After a string of million selling records and several highly publicized television appearances, rock and roll star Elvis Presley was signed for his first film appearance, a supporting role in the Fox Civil War-era melodrama Love Me Tender. For the next fifteen years, a steady string of Elvis films was cranked out for his eager public who with their support vaulted him seven times into the Quigley list of the top ten box-office stars (peaking at #4 in 1957). As time passed, the films became wickedly formulaic, and it became obvious that even Elvis’ heart wasn’t in them, but he certainly still cared about quality product when he made 1962’s Follow That Dream. The film is one of Elvis’ most appealing comedies and contains five top-notch songs for the King.
Distributed By: Twilight Time
Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audio: English 1.0 DTS-HDMA (Mono)
Subtitles: English SDH
Rating: Not Rated
Run Time: 1 Hr. 49 Min.
Package Includes: Blu-raykeep case
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
Release Date: 08/12/2014
The eccentric father and son team of Pop and Toby Kwimper (Arthur O’Connell, Elvis Presley) along with young adult orphan Holly (Anne Helm) and three younger children decide they’re going to cease taking government assistance to live and instead pitch a homestead on some state owned land in Florida. When they get the best of government official H. Arthur King (Alan Hewitt), he moves heaven and earth to get the Kwimpers evicted from the land. They find further trouble when the mob led by Nick (Simon Oakland) and Carmine (Jack Kruschen) moves into the police-free area to begin their own gambling operation.
The Production Rating: 3.5/5
A sort of offhand second cousin to the award-winning You Can’t Take It With You which featured its own unconventional family whose very innocence and truth outwit more educated and calculating authority figures, Follow That Dream does give Elvis a naïve and total innocent to play in what is probably his best comic performance and certainly one of his most appealing. While there’s never a doubt as to how it will end and Charles Lederer’s script plays out the one joke premise of the piece long past its effectiveness (a courtroom scene goes on too long and the running gag with the hyper-pressurized toilet is overused and too notably telegraphed for real comic impact by director Gordon Douglas), there’s no denying that great sense of satisfaction when the stuffed shirts and criminal types get continually outwitted by the family’s sweetness and purity. The songs in the film don’t intrude too badly during the otherwise gently farcical proceedings, and Elvis’ voice is mellow and beguiling particularly with the swinging, toe-tapping title song, “I’m Not the Worrying Kind” (something of a watchword for the family), and “Angel” which brings the thwarted romance continuously pushed to the backburner right to the front for the film’s conclusion.
In addition to Elvis’ winning work in the movie, veteran Arthur O'Connell offers a thoroughly enjoyable, understated presence as the wise if unconventional father. Anne Helm doesn’t have a lot of sparkle as Elvis’ quasi-love interest, but Joanna Moore with her genuine Southern accent fits right in as the social worker all eager to help until Elvis ignores her advances. It’s a great pleasure seeing such wonderful veterans as Alan Hewitt, Jack Kruschen, Simon Oakland, Howard McNear (hilarious as a terrified bank loan officer), and Roland Winters (as a judge at the public hearing who sorts everything out once the film abruptly turns serious near the end) each get some spotlight moments where their talents rise to the surface.
The film’s 2.35:1 Panavision theatrical aspect ratio is faithfully presented in 1080p using the AVC codec. Though there are a few stray dust specks throughout and a shot or two that look a bit dated and soft, most of the transfer sports very good sharpness and fine color reproduction with believable skin tones. This is a major advance from the non-anamorphic DVD which preceded this Blu-ray release. The film has been divided into 12 chapters.
Video Rating: 4/5 3D Rating: NA
The DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0 sound mix does not feature any age-related artifacts like hiss or crackle, but the reverberation during the vocal numbers (surely a part of the mix and rather typical of the era) does not match the rather quiet quality of the rest of the soundtrack. Dialogue is solid (including even Elvis’ often quietly mumbling way of speaking) and never is overpowered by sound effects or background score. In fact, some gunfire and an explosion late in the film sound rather anemic, again rather typical of a comedy sound mix from this era.
Audio Rating: 4/5
Isolated Score Track: the background score and Elvis' vocal numbers are presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0.
Special Features Rating: 2.5/5
Theatrical Trailer (2:25, HD)
MGM 90th Anniversary Trailer (2:06, HD)
Six-Page Booklet: contains color and black and white stills, poster art on the back cover, and film historian Julie Kirgo’s illuminating take on Elvis’ career and the film.
A film even Elvis Presley’s non-fans would find amusing and appealing, Follow That Dream combines tunes and comedy in a pleasing package, and the Blu-ray will be a delight for fans who were less than impressed with one of the film’s previous DVD releases. There are only 3,000 copies of this Blu-ray available. Those interested should go to www.screenarchives.com to see if product is still in stock. Information about the movie can also be found via Facebook at www.facebook.com/twilighttimemovies.
Overall Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewed By: Matt Hough
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