Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sleuthing Sundays - Nancy Drew movies (1938/1939)

I thought I'd do a little something extra in addition to reading all the original Nancy Drew books and watched some of the movies that were inspired by the girl detective.  First up are the first two movies starring Bonita Granville from 1938/1939.

Nancy Drew: Detective
Based on the Password to Larkspur Lane,  there are significant changes to Nancy's personality and the personality of Ned, now Ted, and her father.  She is given a hard time by all the men, a lot more so than in the books and they treat her like a little girl most of the time.  That bothered me because Mr. Drew always supported Nancy and encouraged her to sleuth, but in the movies he doesn't do that.  Ted is more of a foible and talks back to her and goes along reluctantly.  He is also her next door neighbor.  I know that these movies would have to be based on the orginal text of the books, but I doubt Ted (Ned) would have ever been so mean to Nancy.  He is rather good looking though and they obviously like each other.  Nancy tends to use her feminine wiles and "women's intuition" a lot and it usually backfires, but she would never behave that way in the books.

The plot similar to the book but there is no Bess or George or Helen so Ted is her companion.  Mrs. Eldrigde promised Nancy's school some money and then she disappears so Nancy sets out to find her despite the protests of her father and the police chief.  She, of course, finds out what happened and there is much excitement in the meantime.  It's a fun movie though not the greatest portrayal of Nancy Drew.

Nancy Drew: Reporter
Nancy goes on an internship to a newspaper and goes to court where she hears about a murder case.  An old lady was poisoned by a photography chemical.  A young lady named Eula Denning is accused though she says she didn't do it.  Nancy notices a man with cauliflower ear at the inquest who later hits Nancy's car and drives away.  Nancy chases him down and gets money for repairs, but notices that he is acting suspicious.  She later hunts down the can of poison that would have the real killer's fingerprints on it, but it is stolen from her.  Nancy puts Ted in the boxing ring with the man to find out more and then sets up the man and his girlfriend and so the mystery gets solved.
Same changes as with the above movie, but fun.


  1. I think that would bug me to see Nancy portrayed that way. The semi-helpless pathetic female thing just doesn't work.... for her or me. ;)

  2. Thanks for sharing these. I didn't know that there had been movies made that long ago about the series. I know about recents ones, but it's cool to see how long they have been around and going strong.

  3. Britt - They certainly make Nancy into a different character which is bothersome.

    Jill - The first movie is from 1938 which is 8 years after the first book came out so it is really neat to see what they do to the character and storylines. Unfortunately they change her character a lot. But they are neat to watch.


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