Saturday, March 07, 2009

3/2/09: Follow Me, Boys! (1966)

I remember reading a terrible review of Follow Me, Boys! in one of the movie-review books I used to carry around like a Bible. It was the first time it had occurred to me that the great Disney studios could possibly turn out anything second-rate (but certainly not the last). It wasn't enough to put me off seeing it for myself, though; I have always enjoyed Fred MacMurray, as his appearances in Disney films like The Absent Minded Professor and Son of Flubber were fondly remembered artifacts of my childhood. Furthermore, Follow Me, Boys! is the first of ten movies Kurt Russell would make for the studio, and I've enjoyed a bunch of those as well. So today I finally made good on my promise to check it out.

Follow Me, Boys! is the story of how MacMurray moves to a small town, meets his sweetheart, and starts a local Boy Scout troop. Along the way, he meets a troubled youth (Russell), whom he eventually tames and comes to adopt as his own. It's as corny and syrupy as any movie ever made, with MacMurray seeming so much like Steve Douglas from My Three Sons that you might find yourself wondering where Uncle Charley is. There's a bit of adventure involving the boy scouts (including a preposterous sequence involving some Army war games, the film's low point), some nice romantic moments between Fred and Vera Miles, and even a rare Disney death scene when Kurt Russell's alcoholic father takes his final breath in front of the kid. It's a decent family picture, saccharine and dated, yet sincere. Rating: 3/5.

No comments: