The art world was abuzz last year when a famous Andy Warhol print of Elvis Presley came to auction. The rare, double print showed pop star Elvis Presley as a gun-slinging cowboy. Expected to sell for millions, the “Double Elvis” sold for $37 million to an Andy Warhol collector who reportedly has the largest private collection of Andy Warhol prints in the world.
But this is not the entire story. If you probe further and ask the question, “Why did Andy Warhol make this print?” you’ll find an interesting background story. Andy Warhol was inspired to make “Double Elvis” by the western movie “Flaming Star” which starred Elvis Presley. Andy Warhol saw a photo of Elvis from the movie which captivated him and led to make a series of Elvis Presley cowboy prints. This print that recently sold for $37 million is one of 22 images of Elvis Presley created by Warhol.
In “Flaming Star,” Elvis Presley stars as a bi-racial cowboy (White and Native American) who finds himself drawn into the growing battle between the local settlers and Kiowa Native American tribe. He doesn’t want to have to choose sides, but finds himself increasingly pushed to do so. Co-starring in the movie is Barbara Eden, who later became famous as Jeannie in the sixties television series “I Dream of Jeannie.”
If you think “Flaming Star” is a light, musical western because it stars Elvis Presley, you’re wrong. Elvis sings two songs at the beginning of the film, but after that it’s all acting. In fact, there are many who believe that this movie showed Elvis Presley’s great potential as a serious, dramatic actor. If Elvis Presley had continued to make serious movies (okay with some singing), who knows, he may have become an award-winning actor too!
If you are a fan of Elvis Presley and like western movies, then you should definitely see “Flaming Star.” This movie was one of Presley’s first dramatic starring roles and his second western film. (Elvis Presley’s first starring role was in the western “Love Me Tender.”)
- If you’re interested in watching “Flaming Star,” it is available on DVD and through instant streaming. Click here to go to our “Flaming Star” movie page for details.
- If you want to find out more about the sale of the Andy Warhol “Double Elvis” print, click here to see an article about it at American Cowboy magazine.