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ELVIS PRESLEY HIDES HIS STRENGTH IN 'FOLLOW THAT DREAM'

Year of Broadcast: 1962 Rating: ****

Every album from any rock band or artist has that one song that glides smoother, grooves while keeping a steady hand-sweeping guitar rhythm, 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 in a theatrical sense, made by the highly eclectic THEM and KISS TOMORROW GOODBYE serious director Gordon Douglas who also had musical fun with SHE'S WORKING HER WAY THROUGH COLLEGE... 

And Elvis was in his long decade-spanning "visual album" phase, seeming finished with the genuine Rock N' Roll LP's, including the incredible rudimentary Sun Records followed by immense chart toppers and then, sinking into hit/miss motion pictures he was musically replaced by The Beatles (who ironically worshiped him). And yet, in actuality, FOLLOW THAT DREAM is set RIGHT before the British and American game-changing counter-culture Invasion, and actually isn't too shabby...

Anne Helm & Elvis Presley

Basic and unpretentious, not seeming like a vehicle to sell a soundtrack or to prove his big screen presence, DREAM borders on a fable...

Elvis Presley in Follow that Dream

The plot involving 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)...

He's the stubborn and prideful 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 an ingenue-type 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 shanty, 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 Elvis's 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, where he turns the tables, one by one, that might have inspired RAMBO: FIRST BLOOD, somehow... a trope known as mugging the monster, and it happens here in droves...

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 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 equaled by the title track...

Twilight Time Blu Ray's very grainy, butt...

Then there's a song 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 baby-faced blossoming babe... 

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 his aforementioned serious features so:, just remember, FOLLOW THAT DREAM is only a comedy because the hero has a smile!

Anne Helm and Elvis Presley in FOLLOW THAT DREAM
Anne Helm and Elvis Presley in FOLLOW THAT DREAM
Arthur O'Connell and Elvis Presley in FOLLOW THAT DREAM
Joanna Moore and Elvis Presley in FOLLOW THAT DREAM
FOLLOW THAT DREAM directed by Gordon Douglas
FOLLOW THAT DREAM directed by Gordon Douglas
Anne Helm and Elvis Presley in FOLLOW THAT DREAM
Anne Helm and Elvis Presley in FOLLOW THAT DREAM with Arthur O'Connell
Anne Helm and Elvis Presley in FOLLOW THAT DREAM
Joanna Moore (Tatum O'Neal's mother) in FOLLOW THAT DREAM

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