Danny Mitchell, feeling that he has been misunderstood (nothing new for this kid in this series) by his parents, takes his dog, Rusty, and leaves home, camping out near the trailer of ... See full summary »
Danny Mitchell, feeling that he has been misunderstood (nothing new for this kid in this series) by his parents, takes his dog, Rusty, and leaves home, camping out near the trailer of veterinary Dr. Francis Xavier Ray. Gas escapes in the trailer during the night, and Rusty rescues the vet before he is overcome. Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
... In the first Rusty film, "Adventures of Rusty", Mrs. Mitchell's first name is Ann. The second Rusty film, "Return of Rusty", is very rare, thus I haven't seen it, and just has Mrs. Mitchell billed as Mrs. Mitchell. Here her first name changes to Ethel. No wonder Danny Mitchell is so troubled, with Mom changing names so frequently. But I digress.
Besides Mrs. Mitchell, Danny's stepmom, the film is also misnamed. After being a central character in the first film, Rusty, Danny Mitchell's trusty German Shepherd dog, is barely a prop here. Instead the film focuses on Danny's dissatisfaction with his relationship with his father. He finds that satisfaction in a new friendship with Dr. Francis Xavier Fay (Aubrey Mather), a distinguished older fellow in the tradition of Edmund Gwenn. Dr. Fay is a veterinarian and for some reason is traveling with a local carnival. He is knowledgeable in many things, and his warmth and insight and exciting vagabond lifestyle have Danny treating him more like a dad than his own father, setting up jealousy and conflict between Danny and his actual dad.
This is where the casting and characterization hurt the film. Here Tom Powers plays Danny's father. At the time this film was made Mr. Powers was 57, looked more like Edgar Kennedy playing an irascible cop than anything else, and just didn't come across like the erudite lawyer as Conrad Nagel did in the first Rusty film as Hugh Mitchell. Maybe this casting was done on purpose though, because Hugh Mitchell pulls a bunch of bone headed stunts worthy of Edgar Kennedy in his RKO comedy shorts before the film ends. Ann Doran, however, is lovely and easy going as Danny's stepmom, first name faux pas aside. Ted Donaldson was 14 by the time this film was made and was getting a little too old to play the cute little kid that needs a gentle nudge to get back on track.
Overall, this is an OK family film of the 40's that actually foreshadows the format of TV family dramas of the 50's. Just don't expect a very big dose of Rusty in this one or you will be disappointed.
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