Rusty Saves a Life (1949)

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Rusty Saves a Life (1949) Poster

In small town Lawtonville, Illinois, teen-aged Danny Mitchell, his German Shepard Rusty, and Danny's five similarly aged friends have been close companions with aging and wealthy Counsellor... See full summary »



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23 June 2007 | sol-kay
| Where there's a Will there's a Way
**SPOILERS** Knowing that he doesn't have long to live Lewtownville's Counselor Gibson, Thorson Hall, sets himself down one evening to write, or rewrite, his last will and testament only to pass away just before he had time to sign it. The Counselor has become very friendly with Danny Mitchell, Ted Donaldson, and his friends as well as Danny's dog Rusty after he wrote out his first will leaving everything to his nephew Fred Gibson, Stephen Dunne.

The movie "Rusty Saves a Life" has Danny and his friends find out the hard way that prejudging people is as bad as having people prejudge them. Resenting Fred in him getting his uncles, Old Man Gibson, house and business, a pottery plant, Danny and his friends, Nip & Tuck together with Gerald and Squeaky, attempt to run Fred out of town by making his life in Lawtownville miserable.

Fred himself is anything but friendly to Danny and his friends, and especially Danny's dog Rusty, but he's in fact only reacting to what their doing to him and his property. Old Man Gibson was about to leave his house to Danny & Co. but the fact that he died before he could write his intention into his new will made everything in his will moot.

The movie has the boys, Danny & Co. go so far as to even committing crimes, like breaking his house windows, in order to drive Fred out of town. The final straw is when Danny, together with his dog Rusty, tried to fill Fred's new swimming pool with dirt. Rusty getting his paw caught in a bear-trap that Fred left around his property has Danny almost burn the entire house down, with Fred's cigarette lighter, in order to save his injured dog Rusty. It's only when Fred now completely turned off with the people of Lawtownville, who sided with Danny & Co. no matter how much trouble they cause him, and about to leave town that he gets a sudden change of heart when he ends, with Fred's car driving off the road, up almost at the bottom of the river.

Unlike in the other "Rusty" movies Danny is anything but the sweet and likable young boy that we got to know over the years. You can understand Danny's feeling toward Fred in him getting everything that Old Man Gibson wanted to leave to Danny and his friends. It's wasn't Fred's fault that his uncle died before he could finalize his second will but the way Danny and his friend treated Fred you would think that he somehow murdered his ailing uncle to get his money and property!

The bitterness directed against Fred by Danny and his friends even spilled over among the grown ups of Lawtonville who, no matter how much Fred wanted to be friends with them, treated the man like an outcast. Fred himself wasn't exactly "Mr. Wonderful" but at least he tried to get along with everybody in town which may have been why he became so embittered with them, the townspeople, in not really accepting him as one of their own.

The happy, but a bit convoluted, ending has Rusty come to Fred's rescue saving him from drowning. Rusty who almost lost his paw, in a bear-trap, because of Fred didn't hold that against him when he risked his life jumping into the river, injured paw and all, to save Fred from going under.

In the end Fred forgave everyone who made a mess out of his stay in Lawtownville allowing Danny and his friends to stay at Old Man Gibson's place, regardless of what his uncles first will said, whenever they wanted too. But it was Rusty in saving Fred's life who forgave him who, more then anyone else in the movie, showed so much disdain and outward resentment toward the friendly and lovable German Shepard that Rusty was about the only one in the movie that really had a good reason not to like him!


Release Date:

3 February 1949


English, French, Latin

Country of Origin


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