Twilight Time Blu-ray: Flaming Star (1960)

Flaming Star (1960)

Blu-ray Company Release: Twilight Time

Starring: John McIntire, Elvis Presley, Dolores Del Rio, Barbara Eden, Steve Forest

Plot: half-white/half-Kiowa youth in post-Civil War Texas, caught up in a tragic war between whites and Indians, his loyalties and allegiances tested at every turn.

My Review and Thoughts: 

Film: (4/5)

Well this stars the one and only master voice talent singer, icon and ultimate legend in the music world Elvis Presley. Now I am not a huge fan of Elvis as an actor. Never really cared for his movies but there are two or three that I consider greats and this being one of them. Many people believe this is his best performance and I cannot disagree with that. He had a talent that transcended the music world but never really got the chance to show his shinning colors because he was always type cast, as the singer or the cute boy after the girls.

Flaming Star is a wonderful film that comes together and expresses itself as something memorable and most of all entertaining. Elvis along with all the other performers are able to give the viewer solid performances as if, what's happening on screen is real. I think that is the ultimate plus to Flaming Star is that the viewer can understand and accept the reality taking place on screen. The viewer can relate to the characters as you become a part of them and their ordeals taking place.

Elvis stands out as the character of Pacer Burton. He adds all the dramatic tones of a character that stands out to the viewer. Elvis really acted in this part and that is why it stands out from all his other countless films. He gives a dramatic gift to Pacer who plays a mixed White and Native American persona. His mother is Kiowa Native American and his father is a white Texas Rancher in the story. Now the character of Pacer at first lives out his life in a peaceful manner but soon the ordeal hardens as local Native Americans which just happen to be his blood tribe, start to cause havoc. Soon Pacer is stuck between two worlds. His Texas white rancher side and his Native American Tribe side.

This is directed by a film legend Don Siegel. The story and film is adapted from the book Flaming Star by Clair Huffaker. Now I feel Siegel needs no introduction when it comes to film. If one calls themselves a movie buff then you should know this director who created some of the most memorable films in cinema such as the classic Dirty Harry (1971) which might I add is one of the greatest films. We need to look farther back to the 50’s and speak of the ultimate black and white sci-fi classic and all around amazing and freaky film, the original The Invasion of the Body Snatchers. His direction and vision of Body Snatchers still lingers today as being something so amazing for its time and even impresses today. A little trivia in the 1978 remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Siegel makes a cameo as the taxi driver pod person. Invasion of the Body Snatchers should showcase his talent to you, if for some reason you don’t know who he is. He would also become the man that directed the legend of film Clint Eastwood in many films from Dirty Harry to Coogan’s Bluff, Two Mules for Sister Sara, The Beguiled, and Escape from Alcatraz. Now this friendship would last and on a little trivia note, Siegel can be seen in a cameo appearance in Clint Eastwood’s Play Misty for Me as the bar tender. I think what made Siegel such a gifted and different type of director is he directed just about anything and everything from documentaries, TV shows, TV movies, films and so on. He was a master, versatile director that owned the lens and all those creating the film with his ultimate perfection and Flaming Star is no different. Flaming Star is one of his achievements in film. 

Twilight Time released and honored this film with this amazing Blu-ray that stands out as being something movie lovers should own. It’s truly a spectacular, fun, drama induced story of classic film. Siegel gave his all to the film and Elvis mastered a wonderful character on screen. Twilight Time does a masterful job at honoring this film and creating a perfect and beautiful Blu-ray of amazing quality and sound that just expresses the passion of film.

I think on an interesting note is Elvis was not the main choice to play the part. Originally it was to be Frank Sinatra and Marlon Brando in the film which I feel after watching Flaming Star many times I don’t think anyone else could have captured the beauty of Elvis’s performance. Elvis gave a great persona to the character and he created someone to remember when the film ends. I think he was the right choice. Now Elvis wanted to be a dramatic star and one who would be taken serious in his acting but was always cast in musicals or movies filled with him singing. Flaming Star was that chance to express his acting ability. There are only two songs being sung in Flaming Star and that was a cut down from the original script which called for more, but Elvis was able to get it reduced. Sadly it’s the lack of Elvis singing that turned audiences away. The public where geared to see Elvis sing, not act and so Flaming Star was not a success at the box office. Speaking today as time has passed Elvis was more than just a singer and it was films like Flaming Star that expressed his ultimate inner talent of wanting to be a part of Hollywood and just act, but Hollywood and the public would never really give him the chance.  

This also stars the beautiful and amazing actress and singer Barbara Eden. She like Siegel should need no introduction, because she is a golden ticket of perfection. Many will know her as the Jeannie from the cult TV series I Dream of Jeannie. She is such a beauty at acting in so many wonderful productions. Flaming Star is another one of those roles that shine for the viewer in her total talent of performing. Also starring the one and only character actor, master legend and one of the memorable faces of cinema as the side character or the original, “oh yeah it has that guy in it”, John McIntire. He mastered the character roles of Sheriffs, judges, law enforcement and just about any type of role when it came to the western film. He was a stable and a pioneer of performing. Started acting in the 40’s and went on to act up until 1989. Sadly this acting legend would pass in 1991. His career spanned many years performing in over 140 films, TV and Voice overs. From parts in 1960’s masterpiece Psycho to the long running TV show Wagon Train. Now interesting to note is he married actress Jeanette Nolan who also was in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho in voice only, she was the one and only voice of Norman’s mama, Norma Bates. John along with his wife Jeanette would do voice talents to some on my favorite Disney animated films. John would do the voice of Rufus in Disney’s Rescuers and Jeanette would do the voice of Muskrat Ellie Mae in Disney’s The Rescuers. John would also do the voice of Badger in Disney’s The Fox and the Hound and his wife Jeanette would do the voice of Widow Tweed. He was a gifted and extraordinary actor that left a shining reality in film and his performance in Flaming Star is no different as all others who grace this film.

Twilight Time did an awesome job at restoring this beauty and giving it an ultimate outlet it deserved. Now this generation can experience the beauty of this film from its amazing direction, to its flawless acting, to its drama induced story. This is clearly another gifted Blu-ray of Twilight Time perfection. Twilight Time truly knows how to express the beauty of film as an art form. They give a true outlet to films sadly overlooked.

Audio/Video: (5/5)

The best I have ever seen this film. The audio is spectacular and the imagery is crisp and clear and vibrant and beautiful as if it came out today in the theaters. A wonderful job by Twilight Time Blu-ray, could not have been any better.

VIDEO: 1080p High Definition / 2.35:1
AUDIO: English 5.1 DTS-HD MA / English 2.0 DTS-HD MA
1960 / Color

Extras: (3/5)

A nice commentary to listen to. Very informative for the film lover and cinema historian. I really liked the isolated score which Twilight Time never fails to ace this reality. Not only are the films worth buying, but the isolated scores should make you want to seek out their Blu-rays just for it. 

Isolated Score Track
Audio Commentary with Film Historians Lem Dobbs and Nick Redman
Original Theatrical Trailers
Liner Notes by Julie Kirgo

Overall Product Rating: (4/5)

A wonderful Texas Western of Cowboys and Indians with a story of two worlds coming together. Add in amazing direction and music and you have a truly memorable film of the 60’s. Flawless direction, acting, and production. Twilight Time gives a new outlet to this old film and creates a quality that shines as if the film is new; like it was when it came out.

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