Walkin' On The Bridge
I Will Follow That Dream
(an Elvis based tale)
by Giovanni Cesare Lambrughi
Walkin' On The Bridge I Will Follow That Dream, Giovanni Cesare Lambrughi, Amazon Digital Services, 2014, 961KB (124 pages), ASIN: B00IN4M6DY, Text-to Speech: Enabled, X-Ray: Not Enabled, Lending: Not Enabled.
Kindle price: $3.88
Reviewed by Nigel Patterson, April 2014
Walkin' On The Bridge I Will Follow That Dream is a screen play. In this respect I have to say that I have never been comfortable reviewing film or stage play scripts. Despite being a film auteur (my biased opinion) and having lectured in film studies for more than 20 years (including presenting The Elvis Film both online and in the classroom) my skill in visualising spoken word and scene directions is not a strong point.
It is also important to say that it takes special skills to be a successful screen or stageplay writer! Creating a combination of dialogue and stage/film directions differs materially from writing the normal narrative. Screenwriter Giovanni Lambrughi has the requisite skills!
So I don't give away too much of the strong storyline I will detail only a brief overview of the narrative.
Jim grew up in the atmospheric environment of southern USA in the late 1940s-1950s as the friend of a shy child known as Aaron (who became the superstar known as Elvis Aaron Presley). The story moves from that time to the 1970s with Jim and friend Ronnie are traveling to see a dynamic Elvis live on stage, and then to 1980 where life has materially changed for Ronnie who is now an embittered loser. Then one day Ronnie discovers something relating to Elvis that will change his life forever....
It is important to understand that the "bridge" in the title has a fundamental role in underscoring the narrative action. The "bridge" is a metaphor for change, essentially the final stage of life and, in another sense, the portal to the start of a new existence - life after death.
Apart from the titular "bridge", at the core of Walkin' On The Bridge are themes of change/loss, friendship, embitterment/learning from life, and reunion/new beginnings. With the plot essentially taking place in two time periods, Lamrughi has nicely intertwined the stages of life with each period - the 1940s-1950s part establishes the main characters and sets the broad scene while the 1970s-1980 reflects how life changes resonating themes of maturity/growth, disappointment and realisation.
The main characters are well drawn and nicely differentiate themselves. They include Aaron/Elvis; Jim, Aaron's childhood friend and Ronnie's father; an appropriately caring and homely Gladys Presley; Ronnie, whose life takes a rocky path; Cathryn, Ronnie's emotionally troubled mother; and the fair skinned (of Swedish heritage) Belinda who is mulitlingual and possesses a deep and warm singing voice.
While the Elvis character is physically present only in the early scenes it resonates thereafter as one of the thematic glues which hold the story together, driving the narrative as it moves seamlessly from the 1950s to the 1970s.
Reflecting the screenplay's two part timeline structure and themes of Elvis and change are the southern influences of the 1950s contrasting with the glitz of the 1970s.
Lambrughi has a strong, evocative writing style:
To all the lone wolves travelling tonight, take a dirty glass and fill it with whiskey. Add a little dash of Blues and mix it all together with some damn Rock.
The writer also uses flashback and dream sequences to great effect, each helping to maintain interest by changing the pace and flow of the narrative.
As the story includes a number of reasonably adult themes and language it is not suitable for very young readers.
Lambrughi also infuses the narrative with nice dabs of humour:
Emily looks out the window.
EMILY: Wow, it's a lovely sized car.
RONNIE: Um.....really, it's the one next to it.
EMILY: Oops, sorry, what a mistake!
A young Bruce Springsteen is also briefly amusingly featured in the story!
A central device in Walkin' On The Bridge is its titular poem and it is indeed a strong narrative tool - with its poignant verse exhibiting great depth, and importantly, reflecting the symbolic nature of the "bridge" in the story. The poem deserves re-reading several times in order to appreciate its full meaning(s) as these brief passages suggest:
Walkin' on the bridge, I left your eyes away
No more tears for me, my love, I won't see you anymore
Oh I'll catch you baby, on this river side
But before it, just one more sight.
Complementing the vivid imagery evoked by Lambrughi's expressive dialogue is a diverse musical soundtrack which doesn't disappoint! From the wonderfully emotional stirring of Where No One Stands Alone or Elvis singing Bridge Over Troubled Water, to the freedom implied by Springsteen's Born To Run, the rebelliousness of AC-DC's Highway To Hell and the hope offered by John Lennon's classic, Imagine, it is a soundtrack of times of change.
Verdict: Giovanni Lambrughi can be deservedly proud of his screenplay, Walkin' On The Bridge. It is a refreshing, honest story of life, love and growth, with an interesting foundation based on Elvis which doesn't disappoint.
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