I've been on the old Youtube again. The things you find. I used to love watching Elvis Presley films in the school holidays but this is one I've never seen. Perhaps because it's not full of twisting thirty year old teens and bright, chaste love.
How many Hollywood films of 1962 can you think of with running toilet jokes? And the word sex is mentioned at least twice.
Presley plays a slowish young man who embodies a sort of noble savagery. Fearless because he's a bit gormless, but expecting a basic decency of everyone, he manages to neutralise a mafia type threat simply by being nice, good at judo, and dim. If a lady gets friendly with him he does his times tables out loud until she stops. Poor boy, he only knows up to his eight times table. I have no idea what happens after that.
At the end of the film (I am typing as I watch, sort of), the family's adopted orphans are taken away and the court does a Daily Mail on them, branding them WELFARE SCUM. The edges of respectability are often pushed against in a way unexpected in an Elvis film - including the inference in court that an adopted teen girl lives with Elvis in some dodgy relationship. As if that would ever happen.
The film challenges those who hold the moral welfare of others in their hands, and then acknowledges that the family can hold it for themselves, with dignity. Unsurprisingly, it is based on a novel ("Pioneer, Go Home!") which was based on a true story. Of course there's a bit of a love story - there has to be in an Elvis film - but it isn't central to the plot. The colours of the film are muted blues and browns throughout. Although it's a semi-romantic semi-comedy, it's overlaid with social issues and there is no Ann Margaret dancing on a beach, or cutesy oriental children.
Again, Youtube has delivered a little gem. I think I love Youtube.
Follow that Dream (1962)
Directed by: Gordon Douglas
Written by: Charles Lederer (screenplay); Richard Powell (novel)
Cast: Elvis Presley, and loads of people I've never heard of