***½/**** Image B Sound B+
starring Elvis Presley, Dolores Del Rio, John McIntire, Steve Forrest
screenplay by Clair Huffaker and Nunnally Johnson, based on the novel Flaming Lance by Huffaker
directed by Don Siegel
by Bill Chambers SPOILER WARNING IN EFFECT. In his compulsively readable autobiography A Siegel Film, Flaming Star director Don Siegel recounts a conversation he had with the film's producer, David Weisbart. Told that Elvis Presley has replaced Marlon Fucking Brando as the lead in their Nunnally Johnson-scripted western, a baffled Siegel observes, "He's no Marlon Brando."
"On the other hand, Brando's no Presley," Weisbart retorts, creating a kind of Lewis Carroll logic loop from which the only escape is to concur. Siegel is later ironically relieved to hear that the esteemed Johnson has bailed on the project in protest, as it confirms he's not the only one not taking the recasting lightly.