These four classic, 1938 black-and-white Nancy Drew hour-long films directed by William Clemens (not the 2007 movie starring Emma Roberts) feature Bonita Granville as Nancy Drew, John Litel as Carson Drew, and Frankie Thom... more »as as Ted Nickerson. Based on the character from the book series first published in 1930, the headstrong teenager Nancy Drew has a knack for winding up right in the middle of a mystery, and neither her father nor friend Ted can talk Nancy into doing what they consider the sensible thing: letting the police handle the detective work. With a curious mix of early feminism and cultural chauvinism, a dichotomy representative of late-1930s society, Nancy investigates each mystery with fervor, usually dragging her friend Ted into the thick of the investigation and demonstrating a complete disregard for her personal safety or the safety of her friends and family in her determination to track down the perpetrator. Sharp-witted and quick to pick up on the smallest, seemingly insignificant details, Nancy often succeeds where the local Police Captain Tweedy (Frank Orth) fails. Nancy Drew, Detective presents the story of an elderly benefactress unscrupulously detained at a sanatorium, while Reporter and Trouble Shooter are murder mysteries, and Hidden Staircase deals with a combined murder and attempt to dupe two elderly women. While somewhat ponderously paced by modern standards, these original Nancy Drew adventures are quality suspense mysteries that deserve their classic designation. (Ages 10 and older) --Tami Horiuchi« less
interested_observer | San Francisco, CA USA | 06/15/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Original Nancy Drew Mystery Collection presents the four movie Nancy Drew series released by Warner Brothers in 1938-9. Nancy Drew (played by Bonita Granville), an enthusiastic, insightful teen, delights in solving crimes. Her successful lawyer father, Carson Drew (played by John Litel) tries to restrain and protect her, to little avail. Nancy's best friend is compliant, inventive Ted Nickerson (played by Frankie Thomas), who takes frequent tumbles in Nancy's behalf. Each film is a separate story and lasts from 60 to 69 minutes. The principals are all excellent and are supported by fine character actors.
In Nancy Drew - Detective, wealthy alumna Mary Eldredge wants to leave $250,000 to Nancy's school but suddenly disappears. Nancy's doctor reports being kidnapped to treat an old woman in a secret place, to gain entry to which, one must use the password `Blue Bells'. An injured carrier pigeon shows up with a message containing the password. Nancy goes to work to find out what happened to the alumna and to get the money for the school. Nancy and Ted disguise themselves. The story is based on `Password to Larkspur Lane'.
In Nancy Drew - Reporter, Nancy, entered in a newspaper's reporting contest, visits a coroner's inquest and decides the likely defendant is innocent. The key to the case is finding the tin can the poison came in because the can preserves all fingerprints, including the real murderer's. Ted has to box, and a hotel sign provides fun.
In Nancy Drew - Trouble Shooter, a family friend at Sylvan Lake is accused of murder. When a dead man is found under a rare, tropical flower in a field, Nancy starts to snoop. She is not happy that her father enjoys the company of a woman neighbor. Nancy and Ted get to ride in a biplane.
In Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase, two elderly sisters intend to donate their property to a hospital once they own it in two weeks. By their father's will, at least one sister has to sleep in the large house each night in order to inherit. The problems are that people are trying to steal the proof the sisters met the terms of the will, that the sisters' chauffeur is found shot, and that small sounds and thefts are going on at night inside. Should the sisters flee their home? Nancy and Ted find a passageway in the basement that clarifies matters. The film is based on "The Hidden Staircase".
All four black & white films look good, although there are some brief segments of `Detective' that don't and at times `Reporter' looks viewed through a very thin waterfall. (The picture is still far ahead of Alpha Video's.)
There are no sex or language issues. There are no skin scenes, other than a boxing match in `Reporter' between Ted and an older, bad guy. Nancy and Ted are pals and don't even kiss. The chemistry is good.
The characters often say '23 80', which refers to the $23.80 fixed weekly payment to WPA workers; so if you bet '23 80', you are betting a lot. "
Two short features for the price of one
interested_observer | 07/03/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The picture and sound transfer on this DVD is very good (that's always good news whenever old, rarely seen films are released on home video). Roan Group is a DVD maker you can count on. "The Kennel Murder Case" is a bright, tight, and fluidly-directed whodunit. "Nancy Drew, Reporter" is a juvenile but enjoyable teen mystery-comedy. The movies are on separate sides on the disc. No captioning nor supplements are included."
At last. SOMEONE is finally putting these out!
ImEzekiel65 | WV USA | 04/10/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Really, really glad these are finally being released by a decent company. And all together in one set.
For my money, Bonita Granville truly brought Nancy Drew to life. No one else could have even come close. Sad that her career was so frustratingly short, as she was a wonderful and, in these films, exuberant actress.
Now we can enjoy these films, with Bonita/Nancy, forever young and full of life nearly 70 years later. Would love to see more of her films on DVD in the near future. (Are you listening, Warner Bros.?)"
"I guess it's just my woman's intuition."
Samantha Kelley | USA | 07/08/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Nancy Drew was a highly popular book series that became a group of b-level movies starring Bonita Granville in the title role. These four films are excellent little mysteries, short and sweet with plenty of gusto. They are a bit childish because of the age of the characters; teenagers today would never act the way these teens do. However, if one can ignore that, the movies are highly enjoyable and great for all ages.
First, we have Nancy Drew: Detective, a film about an elderly benefactor who plans to donate much of her fortune to the girls' school that Nancy attends. Before she can donate the money, though, she disappears. Nancy is positive she has been kidnapped, despite the little evidence to support the claim. Along with the help of Ted Nickerson (Frankie Thomas) and her lawyer father (John Litel), she finds that there is a plot afoot, and it might be more dangerous than she originally suspected.
In Nancy Drew: Reporter, Nancy switches her throw-away assignment for the local newspaper in favor of a murder trial. She knows that the woman is innocent, even though the evidence is stacked against her. If only Nancy could get her father to represent the case! But as always, Nancy takes things into her own hands, and ropes Ted into the deal.
Nancy Drew can't stand the sight of her father falling for a woman in Nancy Drew: Troubleshooter. They venture to the country so her father can work on a case against his friend, Nancy's "Uncle Matt," who has been accused of murder. They're safe, until they find the body of the missing man, and unfortunately the evidence is against good-old Matt. Nancy is suspicious as always, and looks into things a little deeper. With the help of a stereotypical servant named Apollo, she sees that the case is much more complicated than her father realizes.
The film with the most exciting title is Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase. Two elderly ladies are started when a murder occurs in their home despite no access for an intruder to commit the crime. They fear paranormal activity because they have been hearing strange noises coming from the basement. They cannot leave unless they want to lose possession of their home because of some technicalities in a will that gave them the house. It is up to Nancy Drew and Ted the ice man to figure out what exactly is causing all of the problems in the old Civil War era home."
Very Good quality DVD of early mysteries!
Paul J. Mular | San Carlos, CA USA | 04/25/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Roan Group can always be counted on to bring the best quality DVDs on public domain titles.
THE KENNEL MURDER CASE is sharp and clear with great contrast! The mystery is quite intricate and absorbing, I bought this for the next title but ended up thoroughly enjoying this mystery. You will want to see it again and again to find all of the clues.
NANCY DREW REPORTER is also sharp and clear, but there are a few scratches in the print used (not bad). Still it is an excellent presenation. The story is a bit juvinile, but then that is what Nancy Drew was aimed at.
It is a strange pairing of mysteries."