Written by / 9/03/2012 / No comments / , , , , ,

FOLLOW ME, BOYS

year: 1966 cast: Fred MacMurray, Vera Miles, Kurt Russell  rating: ***
There’s a relaxing quality to Fred MacMurray’s Lemuel Siddons and his contentedly wayward life. Although, being part of a traveling band, sitting in the back of the bus as the musicians play their hearts out, something just isn’t right.

Lemuel promises when the first opportunity arises he’ll settle down. So a sign outside a drugstore in a Norman Rockwell era small town reading CLERK WANTED is just the ticket.

The first twenty minutes is the most charming – getting to know the gossipy townsfolk, he eventually becomes the first scoutmaster, inspired by lovely local Vera Miles who, like all love interests, dates a real jerk – making her decision for our friendly hero that much easier.
Fred MacMurray leads the troops
Kurt Russell plays Whitey, the town problem child with a boozing father. He doesn’t want any part of the troop but then eventually becomes a leader, saving one boy in a suspenseful rock climbing scene. But something happens...

The troop, out on a rural excursion, happen upon military war games, providing slapstick Disney fare that derails the real story about Lemuel and Whitey’s budding relationship: the man needs a son and the boy needs a father.

Then, after another pointless detour about a nice old lady's sanity (keeping Lem and wife from owning lucrative property), the movie skips decade after decade – Whitey becomes a bland married doctor advising Lemuel to retire from the scouts earnestly. And that's too bad…

If the entire movie centered on that initial time frame, and remained on the kids we were getting to know, there’d be much more here to follow.
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