FOLLOW ME (1969)
Director: Gene McCabe
Scorpion Releasing

Imagine a travelogue shot by The Monkees and you won’t be too far off from the over all feel of FOLLOW ME, a documentary that circles the globe in search of a good time and the perfect wave. The film's trio isn’t nearly as humorous as Micky, Michael, Peter and Davy but it is pretty clear that the filmmakers had every intent on meshing the slapstick humor of the quartets popular T.V. show with the template set in place by Bruce Brown’s THE ENDLESS SUMMER. The end result is an agreeable one, given you are in the right mood and know beforehand what it is you’re getting yourself into.

Bob Purvey, Claude Codgen and Mary Lou McGinnis are Surf Corp, an all American trio who have surfed every beach from the Outer Banks to the California coast. Eager to dip their feet in foreign waters the tan trio hops a plane and sets out on a globe trotting adventure that takes them to Portugal, Morocco, Ceylon, India, Hong Kong, Japan, and Hawaii.

And that’s about it. From small and dirty waves to crystal clear artificial wakes, the majority of FOLLOW ME is footage of young people surfing and crashing which personally sounds about as humdrum as an evening marathon of home videos with my folks but none of the footage my mom and dad took ever had a backing score by Stu Phillips. Phillips score elevates FOLLOW ME from becoming little more than a repetitive series of surfing clips into a unique auditory/visual experience. Make no bones about it, without Stu's score FOLLOW ME would be a chore to watch but as it stands the picture is almost FANTASIA like in its execution. With each crashing wave accompanied by its own crescendo, it’s as if Mother Nature herself was allowed to write her own groovy theme music while filming. Phillips, who wrote background music for The Monkees television show, would continue to compose for film and television for the next couple of decades, contributing works to such films as SIMON, KING OF THE WITCHES, REVENGE IS MY DESTINY and BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS.

Running just over 75 minutes, FOLLOW ME is a quick ride peppered with several steady and predictable stops. Each location is giving about 8 to 10 minutes and is broken up accordingly; show the trio arriving at their destination and interacting with locals for about a minute and half and then pad out the rest of the segment with footage of them surfing. Featuring no spoken dialogue save for a narration by voice talent Jerry Dexter, it's hard to imagine FOLLOW ME appealing to anyone but those intrigued or immersed in surfing culture, which clearly I am not, but as it stands the picture actually proved to be rather entertaining, thanks in no small part to Phillips score.

On hand in anamorphic widescreen and preserving its original 1.78:1 aspect ratio, Scorpion Releasing presentation of FOLLOW ME is quite nice. Grain is kept in check and colors are for the most part clear and true but there are a handful scene, mainly earlier on in the films runtime, in which the whole of the picture becomes awash in a single color. At times such tinting appears to be on purpose, but other times it is not quite as clear. The Mono soundtrack fairs well allowing Phillips score to shine with little in the way of any distortion or hiss. The film's original theatrical trailer serves as this release sole extra feature. (Jason McElreath)