Flaming Star 1960 Directed by Don Siegel, Flaming Star is the grittiest of Elvis Presley’s post-Army films. Elvis plays Pacer Burton, a half-breed youth in the old West, torn between loyalty to the whites, as represented by his father (John McIntyre), and the Indians, represented by his mother (Dolores Del Rio). A series of brutal Kiowa raids, and the subsequent reprisals by the white settlers, sorely test Pacer’s fortitude. Though offered moral support from his loved ones, Pacer is forced to work things out himself. The film was based on a novel by Clair Huffaker.
Though the movie provided Elvis with one of his few opportunities to serious drama, the film’s producers and Colonel Parker were nervous about the reaction of fans. To hedge their bets, they attempted to insert four songs into the film. Director Siegel was not pleased with that decision and fought to keep the songs out even after he had shot them. The final version of the film contains two songs. Siegel realized from his experiences with Flaming Star that Elvis’ chance of pursuing a serious acting career were doomed. He later told Rolling Stone magazine, “I found Elvis sensitive and very good, with the exception that he was very unsure of himself… He felt he could have done better things. His advisor… namely the Colonel were very much against doing this kind of straight role. They tried to get him to sing throughout the picture. Obviously, they didn’t want him to get off the winning horse. But when I was able to calm him down, I thought he gave a beautiful performance… ”