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The daughter of loving-but-work-consumed parents, Gretchen has a lonely life at the family's country house. She has a huge imagination, so nobody believes her when she says she found a wolf in a nearby cave. That she proves everybody wrong will be evident to dog-tale fanciers of all breeds, from Lassie Come Home to Marley & Me. Adorably natural 8-year-old Sharyn Moffett makes a terrific film debut in My Pal, Wolf, which deals sweetly with an irresistible child-and-newfound-pet premise and movingly with issues of war and the homefront. Gretchen's German Shepherd turns out to be a trained AWOL army dog, and though she brings her case to the secretary of war himself, she finally faces her duty to send her pal off to fight. The cheers and tears this sentimental yarn generates are honest, while the foibles of self-absorbed grown-ups are depicted with compassion. Well-crafted by producer Adrian Scott (Murder, My Sweet, Crossfire) and director Alfred Werker (He Walked by Night, Lost Boundaries), My Pal, Wolf is a movie lover's best friend.

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WAA591410 My Pal, Wolf DVD (1944/Una O'Connor) $21.99