Heart . According to a May 1958 HR news item, Nunnally Johnson was initially slated to write, produce and direct the film. A May 1958 DV news item added that Johnson wanted Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra to play the brothers. After Johnson bowed out as producer-director, the studio opened negotiations with Michael Curtiz to direct the production, according to a Jun 1960 HR news item.
       Another Jun 1960 HR news item credits Buddy Adler as film's executive producer, but Adler died on 12 Jul 1960, prior to the start of principal photography. The extent of his contribution to the production prior to that time has not been determined. An Aug 1960 HR news item noted that Diane Baker was originally to co-star with Presley. Although a HR production chart placed Barbara Steele and Anne Seymour in the cast, they were not in the released film. Flaming Star marked Dolores Del Rio's first American screen appearance since the 1947 film The Fugitive (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films , 1941-50).
       According to an Aug 1960 DV news item, the picture was shot on location at the Conejo Ranch in Thousand Oaks, CA. A Nov 1960 DV news item noted that two songs, "Britches" and "Summer Kisses, Winter Dreams," were cut from the film after a sneak preview. This may account for the nine minute variance in running times. Contemporary and modern critics praised Presley's acting in the picture. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
26 Dec 1960.
---
Daily Variety
27 May 1958.
---
Daily Variety
16 Aug 1960.
---
Daily Variety
29 Nov 1960.
---
Daily Variety
19 Dec 1960
p. 3.
Film Daily
20 Dec 1960
p. 6.
Harrison's Reports
24 Dec 60
pp. 207-08.
Hollywood Citizen-News
22 Dec 1960.
---
Hollywood Reporter
7 May 1958.
---
Hollywood Reporter
13 Jun 1960.
---
Hollywood Reporter
16 Jun 1960
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Aug 1960
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Aug 1960
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Aug 1960.
---
Hollywood Reporter
23 Sep 1960
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Dec 1960
p. 3.
Los Angeles Examiner
22 Dec 1960.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
24 Dec 1960
p. 964.
New York Times
16 Dec 1960
p. 45.
New York Times
17 Dec 1960
p. 19.
The Exhibitor
11 Jan 1961
pp. 4781-82.
Variety
21 Dec 1960
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
2d unit dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
Cost des
DANCE
Dances staged by
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hair styles
PRODUCTION MISC
Tech adv
Dial coach
Scr supv
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Flaming Lance by Clair Huffaker (New York, 1958).
SONGS
"Flaming Star," words and music by Sherman Edwards and Sid Wayne
"A Cane and a High Starched Collar," words and music by Sid Tepper and Roy Bennett
vocal accompaniment to Elvis Presley's songs by The Jordanaires.
PERFORMER
COMPOSERS
+
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Black Heart
Black Star
Flaming Heart
Flaming Lance
The Brothers of Broken Lance
The Brothers of Flaming Arrow
Release Date:
December 1960
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 16 December 1960
Los Angeles opening: 21 December 1960
Production Date:
16 August--4 October 1960
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century--Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
16 December 1960
Copyright Number:
LP18199
Physical Properties:
Sound
Westrex Recording System
Color
De Luxe
Widescreen/ratio
CinemaScope
Duration(in mins):
92 or 101
Length(in feet):
8,263
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
19729
SYNOPSIS

As Clint and Pacer Burton approach their Texas ranch on a moonlit night in 1878, they become worried by the silence that engulfs the house. They enter cautiously, and are surprised by family and friends who have come to celebrate Clint's birthday. Joining Sam Burton and his Kiowa wife Neddy are Will Howard and his family, along with the Pierces: Dred, Angus and Roslyn, who is Clint's sweetheart. After the party, the neighbors head home, but the Howards are attacked by Kiowa Indians, and everyone but Will is killed. The Burtons are concerned when the new Kiowa chief, the warlike Buffalo Horn, appears near the ranch, but it is not until the following day, when Clint and Pacer ride into town for supplies, that they learn about the massacre of the Howard family. Dred and Angus are hostile toward Pacer, who, as Neddy's son, is half Kiowa, and even though Clint, Sam's son from a previous marriage, is white, they hint that perhaps he, too, was somehow involved in the attack. Crushed by the news that her friends have been killed, Neddy wonders whether she and Sam did the right thing when twenty years before, they wed, but Sam assures her that the Burton family always will stick together. The family's strength is tested on the following night, when a gang of settlers questions their loyalty in the coming war with the Kiowas. When Matt Holcom insults Sam and Neddy, Clint wounds him with his gun, whereupon the settlers kill most of the Burtons' cattle. While Sam and Clint search for surviving livestock, Neddy and Pacer offer food to two hungry trappers, but ... +


