Driftwood (1947)

Driftwood (1947)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Driftwood Photos

Movie Info

In this western melodrama, the town pharmacist adopts a precocious nine-year-old orphan. The child quickly endears herself to the town, which is being wiped out by a spotted fever epidemic. The girl and her stepfather try to cope with the emotional situations arising from the soaring death toll.
Classics , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:

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Natalie Wood
as Jenny Hollingsworth
Dean Jagger
as Dr. Steve Webster
Ruth Warrick
as Susan Moore
Howland Chamberlain
as Hiram Trumbell
Jerome Cowan
as Mayor Snyder
H.B. Warner
as Rev. Hollingsworth
Margaret Hamilton
as Essie Keenan
Hobart Cavanaugh
as Judge Beckett
Francis Ford
as Abner Green
Alan Napier
as Dr. Adams
Howland Chamberlin
as Hiram Trumbell
James Bell
as Sheriff Bolton
Teddy Infur
as Lester Snyder
James Kirkwood
as Rev. MacDougal
Ray Teal
as Perkins
Zeke Holland
as Blaine
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Critic Reviews for Driftwood

All Critics (3)

Despite any formulaic plot contrivances, Driftwood is an eminently likeable film.

Full Review… | July 26, 2012

Quaint 1940s family film with a few potential scares.

Full Review… | July 13, 2012
Common Sense Media

Family comedy-drama about little girl offers lively education lessons on science and society.

Full Review… | June 26, 2011
Classic Film and Television

Audience Reviews for Driftwood


Driftwood is one of those films that I just wanted to hate from the start. I knew this would be another "classic uplifting film," and I was sure it was going to be disgracefully cheesy. Well, I was right; it's hammy to the core, and does little to change the basic "heartwarming" formula. But no matter how hard I tried, I was eventually pulled in by Driftwood's sweetness and pure innocence. Recently orphaned nine year old, Jenny Hollingsworth (and her dog, Hollingsworth whom she named after herself) makes her way to a small town in Nevada that has been plagued by the Rocky Mountain Fever. A doctor named Steve Webster temporarily adopts Jenny until someone else can be found to keep her. Steve hopes to leave Jenny with his girlfriend, Susan Moore, but things get off to a bad start when Jenny says more things than she should. So while Jenny stays with Steve, everyone gets to know about Jenny and her curious antics. If you expect Driftwood to be anything other than a corny, formulaic and helplessly sappy Hollywood picture, you would be absolutely foolish. The reason Driftwood works is because it mixes it's formula so well. The likeable characters are a large part of why Driftwood is so enjoyable. Jenny, being a strange cross between Orphan Annie and Linus Van Pelt, is immediately endearing and is easy to like. Steve is caring and loving, and plays something of an underdog as he tries to convince the town of the need to vaccinate everybody from the understated Rocky Mountain Fever. Susan is a bit more bland as a character, having little personality. Still, she goes beyond acting merely as the love interest. Still, the two standout characters (and actors) are Susan's aunt, Mathilda, and Murph, who helps take care of Jenny. Mathilda is cranky and hard to please, and Jenny's big mouth tends to get those around her in some sticky situations with Mathilda. Murph first seems like a grumpy old man, but we see his sweet side now and then under his crusty exterior. All the characters are made even more likeable by excellent acting from Walter Brennan, Dean Jagger, Natalie Wood, Charlotte Greenwood and Ruth Warrick. Dritfwood is just very steady and enjoyable cinema. The whole production is charming and pleasant, and hard to dislike. Still, anyone expecting anything other than the basic Hollywood "feel-good" formula will be sorely disappointed. Even when things get surprising grim and bleak looking, everything turns out hunky-dory in the end (and it's nicely wrapped up: no room for a sequel here, unlike modern film). Still, coming in with the right expectations, you should find Driftwood to be a sweet, brief and mild experience. It's no masterpiece, but boy is it adorable.

Joshua "LF" Mitchell

Sweet, sometimes overly sweet, homespun drama with a cast of veterans making it all palatable. Not really very deep but still a nice version of small town life at midcentury. Jerome Cowan plays an all too real life character very well, the officious politician who is really just a small minded jerk.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

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