There is very little about this 1947 movie Driftwood online. I found it on Netflix and streamed it from there. Driftwood stars Natalie Wood as Jenny Hollingsworth, Walter Brennan as Murph, Dean Jagger as Dr. Steve Webster, Ruth Warrick as Susan Moore and Charlotte Greenwood as Mathilda. I cannot find the exact release date, but it was released some time in 1947 and directed by Allan Dwan.
Jenny Hollingsworth is a young girl who is orphaned after her grandfather, who is a minister, dies. Jenny’s grandfather always told her that if anything ever happens to him to go straight to the Sheriff. On her long walk to see the Sheriff, Jenny witnesses a plane crash. A Collie dog is the only survivor of the crash and Jenny names him Hollingsworth.
Along comes Dr. Steve Webster in his car and he asks Jenny who she is and what she is doing all by herself out there. Jenny tells Dr. Webster that her grandfather died and that she is on her way to see the Sheriff. Dr. Webster gives Jenny and the dog a lift the rest of the way. The Sheriff asks Dr. Webster if he can keep Jenny until he can confirm that Jenny’s grandfather is dead. Dr. Webster reluctantly takes Jenny and the dog home but he is good-natured about it. Jenny is found sleeping on the sofa by Dr. Webster’s father, Murph the next morning.
Jenny Hollingsworth, the Collie and Murph
Jenny and her grandfather did not have much in the way of possessions. They were actually pretty darned poor and the children in Dr. Webster’s neighborhood tease Jenny about her clothes, so the doctor takes Jenny to the local store and buys her some clothes.
Dr. Webster’s girlfriend is played by Ruth Warrick. Yes, the same Ruth Warrick of All My Children soap opera fame. Susan loves Dr. Webster and has been waiting for him to marry her. Dr. Webster doesn’t feel that he can offer Susan much. Even though he is a doctor, the people don’t really have any money to pay him for medical services, but Dr, Webster continues to always be there for them. The doctor wants to get a hospital built for the town, but the mayor will not approve the funds for it.
At first Susan is not really warmed up to Jenny and the dog. Jenny is not exactly thrilled with Susan at first either.
Dr. Webster encourages the towns people to be vaccinated against spotted fever. The residents are really skeptical and most people turn down the vaccination at first until one of the neighbor’s children comes down with spotted fever and dies. Dr. Webster absent-mindedly forgets to vaccinate Jenny, and she comes down with spotted fever.
Dr. Webster, Murph and the entire town wants to help Dr. Webster get what he needs to help Jenny and everyone else who gets sick with the fever. Dr. Webster learns that the dog Hollingsworth is key to getting the vaccine that he needs to save Jenny’s life.
Susan proves to be a very worthy helpmate to Steve. Susan never leaves Dr. Websters side and helps him to vaccinate the townspeople. I really came to like Susan a lot and that of her sister Mathilda.
Despite the depressing subject matter Driftwood is a good movie. It certainly held my attention. Natalie Wood was amazing as a child actor. All of the acting in Driftwood was very good.