(1939)2.5Craig ButlerLike other films in the series, Nancy Drew, Reporter seems to be drawn not so much from the popular Carolyn Keene series of mystery novels as from bits and pieces of other, often much better films. Thus, Bonita Granville's interpretation of the title character, while winning and appropriate in the context of the film, has almost nothing in common with the Nancy of the books. Instead, she's a generic teenager as filtered through a celluloid lens -- energetic, bubbly, impulsive, dramatic, wholesome, naïve, and somewhat flighty. Ted is a malleable piece of putty for Nancy's hands, more comic relief than romantic interest. And Mary and Killer come across as slightly older refugees from an Our Gang short. The plot is also fairly standard issue, and can easily be stopped to allow this quartet of kids to literally sing for their supper in a sequence that has nothing to do with the film. Still, in spite of all this, Reporter is pretty good "cute" entertainment, and a step up from the first entry in the Nancy Drew series. The story is a bit more involving, the sequence in which Nancy changes the letter sign the hotel sign is effective, the basic overall premise of a journalism contest is fine, and the younger kids' fireworks shenanigans are actually worked into the story's outcome. The direction is fast and fairly fluid, and if Ted's boxing impersonation and Tweedy's cross-dressing don't make much sense, they're still amusing. All in all, average but enjoyable.