As Clint and Pacer Burton approach their Texas ranch on a moonlit night in 1878, they become worried by the silence that engulfs the house. They enter cautiously, and are surprised by family and friends who have come to celebrate Clint's birthday. Joining Sam Burton and his Kiowa wife Neddy are Will Howard and his family, along with the Pierces: Dred, Angus and Roslyn, who is Clint's sweetheart. After the party, the neighbors head home, but the Howards are attacked by Kiowa Indians, and everyone but Will is killed. The Burtons are concerned when the new Kiowa chief, the warlike Buffalo Horn, appears near the ranch, but it is not until the following day, when Clint and Pacer ride into town for supplies, that they learn about the massacre of the Howard family. Dred and Angus are hostile toward Pacer, who, as Neddy's son, is half Kiowa, and even though Clint, Sam's son from a previous marriage, is white, they hint that perhaps he, too, was somehow involved in the attack. Crushed by the news that her friends have been killed, Neddy wonders whether she and Sam did the right thing when twenty years before, they wed, but Sam assures her that the Burton family always will stick together. The family's strength is tested on the following night, when a gang of settlers questions their loyalty in the coming war with the Kiowas. When Matt Holcom insults Sam and Neddy, Clint wounds him with his gun, whereupon the settlers kill most of the Burtons' cattle. While Sam and Clint search for surviving livestock, Neddy and Pacer offer food to two hungry trappers, but one of the visitors forces himself on Neddy, and Pacer is forced to drive them away with his fists. Buffalo Horn asks Pacer to fight with his warriors as they attempt one last time to drive the whites from their land. Anxious to prevent unnecessary killing, Neddy decides to visit her family at the Kiowa camp, but although the men there treat Pacer as their brother, the women turn their backs on Neddy. Before the two leave, Buffalo Horn denounces whites for moving more and more deeply into lands inhabited by Indians. Pacer's friend, Two Moons, accompanies them home, but as they approach the ranch, Will, maddened by the earlier massacre of his family, crawls from his hiding place and shoots Neddy. In the confusion, Two Moons is also shot, and Pacer kills Will. Clint and Sam arrive, and while Sam cares for his wife, who whispers that the flaming star of death is near, Clint and Pacer ride to town for Doc Phillips. The townspeople angrily send them away, but Pacer finally forces Phillips to accompany him. By the time the doctor, Roslyn and the two brothers return to the ranch, however, Neddy has risen from her bed, crawled toward the hills and died. Enraged, Pacer decides to join Buffalo Horn, and when Clint and Roslyn try to stop him, he threatens his brother with a gun. Sam gives Pacer his blessing but sadly observes as his son rides away that their efforts to build a family and a home have been in vain. Pacer takes the body of Two Moons back to the Kiowa camp, where he offers to take the warrior's place in battle. Meanwhile, as Clint delivers Roslyn to the crossing, a group of Kiowas, unaware of Buffalo Horn's promise to protect the Burton family, descends on the ranch and kills Sam. Alone now, Clint buries his father and rides off in search of revenge. As a war party rides by, Clint shoots at the chief, prompting the Indians, including Pacer, to give chase. When Clint is injured, Pacer takes him to a safe place and then leads the Indians in the other direction. Back at the ranch, Clint tells Pacer that Kiowas killed their father, whereupon Pacer, fed up, ties Clint to Roslyn's horse, sends the animal to the crossing and prepares to meet the advancing Indians alone. Upon waking at the Pierce home on the following day, Clint insists on returning to help Pacer, but as he stumbles out of the house, an injured man approaches on horseback. Slumped over the animal, Pacer reveals that he is dying. "You live for me, Clint," he urges. "Maybe someday, somewhere, people will understand folks like us." Then, following the flaming star of death, he rides toward the hills to die. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.