Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase(Warner Bros.) (1939)

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PUBLICITY —"NANCY DREW AND THE HIDDEN STAIRCASE” Fans Call Bonita Granville Nancy Drew Hollywood film producers have only to look through the sacks of morning mail when the postman trucks them to the studio to know if a_newlylaunched series of pictures is clicking. Such letters, when they come, are addressed and delivered to people who don’t actually exist. But to their writers the addresses are very real. Warner Bros. Studio receives each day some fifty letters addressed to Nancy Drew. Nancy Drew is a girl out of the pages of the books written by Carolyn Keene. Her latest picture of the series which is now so closely identified with Bonita is “Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase,” which is now at the Strand Theatre. Bonita Granville, the Nancy Drew of the films, relates other instances of real identity being submerged by the screen character she has helped make famous. When walking down Hollywood Boulevard, attending the theatre, or on other public appearances, she is more accustomed to hear, “Look, there goes Nancy Drew,” than “Oly there’s Bonita Granville.” Bonita can’t decide whether she likes this or not. She is afraid that both the producers and the public will get so accustomed to thinking of her as Nancy Drew, the girl of hidden staircases and secret passageways and airplane smugglers, that she may not get the chance at other types of pictures. Perfect Model For Sweet Sixteeners Bonita Granville, who is the perfect fashion model for sweet sixteeners in her latest Warner Bros. picture, “Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase,” now playing at the Strand Theatre, is fast becoming an off screen model as well, Bonita has a wardrobe which is neat but not gaudy. No one will ever see Bonita Granville wearing an elaborately trimmed hat, high heels, fur or sparkling jewels during the day or black ensembles at any time. On one of her “inconspicuously gay” evenings recently, she was wearing a patchwork set consisting of gloves, bag and belt made of many pieces of varicolored leather sewn together. SYNOPSIS (Not for Publication) The elderly Turnbull sisters plan to donate their estate for the establishment of a Children’s Hospital. They must, however, live in the house for twenty years without a single night’s absence before they receive clear title to the property. Two weeks before this period expires, Nancy Drew (Bonita Granville) and her boy-friend (Frankie Thomas) foil attempts of the sisters’ chauffeur to steal the affidavits attesting their continuous residence. A few hours later he is shot to death. To prevent the spinsters from moving, Bonita convinces them the chauffeur has committed _ suicide, though she has proof it is murder. The two young sleuths discover a secret underground passage to the home of William Gould, the Turnbull’s neighbor. In an exciting scene they are trapped in the tunnel but escape with Gould as their prisoner. Gould is arrested and confesses the murder. (Review ) Chilling Thrills in New °*‘Nancy Drew” Adventure—At Strand Weird and eerie is the latest adventure of Nancy Drew, as related with spine-tingling effect in ‘Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase,” the fourth picture in the Warner Bros. series featuring Bonita Granville as the intrepid girl detective, which opened to a highly appreciative audience at the Strand Theatre yesterday. * Nancy and her boy friend, Ted Nickerson, again played by Frankie Thomas, have their courage sorely tested, for not only do they have to face, successively, the alternatives of being interred alive or of being slowly but surely drowned, but the settings in which they face these dangers are themselves calculated to strike a chill into the heart of the bravest person. Nancy and Ted have been trying to get evidence against a murderer and this villainous fellow traps them in a secret tunnel (between two houses.) He enters with the intention of killing them but they succeed in knocking him unconscious. But the youngsters are not out of the tunnel—for they find that the doors at either end are fastened by spring locks that can be opened only from the other side. They break a water pipe in the hope that it will sluice a hole through the roof of the tunnel, but all that seems to happen is a steady rise of water in the tunnel, threatening them with death by drowning instead of suffocation. Meanwhile, however, Nancy’s father has informed the police of some of her discoveries concerning the murderer, and the minions of the law arrive on the scene just as the youngsters have succeeded in breaking a _ hole through the surface. Nancy and Ted are rescued and the murderer is arrested. So familiar have the characterizations of Bonita and Frankie become is all that need be said is that their perform Mat 202 — 30c A DETECTIVE PAIR are Bonita Granville and Frankie Thomas in "Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase,"’ Warner Bros. fourth in the adventure series which opened yesterday at the Strand. ances are fully up to the high standard they set at the outset. John Litel, as Nancy’s father, is at his usual competent best, and another familiar face is that of Frank Orth, who is a perennial delight as the Captain Tweedy to whom Nancy’s attempts to help the police are often very annoying. Fine performances are also contributed by Renie Riano, Vera Lewis, Louise Carter, William Gould and George Guhl, while the direction, by William Clemens, who has been the director of every picture in the series, brought out every value in the fine screen play furnished by Kenneth Gamet, who, as in each previous film episode, based his story on the characters found in the popular “Nancy Drew” books of Carolyn Keene. Frankie Thomas Can Take It; But Hates to Be Made Ridiculous Frankie Thomas, 18-year-old Warner Bros. player, one day went through all the mental torment suffered by a boy who is made to appear ridiculous. In the story of “Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase,” the Warner Bros. picture playing at the Strand Theatre, in which he is featured with Bonita Granville, Frankie’s clothes are stolen while he is asleep in a strange basement, and he finally escapes in an ancient silk dress and a lacy hat, which he finds in a box of odds and ends. Shortly afterward he is arrested and taken to the local police station. All day the blushing young actor was obliged to be on the set dressed in his unaccustomed finery, and the other members of the company had a veritable field day at his expense. But poor Frankie found himself totally unable to see any funny side to the situation. He boiled and glowered, while his delighted associates laughed and made what they considered —and Frankie didn’t —clever jests about the chic of his costume. “Ive gone through a lot in making pictures and have worn alot of funny costumes,” Frankie exclaimed after taking a lot of kidding from his associates on the set of ‘Nancy Drew And The Hidden Staircase,’ “but this about beats them all. I just hope sometime soon I’ll be able to get even with them.” Mat 201 — 30c FRANKIE THOMAS dressed in femme attire which is part of the plot to catch the criminal in the latest adventure series, ‘Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase," at the Strand. (Opening Day) New Adventure Of Nancy Drew At Strand Today “Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase,” the fourth in the Warner Bros. series of pictures based on the widely read Carolyn Keene stories, comes to the Strand Theatre today with Bonita Granville again in the role of the indomitable girl detective. The other leading parts are filled by the same players whom the wide public which follows this series has come to expect to see in their familiar roles. These include Frankie Thomas as Nancy’s boy friend and companion in adventure, John Litel as her father, and Frank Orth as Captain Tweedy. Other leading parts in the new picture are played by Renie Riano, Vera Lewis, Louise Carter, William Gould and George Guhl. The director was William Clemens, who has guided the destinies of the series since the outset. As the title of the new picture indicates, it has a somewhat more eerie atmosphere than the previously filmed adventures of the girl detective. The climatic sequence of the picture—and it is both exciting and terrifying—comes when the villain traps Nancy and her boy friend in the underground tunnel. He enters with the intention of killing them both but they succeed in knocking him unconscious first. Then they find, however, that they can’t get out because the doors at either end of the tunnel are fastened with spring locks. Ted gets the idea of breaking a water pipe to sluice a _ hole through the roof of the tunnel. Apparently the only difference that makes is to indicate that their fate will be drowning instead of suffocation, for the water starts rising fast in the tunnel. Meanwhile Nancy’s father has informed Captain Tweedy of her disappearance and the police get to the scene just as the youngsters have finally succeeded in breaking a hole through the top of the tunnel. Fragrance For Hair Bonita Granville, star of Warner Bros.’ “Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase,” now playing at the Strand Theatre, is still too young for woman-of-theworld perfumes, but she puts a few drops of oil of cloves in her brilliantine, so that after spraying her hair she has a faint spicy fragrance about her. RULES FOR YOUR NANCY DREW CLUB The following are the rules under which the Hollywood **“Nancy Drew Club’”’ was formed, and may be the basis for yours: 1. Must have steady boy friend, in the sense of a “nal.” Take part in choosing own clothes. No smoking, drinking, or petting. Pay their share on dates with boys own age. Take part in plans for own career. Must have at least one hobby. Must participate in at least one extra-curricular school activity. Must be a high school student. Page Five