Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Follow That Dream|
Actors: Elvis Presley, Arthur O'Connell, Anne Helm, Joanna Moore, Jack Kruschen
Director: Gordon Douglas
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
Elvis Presley is at his dreamboat peak in this musical comedy that finds the sexy star crooning five original songs in an "amusing and fast-paced" (Variety) romp boasting a "delightful mixtureof songs, romance, humor and g... more »
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The Role Elvis Was Born to Play
Roy Jaruk | Patterson, NY United States | 10/27/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Every so often, an actor plays a role that fits like their own skin, a perfect match between character and performer. George C. Scott as Patton. Judy Garland as Dorothy Gale. Bela Lugosi as Dracula. Clark Gable as Rhett Butler. Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade. Madonna as Evita. Charles Laughton as Captain Bligh. Gloria Swanson as Norma Desmond, just to name a few.
To that list, I add Elvis Presley as Toby Kwimper.
Yes, I know; as an actor Elvis was pretty much a good singer and an okay dancer. Most of his movie performances are ho-hum, looking back on them decades later. However, in the case of Follow That Dream the persona of Toby Kwimper, a young man of whom one of the other characters observes, "His heart is pure and his head is empty and you can't beat that combination," is brilliantly portrayed by Elvis, one of the few genuinely good-hearted actors ever to hit Hollywood.
Toby Kwimper, an innocent from the swamplands of New Jersey's Pine Barrens, has to deal with all kinds of dangers of modern life that would cause a less optimistic and lucky hero to quail. The plot is fairly simple.
On a trip to Florida to visit relatives, Toby, his Pop (ably played by Arthur O'Connell), his twin kid brothers Teddy and Eddy, his baby sister Ariadne and Holly (Anne Helm), a babysitter who is no kin to him, run out of gas on a state highway not yet open to traffic that Pop had driven down. Stranded on a coast road, the family group improvises, adapts and overcomes to set up camp with no real equipment by the road on dredge spoil used to fill in the land so the road could be made. The 'pioneers' are truly on virgin land; it didn't exist a couple of months before and the State did not bother to title it.
After a few days of roughing it, feeding themselves and quite well at that on nature's bounty, Civilization and Authority show up in the form of H. Arthur King, the local Highway Superintendent. He goes bananas at the sight of (to his eyes) a bunch of bums camping beside his newly made highway, climbs on his bureaucratic high horse and orders them out. Pop, however, an expert at dealing with governmental bureaucrats after years spent on various programs like welfare, AFDC, WIC and many others, climbs on his own high horse and refuses to leave, citing an 1820 law about homesteading. He swears out a statement describing the land parcel, and the family settles in to prove up their land.
Not one to give up easily, King sics the local child welfare supervisor and clinical psychologist, Alicia Claypoole, onto the Kwimpers. The idea is to prove that Pop and Toby aren't fit to raise the kids, threaten them with the removal of the children, and thus force the Kwimpers to flee. Coincidentally, Alicia has the idea of having Toby jump her bones - except that Toby is so innocently naive he can't tell a pass from a hand-off (although Holly, who has her own cap set for Toby, certainly can). Toby's bewilderment at Alicia's advances will have consequences later.
Toby himself has adventures in the Innocents Abroad vein. When Holly comes up with the idea of starting a little fishing business, a trip to town by Toby to apply for a small business loan ends up with his being mistaken for a bank robber, with humorous results. When Alicia tries to subvert the Kwimpers' homesteading by showing Toby how much easier life would be in government housing, he ends up recruiting a retired couple to move out to the Kwimpers' highway bridge and homestead the virign land on the other side of the highway. And when two gangsters (Simon Oakland and Jack Kruschen) set up next door to the Kwimpers because the land isn't policed by the county or the state - more of King's handiwork - Toby serves as proof that God watches out for children, drunks and fools when by a series of misadventures and just being neighborly he demolishes their casino, wrecks their dock, bankrupts their operation and runs them out of town.
The climax of the picture comes when Alicia Claypoole has the twins and Ariadne taken away from Pop on specious psychological grounds, forcing a confrontation in front of a judge who has the power to make the removal permanent. Once more, it's up to Toby to make things right - if he can.
Follow That Dream is taken from Richard Powell's book, Pioneer, Go Home! and thanks to screenwriter Charles Lederer astutely deciding not to monkey with a well-crafted book, hews very closely to the novel. He also manages to keep the feel of Toby and Pop's speech patterns and most of the book's original dialogue. Lederer cut only two sequences from the novel. The first was the hurricane which H. Arthur King hoped to use as a pretext to break the Kwimpers' continuous occupancy of their land as required by the homesteading act, and it is not missed. The second is the epilogue, and that isn't missed either. Frankly, he did one of the best jobs of adapting a book to the screen that I have ever seen; and considering the vivisection usually performed on original novels in Hollywood, that is praise indeed.
The five songs Elvis sings are nothing special, but that doesn't matter. In my opinion, this is the one Elvis Presley movie that could stand on its own even if he didn't sing a note. Nobody is going to mistake Follow That Dream for anything but light entertainment; but entertained you will be, and delightfully so. As I said, this is the role Elvis Presley was born to play, and he plays it to perfection."
A down to earth comedy
M. Lodge | UK | 05/11/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A very underrated Elvis film. Elvis is a natural in this story of homesteading in Florida - some of the lines are real beauties. Great locations too! This is not your regular Elvis film - he get's good support from the rest of the cast. Go on - give it a go - you'll be pleasantly surprised."
Excellent acting in a beautiful locale.
Walt at WJM2FLA@aol.com | Florida | 07/22/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The movie was filmed in the Yankeetown area of western Florida. Tons of white sand were trucked in to create a lovely beach which remains mostly unchanged to this day. Interiors were filmed at Inverness Court House and Crystal River High School and Ocala. A very entertaining, funny film. Presleys acting may have been his best before the Girl epics began. The house the Kwimpers lived in was donated to the Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranch in Live Oak, Florida, which can be viewed to this day. ."
Fabulous movie; why no wide screen?
Jeff Trisler | Bellevue, Wa USA | 04/24/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A non-typical "Elvis Movie" with charming story line, terrific acting by The King, great supporting cast with Authur O'Connell, Joanna Moore (Tatum O'Neil's mom), Simon Oakland and Roland Winters (who Elvis movie fans will remember as Elvis' father in "Blue Hawaii"). This movie could have been the pilot for the Beverly Hillbillies with Elvis as a Jethro Bodean meets Peter Sellers "Chauncy The Gardener" from Being There character. Elvis fans will love his performance, particulary as the family's lawyer in the courtroom scene near the end of the film. Very tourching performance. Great bit of rock trivia from this movie: Florida native Tom Petty met Elvis on the set of this movie when he was a kid and was inspired to pursue a career in music. Also, Bruce Springsteen often referenced this movie from the stage during his 1985 Born In The USA Tour and performed his own version of the title track, "Follow That Dream". I've waited several years for this movie to come out on DVD and have seen it before on Turner Classics in wide screen; it was wonderful. Why on earth MGM is releasing the DVD in full screen format is a complete mystery. What a disappointment. Great movie, lousy format."