PIC of the Week – Driftwood
Article series by Ray Schillaci
While perusing the internet, checking out the releases this week, I happened to come upon one of those great warm and fuzzy family films. Now, I know you’re probably thinking to yourself, we got Bob Hope last week, and now this? But, trust me on this one. Come on, it’s Thanksgiving, and you can either drown the family out with football or have your loved ones sit down and enjoy a real feel-good family film together. Okay, so some of you would still rather watch football. I guess it depends on the family or you may just be the Scrooge in your household.
I found a hidden gem, Kino Classics blu of Driftwood, amongst such diverse releases as Valerian: City of a Thousand Planets (which I did enjoy) the re-release of The Soska Sisters’ controversial cult film, American Mary, Kino Classics’ Fritz Lang: The Silent Films, and Cohen Media Group’s excellent doc, My Journey Through French Cinema. But, 1947’s Driftwood stood out amongst the rest with an absolute charming performance by a young Natalie Wood, who also did a star turn the same year with the holiday classic, Miracle on 34th Street. If you are in the majority who loves that movie, you owe it to yourself to seek out Driftwood.
Natalie Wood stars as Jenny, a lost orphan girl who has a profound effect on a small town and the doctor that takes her in. Jenny also witnesses a plane crash and ends up rescuing a collie. This little girl is full of questions, delightfully honest, and changes the lives of everyone when she is struck with a plague that threatens to spread throughout the town, having the doctor race against time to find a vaccination.
The young Miss Wood joins an exemplary cast that could easily be in the category of a who’s who of classic films; Walter Brennan (Rio Bravo), Margaret Hamilton (The Wizard of Oz), Dean Jagger (White Christmas), Jerome Cowan (The Matese Falcon), Ruth Warrick (Citizen Kane), and Alan Napier (Alfred from the famed 1960’s Batman TV series). Director Allan Dwan was no slouch either, having helmed Shirley Temple in Heidi, and the 1949 classic, Sands of Iwo Jima starring John Wayne. All in all, this is a first class production that has warmed the hearts of some of the most jaded viewers.
Kino Classics’ Driftwood comes in a new 4K restoration with an audio commentary by film historian Jeremy Arnold, and a trailer gallery.
Happy Viewing and Happy Thanksgiving!
Amazon – $18.89