What most people don’t realize is that Disney was once as well known for their live action films as they were or their animated ones. Follow Me Boys is an example of one of Disney’s finest classic live action films, back when live action meant actual people (Lion King I am looking at you). Today, we discuss one of my all time favorites, Follow Me Boys.
Today’s Key Movie:
After deciding to leave the life of a travelling musician, Lem Siddons (Fred MacMurray) settles in to a small town and inadvertently becomes scoutmaster over a group of kids for the newly formed Boy Scout Troop 1. Also Starring famed silent film actor Lillian Gish and the soon to be famous Kurt Russell (yes, THAT Kurt Russell), this is the classic coming of age story as told through the life and actions of Lem Siddons as he leads a Scout Troop through the decades.
Why this movie?
Growing up I was both a Cub Scout and eventually a Boy Scout, so this is one of those films that is near and dear to my heart. Soon after becoming a Cub Scout, my dad ran across a VHS copy of this Disney classic and decided that this was a must see for me. This film immediately became a favorite of mine showing the idyllic setting of 1930’s America through the eyes of one of the early Boy Scout troops and I found myself watching it on a regular basis.
Okay, you like this film, but is it really a ‘good film’?
What I love most about this film is it’s simplicity. At it’s core, Follow Me Boys is the story of Lem Siddons (MacMurray) and Vida Downey (played by Vera Miles) and their determination to help the boys of the small town they are in while also remaining true to one another. It is a truly touching story that also focuses on some rather hard hitting subjects for it’s time like child neglect, bullying, alcoholism and even infertility. In a way this movie serves as a precursor to some of the more introspective work that Disney’s Pixar group continued doing in CGI some years later.
I would be hard pressed to name another Live Action Disney film that is this well done. The cast alone is one of the most incredible from 60’s mainstay Fred MacMurray to even the classic silent film star Lillan Gish in one of her later roles. Everyone in the film is incredible and really nail their roles making you feel every emotion that the script calls for. One of the standouts to me is none other than Kurt Russell himself in one of his earliest feature films and it is clear from the start that Russell had a singular talent. It is this talent that he would use to propel himself to stardom but Follow Me Boys is one that would establish him as one of my favorite actors.
In addition to being a heartfelt film, Follow Me Boy’s is not short on the humor. One of the best moments in the film involve the scouts coming face to face with the US Army during a war games simulation. In this segment we get some of the best scenes where the boys manages to capture a tank in an effort to rescue their captured scout master. It may sound silly but man is it fun!
All in all, this is and forever will be one of my favorites from my childhood. It is a family film that every family should enjoy and still manages to hold up well to this day. With a strong script, a wonderful cast and a pretty catchy theme song, I have no doubt that you will find it one of your favorites as well.
In many ways this film reminds me what it meant to be a Boy Scout growing up. I am pleased to see that The Scouts have managed to evolve even to this day by being even more inclusive by allowing girls to join in recent years. I look forward to seeing how much more they grow in the years to come.
OK, where do I get this movie?
You can still pick this one up on DVD for under $10 and it is one that should certainly grace your collection. It is a film for all ages and one that I have no doubt you will want to pass on to future generations to see and enjoy as well. It is a fun, emotionally impactful film that resonates to this very day.
as usual, here is the classic Trailer: (all I could find is the Wonderful World of Disney version but it will work)
Late To The Game 7/18/2019
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