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Four-Film Classic Series
on June 15, 2007
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.