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Saturday, April 23, 2016

Flaming Star (1960)

When hostilities arise between Kiowa Indians and white settlers, a bi-racial family is caught right in the middle: a Caucasian rancher (John McIntire) and his son (Steve Forrest) from a previous marriage, his Kiowa wife (Dolores Del Rio) and their son (Elvis Presley). The bi-racial son in particular is torn between his two worlds and belonging to neither but that will soon change. This Don Siegel directed western is still one of the most undervalued westerns to date. I suppose it's the taint of Elvis in the movie that keeps it from its rightful place among the best westerns but this isn't an Elvis movie and he's excellent in it in his very best performance. Aside from the over the credits title song, he only sings one song within the movie, a ditty at a birthday party. The emphasis is on acting, not his music. At its core, it's a movie about family loyalties withstanding hate from both sides. By the time of its bleak conclusion, there are no heroes and no winners. Based on the novel by Clair Huffaker, who also co-wrote the screenplay along with Nunnally Johnson. A must see for western fans. With Barbara Eden, Richard Jaeckel, Douglas Dick, Rodolfo Acosta and Virginia Christine.

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