“There comes a time when a boy can lay his belly to the ground and feel the heartbeats of the earth coming up to grass roots; that’s his time to prowl.”
A boy (Dennis Holmes) and his teenage brother (Fabian) leave their farming parents (Arthur O’Connell and Betty Field) to go on a hunting trip with a womanizing older friend (Stuart Whitman) who flirts with a pretty teen (Carol Lynley). Will Spud (Holmes) be able to keep the hound dog he finds on their journey — and will Whitman keep away from a married woman (Margo Moore) long enough to recognize Lynley is a better match for him?
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Betty Field Films
- Carol Lynley Films
- Coming of Age
- Don Siegel Films
Following the success of Old Yeller (1957) (based on a children’s novel by Fred Gipson), Jerry Wald at 20th Century Fox secured the film rights for an earlier novel by Gipson, and Don Siegel was hired to direct. The result is this inconsequential coming-of-age tale which turned into a starring vehicle for teen heartthrob Fabian:
… whose character has a crush on pop singer Dodie Stevens (similarly cast for her timely appeal).
While this is purportedly a tale of a boy desperately wanting a dog:
… much more narrative focus is placed on Lynley’s hope that Whitman will take her seriously as a romantic partner.
It’s all innocuous enough but not very engaging — and the songs (other than the earworm refrain to the title song) aren’t all that memorable.
Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments:
- Good use of outdoor locales
No; you don’t need to seek out this hard-to-find title. It’s likely included here given Peary’s love of ’50s rock ‘n roll.