Flamin’ Action: The Film, “Flaming Star”

I disesteem Elvis Presley‘s charmless and shallow acting in Flaming Star (1960), but the movie manages to be one of the better Westerns of the Sixties.  With the help of Nunnally Johnson, Clair Huffaker scripted her own, probably not boring novel, and it was shot effectively for Cinemascope by Don Siegel.

Presley plays a half-white, half-Kiowa young man.  Chief Buffalo Horn (Roldolpho  Acosta) is vexed by the white man’s land expansion and fears for the Kiowas’ survival.  The whites react to Indian violence with obtuseness and hardheartedness, but the film does not side with the Kiowas.  It mostly sides with Pacer (Presley) and his white relatives, justifiably sympathetic to the half breed when he joins the harsh Indians for battle.  See the movie to find out what flaming star means.

The flick is unpretty-looking without rawness, and the action scenes are bluntly, thrillingly done; good for 1960.  Star isn’t dated, though; it’s nearly as watchable, I bet, as it was on Cinemascope.  And it has a thoughtful screenplay.

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