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Nancy Drew: Detective (1938)

After a wealthy dowager who has made a substantial donation her alma mater suddenly disappears, Nancy Drew sets out to solve the mystery.


William Clemens


Kenneth Gamet (original screenplay), Mildred Wirt Benson (story "The Password to Larkspur Lane") (as Carolyn Keene)

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Complete credited cast:
Bonita Granville ... Nancy Drew
John Litel ... Carson Drew
James Stephenson ... Challon
Frankie Thomas ... Ted Nickerson
Frank Orth ... Captain Tweedy
Helena Phillips Evans ... Mary Eldredge
Renie Riano ... Effie Schneider
Charles Trowbridge ... Hollister
Dick Purcell ... Keiffer
Edward Keane ... Adam Thorne (as Ed Keane)
Mae Busch ... Miss Tyson


Nancy Drew and Ted Nickerson solve a kidnapping case of a wealthy elderly lady. Ted has to disguise himself as a nurse while Nancy beomse a "widow" in order to locate the lady they are rescuing. Written by SM <smortens@ix.netcom.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Mystery


Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

19 November 1938 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Passport to Larkspur Lane See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The car Nancy and Ted drive is a 1937 Ford Cabriolet. See more »


The boom mic is visible reflected in the paint on the upper left side of the rumble seat when the guard goes to open it up at the gate as the car is leaving the Hennessey Estate on Larkspur Lane. See more »


Carson Drew: Those men are not going to stand for Nancy Drew poking her little nose into their affairs.
See more »


Referenced in Call the Midwife: Episode #4.5 (2015) See more »

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User Reviews

Bonita Granville Suspects Fowl Play
7 March 2009 | by wes-connorsSee all my reviews

The "Brinwood School for Young Ladies" is buzzing about the arrival of wealthy sponsor Helena Phillips Evans (as Mary Eldredge). Pretty teenage sleuth Bonita Granville (as Nancy Drew) and the girls hope the woman's offer of $250,000 will be used to install a swimming pool. When the elderly woman disappears just before making the donation, Ms. Granville suspects foul play. Her father, lawyer John Litel (as Carson Drew), and others try to veer Granville of the case; but, she is determined to find the missing woman. Granville enlists help from young wavy-haired neighbor Frankie Thomas (as Ted Nickerson).

The "Carolyn Keene" characters were unfamiliar to this commenter, but this certainly seems like a satisfactory adaptation.

Granville, who made an impression in "These Three" (1936), is an attractive, determined, intelligent, and charming heroine. Unlike most early "teen" stars, Granville appears natural and endearing, even with expressions like "I'll bet you $23.80" and "I should say not!" Mr. Thomas, who made an impression in "Wednesday's Child" (1934), is similarly appealing and unaffected, for a 1930s movie juvenile. Thomas says "Let's keep it clean" and makes the "drag" scene. "Nancy Drew - Detective" shows how well a "small" genre film can be done. Granville and Thomas make a cute team.

****** Nancy Drew - Detective (11/19/38) William Clemens ~ Bonita Granville, Frankie Thomas, John Litel

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