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Follow the Sun (1951)

“We’ll start in Canada and kind of follow the sun.”

Entering his most prolific decade as a leading man, Glenn Ford stars here as famed golfer Ben Hogan. The film covers his early rise to prominence and the battle with his public persona as well as an automobile accident that nearly ended his career on the links.

follow the sun half sheet

Stepping up to the microphone and narrating the story is co-star and leading lady Anne Baxter as Glenn’s wife. The early scenes are set aside for their childhood runs ins and subsequent union as a married couple. I must admit that Ford makes it look so easy to seduce Baxter and invite her to embark on his dreams of being a pro golfer on the PGA tour.

But then Glenn Ford seemed to do everything so easily before the camera. Actors with that kind of talent are often overlooked and taken for granted. Sadly, I think Glenn sometimes falls into this category.

glenn ford and anne baxter

The bulk of the film takes place in and around the golf course or the club house for the after hours celebrations. This is where Dennis O’Keefe seems to hang out as the veteran who befriends young Glenn yet has a inward struggle with both the bottle and his new bride June Havoc.

Glenn keeps playing the tournaments and Baxter keeps a personal scorecard by way of their bank book. Slowly the checks begin rolling in and the paydays start to increase from his initial tourney in Niagara Falls. As successful as he becomes, he isn’t exactly well liked by the media due to his standoffish attitude and lack of interviews. From the outset he’s in a war of words with newsman Larry Keating.

“100 trophies and not a friend in the world.”

Shortly after winning the Bing Crosby tourney (minus a Bing cameo) Ford and Baxter are traveling to their Fort Worth home when a shattering car accident leaves our golf pro near death. His legs are badly crushed and he’s given little chance of ever walking again. Can the love of a good woman and a strong belief and perseverance in one self be enough to get Glenn back on his feet and eventually on the golf course again?

I guess if you know the career of Ben Hogan than you already know that answer.

Ben_Hogan

Truthfully I am a little too young to know much about Ben Hogan. He was long out of the game before I started to notice guys like Nicklaus, Player and Trevino in my early years due to Dad watching the many tourney’s on TV. A little research tells me that this film was made not long after Hogan’s 1949 car crash and he would still play on the tour with much success long after this film had abandoned theaters.

Golf aficionados may welcome the film for it’s footage of real life golfer Sam Snead playing himself going to head to head with Glenn on the course. There are other players in the field that I am not familiar with by name so to be honest, I’m not sure if they like Snead are playing themselves or hired actors playing a role.

Turning up as well are Roland Winters as the doctor who is on the scene when Glenn goes through his operations and making his film debut is a young Warren Stevens as an announcer covering some of the play.

cimarron1

Like Glenn, Anne Baxter is another performer who just seemed to have such a knack at playing before the camera. The two would reunite on screen in Anthony Mann’s big budget western Cimarron in 1960.

Follow the Sun was released on VHS years ago and also has turned up in the made on demand market from 20th Century Fox if you are looking to score a copy.

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