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I was very pleased to see that Disney finally released this movie on
DVD. I have been wanting to see it for a long time, but not only
because it was another Disney film with Fred MacMurray. Rather, I am a
Scout Leader, and can relate to many of the things in the picture, and
that made it a special delight for me.
This was Kurt Russell's first Disney picture. He is wonderful here as the reluctant boy with a drunken father. While he loves his dad, he is embarrassed when others see him. I have seen scouts in these positions.
With my two sons in Scouting, they enjoyed this movie very much. Even my daughter, who is a Girl Scout, liked it too. A measure of a great film is when it makes you want to see it again.
Out of my usual four-star rating system, I would give this: ***.5
I was six years old when I saw this movie in the theaters in 1966. Back then the screens were big and a little kid like me, seeing other kids on screen looking bigger-than-life, wanted to be just like them. I never joined the boy scouts, but the film's somewhat typical Disney values definitely had an influence on me. Now let's fast-forward almost 40 years later and look at the film from a grown-up perspective. The acting here is marvelous. Anyone over 40 knows all about Fred MacMurray and the great actor that he was, both on TV and in films. Throw in the pretty Vera Miles, the legendary Lillian Gish, and the I-know-his-voice-from-Saturday-morning-cartoons Charlie Ruggles, and it all comes together nicely. The best part of this film? Not the catchy Sherman Brothers theme song...but perhaps one of the best child-actor performances ever...Kurt Russel. Want a movie where you'll cry a bit but then feel real good at the end? Follow this one!
Just thought I would share what little I know about this movie.
Mackinlay Kantor was born in my hometown of Webster City, Iowa. He belonged to Boy Scout troop #17. He would have been 16 years old in 1920 so that gives you an idea when he was in scouts. My understanding is that he wrote the book to honor the Boy scouts and their leaders and he wanted to do so because of the great experiences he had a scout. I don't know how much of the movie is true but I do know there is at least one thing in the movie which reflects Webster City. It's nothing more than the name of a street but it's something anyway.
When I was a scout in the mid 70's we met in the upstairs of an old school building. All over the walls were posters which listed the winners of some of the annual contests that the troop held each year. Mackinlay Kantor's name was up there several times for having won several contests.
The name of my Scout leader in the 70's was a man named John McMurray. The man who founded Troop 17 in Webster City was a man named Murray McMurray. Their family has run a chick hatchery of all things in Webster City for years and it is still a thriving business today. Murray would have been Mackinlay Kantors Scout leader and I'm sure a big reason why he wrote the book. Murry, by the way, was a local banker who started the hatchery on the side. So he wasn't a musician like Lem was per say but his commitment to the town and to scouts is obviously reflected in the book and movie.
At this writing it is Memorial Day weekend 2006. There is a reunion being held this weekend in Webster City for all scouts who ever were in Troop 17. Among other things John McMurray will be speaking and concerning the movie Follow Me Boys? They will be be playing it twice for everybody there to go and see.
If you grew up in Webster City and were a scout this movie holds a little bit more than the usual emotions.
In this movie a man moves into a town in the 1940 or it is 1930'(not sure
which) a starts a new job. Then one day during a town meeting he volunteers
to lead the local Boy Scout Troop. Of course this also leads to romance(it
is Disney movie so it's standard) with one of the town's women. The only bad
thing is she is going out with a rich,snobby guy . Eventually they both fall
in love and get married. A young Kurt Russell also stars in this movie as
boy always getting into trouble and treating the other boys meanly. The
scout troop has pleanty of misadventures including accidently getting into a
miltary "war games" .
Then many years World War 2 arrives. The young man who was always teasing everyone is now a soldier and a doctor.he also married a fellow solider. Everyone else in the orginal troop grew up as well. The troop honors their former scoutmaster with a touching day honoring him. If you like Fred Mccurray or Kurt Russell you might like this movie! This moive is a good drama/comedy.. It makes one wonder why Disney does not make these kinds of movies any more besides all this stupid live action movies. This movie was fresh in 1966 and it's still fresh today!
One question though.. When/Will will this come out on DVD?
