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KPM
02-07-2012, 01:32 PM
I just ran across a book from 1991 " A Siegel Film" commentaries by Don Siegel about his many films which were compiled and released a couple years after he died.
Chapter 21 is about the making of "Flaming Star" and the problems which came with it.

The Flaming Star script was rewritten after Elvis was signed but the studio had other ideas also......originally the studio wanted "10" songs in the film-which Siegel with Elvis's help kept from happening-only the title song over the credits and the party song early in the film were allowed.
Also the dark haired European actress Barbara Steele was cast in the female part which Barbara Eden finally took over. Siegel felt Steele was too inexperienced an actress, too tall, and her attempts at a Texas accent were horrid-after a few days of shooting the studio agreed after seeing her performance in screening the scenes shot. Steele went on to make many horror films such as Vincent Prices "The Pit and the Pendelum"
Siegel was very uncertain about the casting of Elvis....but was surprised and pleased by his determination and sensitivity as an actor. He was very happy with Elvis the actor and had praise for him.
“Presley surprised me with his sensitivity as an actor,” Siegel admitted. “Colonel Parker … thought there should definitely be more songs. He was wrong on two counts:
Elvis could have become an acting star, not just a singing star; also, he would have been happier.”

asian1
02-07-2012, 03:36 PM
One of my favorite Elvis films. It was directed very well with some good, solid acting and a great cast.

hounddog
02-08-2012, 03:29 AM
such a shame that Flaming Star & Wild in the Country didn't make more money. If they had maybe Elvis' movie career would haev taken a differant direction.

Cause it seemes Hollywood only ever looked at profit in reguards to Elvis and not his potential as an actor.

KPM
02-09-2012, 01:33 PM
such a shame that Flaming Star & Wild in the Country didn't make more money. If they had maybe Elvis' movie career would haev taken a differant direction.

Cause it seemes Hollywood only ever looked at profit in reguards to Elvis and not his potential as an actor.
Hollywood-and Col Parker.
Parker took a contradictory view of Elvis's future-he wanted Elvis to branch into a more mainstream appeal of the wholesome all American male so the sideburns were gone, the live shows were gone, Elvis concentrated on a more pop less rock sound and the Hollywood image was born.
Elvis makes a few more films and the teen flavored musicals make the most money-so Parker makes a point to Elvis that you see the teenagers don't want you to act, they don't want drama they want you to sing.....so forget the drama.
Yet a few films is hardly a real barometer for final decisions about career path-but it seems in Parkers mind that closed the door.
If Parker had really believed his idea of more mainstream appeal for a larger audience he would have seen that acting in movies that stretched Elvis's talent should have been part of a plan for long range growth and longevity in the entertainment industry.....not to mention the self esteem and growth of Elvis Presley.
Instead Parker slammed the door closed after a few films.....so many others saw the natural ability of Elvis.... Elia Kazan, Richard Wise, the producer and director of Midnight Cowboys, Siegel, the director of "The Defiant Ones" first wanted Elvis and Sammy Davis for that film, Truman Capote said he actually thought of Elvis for the Robert Blake role in his "In Cold Blood" .....on and on the list goes of people who thought Elvis acting talent and huge potential.
Yet because the Colonel could point to less profit (not failure just less profit) from the few dramatic attempts the door was closed.
Short term thinking, with long term consequences and negative results.

asian1
02-09-2012, 02:25 PM
KPM: Good observations, However, in the case of casting Elvis and Sammy in The Defiant Ones, I don't think that Elvis was up to the challenge as the seasoned Tony Curtis. Perhaps after some more meaningful roles with the right director, he would have become a wonderful actor. As for Sammy Davis, I don't think he could ever be in the same league as Poitier.

It was a certainly a loss to the movie fans for not casting Elvis into substantive projects. After watching his performances in King Creole, Flaming Star, Wild In the Country, Kid Galahad, I think he displayed a very good sense for dramtic and comedic film roles. Likewise, the songs for those earlier films were also more imbued with a creative flare than the later ones.

asian1
02-09-2012, 02:28 PM
Any thoughts on Elvis in Westside Story? I think it would have suited him well, Ofcourse that role would have him die in the end and I don't think Parker would have stood for his demise.

Raised on Rock
02-09-2012, 02:59 PM
Any thoughts on Elvis in Westside Story? I think it would have suited him well, Ofcourse that role would have him die in the end and I don't think Parker would have stood for his demise.

YES, it is most telling that Elvis was the first and main choice for the staring role on West Side Story in '61, which was like, the most succesful movie of the 60's!!!!

Elvis was perfect for the role, he could sing (while most actors had their singing dubbed by someone else), he could dance (while some of the actors had extras to do the scenes), he could fight, and most certainly, we could act, his dramatic abilities at that point, right after WIld in The COuntry, that mix of naivety and intensity, was PERFECT for the rol. In terms of economics, well he would have singed and danced as in any musical, but at the same time satisfy Elvis aspirations for artistic/dramatics aspirations, it was winner! it was King Creole with the big plus of new mainstream high art directions for latter days! Elvis in West Side Story, it was killer offer.

West SIde Story was the one to take Elvis to where he wanted to be during the 60's, saying no to that for the pittyful Hawaiian one was, as KMP says, SHORT TERM THINKING WITH BAD; BAD CONSEQUENCES. Sure BLue Hawaii was second most succesfull film after West SIde STory that year, sure, and the soundtrack was nominated for a grammy (lost to West SIde Story), not bad but errrr...

I think it says a lot that even after all the bad movies, by '67 and '68 he was still being primaly considered for serious roles in movies like Midnight Cowboy, In COld Blood or COld Hand Luke, by '70 Siegel wanted Elvis for Dirty Harry, yet Col. PArker kept on saying NO!!! when it was the most desirable move!! Now it was the all clean image he wanted for Elvis, ironically, today we know it was when he played mean, musically at least, he shined the most! lol

Diane
02-09-2012, 04:18 PM
So sad that Elvis was controlled by the Colonel and Wallis at that time in his life when he really wanted to be a serious actor...and could have been had it not been for tunnel vision people.

KPM
02-10-2012, 12:34 PM
KPM: Good observations, However, in the case of casting Elvis and Sammy in The Defiant Ones, I don't think that Elvis was up to the challenge as the seasoned Tony Curtis. Perhaps after some more meaningful roles with the right director, he would have become a wonderful actor. As for Sammy Davis, I don't think he could ever be in the same league as Poitier.

It was a certainly a loss to the movie fans for not casting Elvis into substantive projects. After watching his performances in King Creole, Flaming Star, Wild In the Country, Kid Galahad, I think he displayed a very good sense for dramtic and comedic film roles. Likewise, the songs for those earlier films were also more imbued with a creative flare than the later ones.
Since it was never given careful consideration by Parker-we never got the chance to see. (as with all other serious film offers)
But my point was-even if Elvis and Sammy perhaps would not have given performances comparible to Poitier and Curtis-the people who were putting up the money for the film and the director-did think the two were up to the task....showing their belief in Elvis the actor.