BR: Follow That Dream (1962)

September 28, 2014 | By


FollowThatDream_BRFilm: Very Good

Transfer:  Excellent

Extras: Good

Label: Twilight Time

Region: All

Released:  August 12, 2014

Genre:  Comedy / Musical

Synopsis: A family of misfits become homesteaders on a small parcel of Floridian land, buckling local laws and gently battling a neighboring casino.

Special Features:  Isolated Mono Music & Effects Track / 8-page colour booklet with liner notes by film historian Julie Kirgo / Theatrical Trailer / Limited to 3000 copies / Available exclusively from Screen Archives Entertainment.




Based on the novel Pioneer, Go Home! by TV writer Richard Powell (who reportedly based his book on Herman Raucher’s same-titled play), there’s a sense from Charles Lederer’s script that Follow That Dream was not initially designed as a musical – whenever Elvis grabs a guitar or sings a solo, he freezes a scene in mid-flow to essentially plug okay songs for a four track soundtrack EP.

An absurdist comedy filled with fiercely stubborn characters, Dream has Pop Kwimper (Arthur O’Connell) set up a new house and latrine by an overpass with son Toby (Presley), single teenage mom Holly Jones (Anne Helm), and twin orphans. The family of social outcasts are soon running a burgeoning tackle & bait business, while state pinhead Arthur King (Alan Hewitt) enlists a sexy children’s aide specialist, Alisha Claypoole (Joanna Moore) to certify the Kwimper clan as morally broken, and end their lock on an idyllic plot of state-owned land.

The conflicts almost evoke the laid-back tension of a Ben Hecht comedy (notably Nothing Sacred), as legal pinheads are confounded by passive non-compliance, and superiors shrug off responsibilities to minions. In battle the bureaucrats, Pop Kwimper finds an unlikely ally in local banker Mr. Endicott (smooth-voiced Herbert Rudley) because of a good fishing experience, and the only reason Claypoole is as determined as King to breakup the Kwimpers homestead is Toby’s rejection of her blatant sexual advances.

The low-key humour within Lederer’s script makes Dream an amiable comedy, and although Elvis is supported by a superb group of character actors, he really holds his own playing low-key Toby, a man with a peculiar ambivalence towards pretty women – whether its long-admiring Holly or scheming, chest-rubbing Claypoole, he just looks off into the distance, and counts aloud to prove to himself the higher the numbers, the sooner the women leave, and the bigger the dullard he must be.

Elvis also handles some fairly meaty dialogue scenes extremely well. In the courtroom finale where all characters converge for some seasoned arbitration from a local judge, Toby must defend his family and its reputation from pinhead King and scorned Claypoole, and Elvis has no problem delivering lengthy, nuanced monologues in largely single takes. That skill makes the inclusion of songs rather grating, since it removes Elvis from the character he’s successfully shaped, and drops him into a clumsy musical where he must awkwardly lie down, turn around, or stare up and lip-sync okay songs that really shouldn’t be there.

Twilight Time’s Blu-ray sports a gorgeous HD transfer with clean mono sound, and the isolated mono track showcases a music & effects mix with Hans J. Salter’s score and Elvis’ handful of songs. A theatrical trailer plays up the more physical humour, and Julie Kirgo’s liner notes contextualize the film, which occurred a third into Elvis’ film career.

Charles Lederer’s multiple genre credits include The Thing from Another World (1951), Monkey Business (1952), Ocean’s Eleven (1960), and Mutiny on the Bounty (1962). Richard Powell’s extensive television credits include scripts for The Andy Griffith Show (1964-1965), The Doris Day Show (1971-1972), and single episodes of various series. Herman Raucher’s writing credits span live TV and the classic melodramas Summer of ’42 (1971), Ode to Billy Joe (1976) and Sweet November (1968, and remade in 2001).

Toronto-born Anne Helm worked heavily in TV, and only acted in a handful of films, including The Interns (1962), The Iron Maiden (1962), Honeymoon Hotel (1964), and Nightmare in Wax (1969). Joanna Moore’s career remained largely in TV, with Touch of Evil being perhaps her best-known film.

Director Gordon Douglas’ lengthy career spanned many genres, and among his almost 100 film credits are the stellar Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye (1950), Them! (1954), Rio Conchos (1964), the sleazy The Detective (1968), John Wayne’s first cop thriller McQ (1974), the satirical In Like Flint (1967), and the meh 1966 remake of Stagecoach.



© 2014 Mark R. Hasan



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Category: Blu-ray / DVD Film Review

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