NANCY DREW… REPORTER (1939)
I watched this one for research purposes since I’ve been on quite a Nancy Drew kick while working on Pepper Penwell. You know what? It’s actually suprisingly good. Bonita Granville’s Nancy may be a little clumsier and ditzier than the modern (and somewhat cardboardy) incarnation, but she’s also brave, assertive and quick-witted. She gets herself in plenty of trouble, but she’s tough and proactive about getting out of it, too.
This version of Nancy’s not a perfect feminist icon — there’s more than a whiff of ‘lookit what this dizzy dame is putting her poor long-suffering boyfriend through’ about the film — but considering it’s from friggin’ 1939 and it still manages to have an active heroine and even pass the Bechdel test, it’s not bad.
Plus, it’d be worth it for Killer Parkins – the 12-year-old Jughatted hoodlum with a penchant for slipping into a Donald Duck impression – and the out-of-nowhere all-public-domain musical number, even without the main plot.
Like everything else ever, it is now on Youtube. Let’s watch, shall we?
(Edit: The movie can be watched all in one piece here, which might be more convenient – thank you very much to the reader who sent this link!)