Flaming Star Was Meant for Brando, Not Elvis

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Released in 1960, Flaming Star was Elvis Presley’s sixth film and his second Western.

Originally, the film was to star Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra. Instead, Presley and Steve Forrest were cast to play the brothers. Robert Wagner was offered the part, but he turned it down because he believed the King would overshadow his part altogether.

Working titles for the movie included Flaming Lance, Flaming Heart, and Flaming Arrow. Presley actually recorded a song entitled “Black Star,” but when the title changed he re-recorded it, swapping out “black” for “flaming.”

Two other songs were almost featured in the film. “Summer Kisses, Winter Tears” was cut when preview audiences mocked the scene which depicted Elvis singing to Native Americans around a fire. “Britches” was to be another song, but Elvis refused to perform it because he felt the staging (singing it while riding horseback) was silly.

Andy Warhol used a production image of Elvis from this film to create his famous diptych.