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Follow the Boys

Follow the Boys(1963)

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teaser Follow the Boys (1963)

Made in the wake of the highly successful Where the Boys Are (1960), Follow the Boys (1963) is more of a sister film than a sequel to the Connie Francis box-office smash. Both films center around a group of young women in search of young men, but the beaches of Fort Lauderdale have been replaced with the naval ports of the Riviera. Her second of only four films, Francis is reunited with her previous co-star Paula Prentiss, with Francis now claiming top billing from her breakthrough performance in Where the Boys Are. The film launched the young starlet's career with countless singing engagements worldwide, numerous awards, and skyrocketing record sales. With such lofty expectations, however, the ultimate letdown of Follow the Boys was perhaps inevitable: one review dismally decreed, "Youth must be served, but the service isn't very good."

Follow the Boys was the work of MGM workhorse director Richard Thorpe. Credited with over 180 films, many of them made two at a time, Thorpe has been notoriously overlooked by film criticism over the years because his body of work, while consistent and reliable, never produced a stand-out masterpiece. Despite the popularity of his work such as Presley's Jailhouse Rock (1957) and the good notices received for Ivanhoe (1952), substantial industry regard eluded the efficient and budget-conscious director. As one critic put it, "His reputation for only needing one take is why we don't remember his films."

Thorpe may have been a bare-bones director, but the sumptuous scenery in Follow the Boys makes the production values seem anything but sparse. Filmed on location on both the French and Italian Riverias in Nice, Cannes, and Santa Margharita, the backgrounds are a lively visual lift to a somewhat lackluster story. Francis and Prentiss are joined by two other "seagulls"-the wives and girlfriends who follow their sailor men from port to port-French actress Dany Robin and Janis Paige. Russ Tamblyn, who is best remembered for his work in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954) and West Side Story (1961), co-stars as a naval lieutenant who pursues Paula Prentiss.

Producer: Lawrence P. Bachmann
Director: Richard Thorpe
Screenplay: Lawrence P. Bachmann, David T. Chantler, David D. Osborn
Cinematography: Edward Scaife
Film Editing: John Victor-Smith
Art Direction: William C. Andrews
Music: Alexander Courage, Ron Goodwin
Cast: Connie Francis (Bonnie Pulaski), Paula Prentiss (Toni Denham), Dany Robin (Michele Perrier), Janis Paige (Liz Bradville), Russ Tamblyn (Lt. Wadsworth Smith), Richard Long (Lt. Peter Langley).
C-95m. Letterboxed. Closed captioning.

by Eleanor Quin

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