Follow that Dream
If looking for a quick way to find the good-good Elvis Presley movie (versus the camp appeal of a good-bad Elvis movie like Live a Little, Love a Little or Harem Scarum), it's always best to stick to the earliest films. The further Elvis's movie career went on (and fell under the auspices of Col. Tom Parker's management), the more factory-like, and insane (and, sadly, inane) the results became. Follow That Dream (1962) arrived on the early side of his career, where the filmmakers would shoehorn in songs for Elvis to sing, versus later where the films were crafted, rather lazily, around Elvis and his desire to hang out in tropical locations. And it shows in Dream, because it actually works as an OK popcorn flick. Elvis stars here as Toby Kwimper, on the road with his family looking for a place to live. He and Pop Kwimper (Arthur O'Connell), along with the adopted Holly Jones (Anne Helm) and twins Ed and Teddy Bascombe (Gavin and Robin Koon), become homesteaders on a strip of Floridian land, to the consternation of a local official. Seeing that the fishing nearby is excellent, they get a loan from the local bank hoping to make their new home a tourist stop. But the land they're on is in an interesting legal situation, since it has no official city government. Thus, they get a neighbor in Carmine (Jack Kruschen), who owns a traveling casino and sees the location as a perfect for his gambling operation. But Carmine and his associates doesn't close up shop until the wee hours of the morning, and so Toby is elected sheriff of their little town, looking to clean up the mess. Carmine's response is to hire killers, while the state officials try and use a psychiatrist (Joanna Moore) to separate the family. Follow That Dream is amusing in its hick comedy moments, which makes it better than the average Presley vehicle. Though those sorts of jokes have been done altogether too much, to the point that the noble but ignorant farmer type has become a stock character, it is amusing to see Presley playing the guy who doesn't know how tough he is when he unintentionally disarms men before they know what's happened. Elvis is also chased by two women (Helm and Moore), both of whom aren't hard on the eyes. It's a modest accomplishment, but considering how paltry the winners are in the Presley filmography, it's safe to say that it's better than A Change of Habit. Fox/MGM presents Follow That Dream in an unattractive, non-anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1) and pan-and-scan transfers, with the audio in 2.0 mono. Theatrical trailer; slimline case in "The Elvis Presley MGM Legends Collection" set.