Flaming Star


1h 41m 1960

Brief Synopsis

Sam Burton's second wife Neddy is Indian, their son Pacer a half-breed. As struggle starts between the whites and the Kiowas, the Burton family is split between loyalties. Neddy and Sam are killed; Pacer sides with the Indians, his half-brother Clint with the whites.

Film Details

Also Known As
Black Heart, Black Star, Flaming Heart, Flaming Lance, The Brothers of Broken Lance, The Brothers of Flaming Arrow
Release Date
Dec 1960
Premiere Information
New York opening: 16 Dec 1960; Los Angeles opening: 21 Dec 1960
Production Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Location
Thousand Oaks--The Conejo Ranch, California, United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Flaming Lance by Clair Huffaker (New York, 1958).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 41m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (DeLuxe)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1
Film Length
8,263ft

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 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.

Film Details

Also Known As
Black Heart, Black Star, Flaming Heart, Flaming Lance, The Brothers of Broken Lance, The Brothers of Flaming Arrow
Release Date
Dec 1960
Premiere Information
New York opening: 16 Dec 1960; Los Angeles opening: 21 Dec 1960
Production Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Location
Thousand Oaks--The Conejo Ranch, California, United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Flaming Lance by Clair Huffaker (New York, 1958).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 41m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (DeLuxe)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1
Film Length
8,263ft

Quotes

Trivia

Originally planned as a vehicle for Marlon Brando, not Elvis Presley.

Elvis had another song number in the film, "Summer Wishes, Winter Tears", which was cut after preview audiences laughed at the staging (Elvis singing to the Indians around a campfire, accompanied by a chief on war drums). A studio version of the tune was recorded, but the original 'Indian' version was only resurrected recently on the German 'Elvis: Double Features' CD collection.

The original title for this movie was "Black Star". Elvis even recorded a song with that name. When the title was changed, he re-recorded the song, using the same words and melody, but changing the word "black" with "flaming". The song "Black Star" was unreleased for years, until it appeared on the Elvis boxset "Collectors Gold" in 1991.

Barbara Steele walked off the picture after an argument with director 'Don Siegel' . She was replaced by 'Barbara Eden' .

Notes

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 Hollywood Reporter news item, Nunnally Johnson was initially slated to write, produce and direct the film. A May 1958 Daily Variety 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 June 1960 Hollywood Reporter news item.
       Another June 1960 Hollywood Reporter news item credits Buddy Adler as film's executive producer, but Adler died on July 12, 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 August 1960 Hollywood Reporter news item noted that Diane Baker was originally to co-star with Presley. Although a Hollywood Reporter 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 August 1960 Daily Variety news item, the picture was shot on location at the Conejo Ranch in Thousand Oaks, CA. A November 1960 Daily Variety 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.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Winter December 1960

CinemaScope

Released in United States Winter December 1960