Follow me boys is an excellent movie that attracts you for a long time.I watched that movie when I was 8 (1989) but still I remember it (2001,age 21).The story was powerful and so on the cast (children players). I think it is not only a children classic but also a movie that every individual must see.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
MacMurray plays a character named Lemuel Siddons, a member of a big band in the early 1930s who is tired of the endless traveling involved with that occupation. He wants to settle down somewhere so he can study law. On a whim he picks Hickory (Population 4,951) located somewhere in the Midwest of the United States of America. He immediately meet-cutes Vida Downey, who is played by Vera Miles, by stepping on her foot as he catches a fly ball from a baseball game played by a bunch of kids. She takes an immediate disliking to him, which means they are eventually going to get married. Before this happens, Lemuel, or as he is more commonly known as, Lem, volunteers to organize a Boy Scout troop at a town meeting which impresses Vida. The movie focuses on MacMurray and the positive effect he has on the various groups of boys he leads over the years. Sctructually the film flows somewhat awkwardly. That is the pacing lingers, and then leaps forward, and then lingers again. In a way, it's sort of a poor man's "It's A Wonderful Life" as Lem never really pursues his goal of becoming a lawyer, but instead finds great satisfaction in his marriage to Vida and his commitment as a Scout leader. The difference between Lem and George Bailey is that Lem knows he has it good the entire time, which means most of the drama comes from guiding the troubled Kurt Russle character. Once this part of the movie is concluded the films sort of feels rudderless until it makes it way to the final scene where Lem is honored by the community. The film has a nice positive spirit to it, but it still could have used more drama to make Lem's life all the more poignant.
Follow Me, Boys! is a feel good film with an impressive cast. It's a
snapshot of a time when there was a true sense of community that we rarely
see today. A time when personal values carried more weight than
The film delivers a powerful message of just how much difference a single person can make by leading through example. I think with today's media glut of flashy superstardom and wealth and narcissism, many us have lost sight of how much force there is in simply being a kind and honest person. I certainly walked away re-evaluating some of my motivations and behaviors. Just how do I affect the people around me on a daily basis?
I found that this movie is the best boyscout movie ever made. It has a great cast with Kurt Russell and Fred McMurray leading the amazing cast. With Vera Miles and the rest making it could holsom movie that everybody will enjoy young and old. It shows how one man can take a group of boys and send them off into the world to become doctors and even the governor of what ever state this movie is set in, and how a pull of a string can give a group of boys a great adventure. This movie is start in the early formation of the boyscout movement and ends in the early 1950. It can be seen how the troop in the movie changes through the years. It is a good movie and is a must for every body to see.
I first saw this movie during the mid 1980's when I was at Boy Scout ski retreat. We were staying at a church (cheap lodging) and watched this movie twice (Friday and Saturday nite). The first time our troop saw we were intrigued by movie. There are few movies about Boy Scouts out there so this movie was a delight. The second time being rowdy teens the Scouts began to pandeomine and ad-lib the lines. For example during the scene when the wife tells Fred McMurray that she can not have any kids. One of the boys shouted "Don't touch her, she's sterile" A delightful movie, a bit corny at times (the behavior seems outdated compared to modern times) but still an excellent movie.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I think the strength of the film - at least for those of us who grew up
during the "Mayberry Days" of our country - is, that - if you were ALSO
a Scout during those days, this film IS your story as well.
I grew up in the 70's and early 80's in rural NC - not far removed from the inspiration for the fictional Mayberry, in many respects. While Fred MacMurray's name is in the credits, my Scoutmaster could just as easily have played this part. A tall man himself - a Korean War veteran - and a leader by example, he was a man of few words, but like Scoutmaster Lem, they always seemed to be the RIGHT words, and for impressionable boys of that age, that's what matters.
In 25 years of service to my troop - 17 of those as Scoutmaster - over 50 boys in my small town made Eagle Scout - including myself and my younger brother. The uniforms are older, and the kids names are a little different, but I recognize my own youth - my own Scouting adventures - in this big screen production. And when Lem finally gets his parade, we can all rejoice over all the Scouting leaders who made us the men we are today.
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