Written by / 5/01/2016 / No comments / , , , , , , , ,

GORDON DOUGLAS DIRECTS ELVIS PRESLEY 'FOLLOW THAT DREAM'

Elvis Presley and Anne Helm YEAR: 1962
Every album from any rock band or artist has that one song that glides smoother, grooves while keeping a steady hand-sweeping guitar rhythm beat, and it's not a sappy ballad but a kind of soft boogie, in-between; usually a forgotten track that never made the charts but glues the album together, somehow...

As is FOLLOW THAT DREAM, made by the highly eclectic THEM and KISS TOMORROW GOODBYE director Gordon Douglas, to the over a decade-spanning "visual album" by Elvis Presley, who, before he really got started, seemed to be done with the genuine Rock N' Roll LP's, including the incredible Sun Records followed by big time chart toppers and then, sinking into semi-stinking motion pictures, musicians with far less a voice but who wrote their own tunes, from Bob Dylan to The Beatles to The Rolling Stones, moved in and killed The King (though still worshiped him) and yet, DREAM is set before the British and American game-changing Invasion, and also seems distant from the films that Presley had starred in thus far, and would thereafter...

Anne Helm & Elvis Presley
A simple, unpretentious tale, not seeming like a vehicle to sell a soundtrack or to prove his big screen presence; bordering on a fable...

Elvis Presley in Follow that Dream
FOLLOW THAT DREAM involves a naive clan of nomads, not related save Presley's Toby Kwimper and his Pop, played by Arthur O'Connell (the drunk lawyer friend of James Stewart in ANATOMY OF A MURDER), who, the driver of his own vehicle with a surreptitious-sexy 19-year-old babysitter... of twin boys and a little girl... who'd been carried around and about since she was gawky-thirteen: that being Anne Helm as Holly Jones, one of the most genuine Elvis ingenues being that she's really not one at all for most of the film, but more of a little sister (or "kissin' cousin") who puts in the most work in the new outdoors family business...

Joanna Moore with The King
Well we've skipped ahead about a mile. Before all this, the family car/dumpster ran out of gas along a fork in the road; a beginning of what's to be an environmentally protected highway for the Public and Public only, and, finding a technicality, they squat on a plot of Florida seaside land, build a wooden home, an unpredictable outhouse, and wind up with a neat little fishing company, all under the bickering hat of an uppity gov't villain and his gorgeous welfare siren...

Anne Helm with Elvis Presley
Enter Joanna Moore as a welfare agent trying to seduce Toby in a sexy mini beach scene, and yet, he wants none of it: His Pop taught him when any woman flirts, since they often lead to trouble, he's to say math equations out loud... Yet HE knows, and the button-cute Holly knows even better, who Toby will end up with. But before that a whole lot happens including unwanted neighbors in the form of a noisy mobile mobster gambling trailer run by the always-intimidating Simon Oakland, leading to a scene, after a group of lethal, multi-armed Detroit goons are sent after Toby in the forest, and he turns the tables, one by one, that might have inspired RAMBO: FIRST BLOOD, somehow... seriously!

Anne Helm as Holly Jones
So there's plenty of action, Elvis is cool and natural and effective, acting-wise, and it all ends with an 11th hour courtroom scene to keep the family intact, but what really makes FOLLOW THAT DREAM a movie needing of a much bigger, more dedicated cult fanbase is the perpetual sense of kicking back and "living the life I love," as Elvis sings in the opening song, "What a Wonderful Life," a great little tune equalled by the title track...

Twilight Time Blu Ray's very grainy, butt...
Then there's that track which answers a question, and moves the story, at least in the leading lady's perspective, "I'm not the Marrying Kind," sung to the babe who had blossomed and, by the end, is ready, willing and beyond able to provide a kiss sexier than most sex scenes in movies after the floodgates opened for couples to show more than they actually seem to be feeling. Old fashioned, sure, but there's nothing wrong with that: Just as long as it works like it does here: The real fun had is discovering along the way... as the baddies try everything short of calling Wile E. Coyote's Acme service to stop our hero... how downright tough and resilient the unassuming, unflappable, unlikely and breezily resilient Presley's character is. Like Andy Griffith in NO TIME FOR SERGEANTS... along with a handful of other underdog comedies... it's all about Reaction that not only makes the Action work, but displays director Douglas's style, proven in serious features like THEM and KISS TOMORROW GOODBYE: Remember, FOLLOW THAT DREAM is only a comedy because the hero has a smile!
Elvis Presley as the new Sheriff in "town" in FOLLOW THAT DREAM
Not a Westinghouse Trumphet, but a Westinghouse Radio playing "Follow That Dream"
One of the cutest butts ever, ANNE HELM with Arthur O'Connell and Elvis Presley FOLLOW THAT DREAM
Joanna Moore enjoys Elvis Presley's title song FOLLOW THAT DREAM
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