A few words about…™ Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase (2019) – in Blu-ray

As a Blu-ray, the release is perfect 4 Stars
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Best to mention Edward Stratemeyer, of the Stratemeyer Syndicate, a literary packaging entity the roots of which go back to the 1890s, and the original series, all written under pseudonyms, The Rover Boys.

That series was followed by The Bobbsey Twins, Tom Swift (whose time machine was used to help John Ford with his optical effects, and then the two series, probably best known to young readers today, The Hardy Boys, which arrived in 1927, and the subject of this piece, Nancy Drew, which appeared three years hence.

Through the decades, Nancy Drew has seen numerous feature films, originally starring Bonita Granville, multiple TV series, a later feature with Emma Roberts, and as well as a slew of video games.

Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase, featuring young Sophia Lillis, the modern It girl, is actually the second incarnation of that title – the first being the fourth of the Granville films, in 1939.

I wanted to see this film, as I feel that there’s a paucity of films oriented toward pre-teen and tween girls – I’ve been trying to get one made for over a decade, based upon a wonderful novel.

Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase isn’t a great film, but it’s a good one. It more than gets the job done, and may be perceived as “great” by someone of the proper age range.

Miss Lillis certainly moves the film along, and she’s certainly a talent to watch.

As a Blu-ray, the release is perfect, but as a new film, from data, it should be.

I’m pleased to see films such as this get made. We have way too many superheroes at the moment. One might presume that the theatrical run was set to create buzz for the Blu-ray release, which may have one of the shortest windows ever.

Theatrical release, March 15th. Blu-ray, due April 2nd.

This could be precisely what’s needed in the marketplace, and should nicely entertain its intended audience.

Image – 5

Audio – 5

Pass / Fail – Pass

Recommended

RAH

Published by

Robert Harris

editor,member

13 Comments

  1. RAH,

    You're going to get some blow back from a few old-timers that didn't appreciate this latest version of Nancy Drew. I actually watched it in a movie theater as AMC got some kind of deal with Warner to show it in their theaters only. I thought it was pretty good. I don't need to see it again so I'll pass on the BD. With that said, I totally agree with you about Miss Lillis. She has a bright future. Again, she and Amy Adams can be mistaken for close relations as they look so much alike.

  2. Robert Harris

    Best to mention Edward Stratemeyer, of the Stratemeyer Syndicate, a literary packaging entity the roots of which go back to the 1890s, and the original series, all written under pseudonyms, The Rover Boys.

    That series was followed by The Bobbsey Twins, Tom Swift (whose time machine was used to help John Ford with his optical effects, and then the two series, probably best known to young readers today, The Hardy Boys, which arrived in 1927, and the subject of this piece, Nancy Drew, which appeared three years hence.

    Through the decades, Nancy Drew has seen numerous feature films, originally starring Bonita Granville, multiple TV series, a later feature with Emma Roberts, and as well as a slew of video games.

    Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase, featuring young Sophia Lillis, the modern It girl, is actually the second incarnation of that title – the first being the fourth of the Granville films, in 1939.

    I wanted to see this film, as I feel that there's a paucity of films oriented toward pre-teen and tween girls – I've been trying to get one made for over a decade, based upon a wonderful novel.

    Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase isn't a great film, but it's a good one. It more than gets the job done, and may be perceived as "great" by someone of the proper age range.

    Miss Lillis certainly moves the film along, and she's certainly a talent to watch.

    As a Blu-ray, the release is perfect, but as a new film, from data, it should be.

    I'm pleased to see films such as this get made. We have way too many superheroes at the moment. One might presume that the theatrical run was set to create buzz for the Blu-ray release, which may have one of the shortest windows ever.

    Theatrical release, March 15th. Blu-ray, due April 2nd.

    This could be precisely what's needed in the marketplace, and should nicely entertain its intended audience.

    Image – 5

    Audio – 5

    Pass / Fail – Pass

    Recommended

    RAH

    Is that the same project that, a few years ago, had you interested in working with Mireille Enos?

  3. As a fan of 30's and 40's series, I'm partial to the Granville Nancy's but I'm still looking forward to watching this incarnation as well. I've seen every Nancy Drew – all the movies and all the TV series and unsold pilots. Fun to see the various takes and this will be one more.

  4. Robert Harris


    That series was followed by The Bobbsey Twins, Tom Swift (whose time machine was used to help John Ford with his optical effects,

    RAH

    As a John Ford fan, perhaps someone could explain the optical effects joke here. Thanks

  5. I also caught it in a theatre, and while it took a while to get to the main plot, I found it quite enjoyable, faithful to the spirit of the original, and yes, Lillis is indeed a talent to watch. (Mention should also be made of Linda Lavin, who adds her patented spice and humor as the old lady whose house is haunted.) One thing I did notice is the preponderance of tight close-ups–not to mention the literally winking end and the sequel set-up–which led me to wonder if this was designed as a TV-movie pilot for a new series (at 84 min. without credits, it could comfortably fit in a two-hour slot with commercials).

    Mike S.

  6. Best to mention Edward Stratemeyer, of the Stratemeyer Syndicate, a literary packaging entity the roots of which go back to the 1890s, and the original series, all written under pseudonyms, The Rover Boys.

    That series was followed by The Bobbsey Twins, Tom Swift (whose time machine was used to help John Ford with his optical effects, and then the two series, probably best known to young readers today, The Hardy Boys, which arrived in 1927, and the subject of this piece, Nancy Drew, which appeared three years hence.

    I have a particular interest in Edward Stratemeyer because in 1973 I spent an afternoon with his daughter, Harriet S. Adams, who took over the reins of the Stratemeyer Syndicate when he died in 1930. I interviewed her for a college cultural history paper about her father that I was writing (a copy of my paper made its way to the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Yale University, but that is another story). I also provided some assistance to Melanie Rehak for her Edgar Award-winning dual biography, “Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her.” The book is highly recommended for anyone interested in the subject, and if you look closely you’ll see me mentioned in the acknowledgements and one of the footnotes.

    Mrs. Adams and her partner, Andrew Svenson, began revising all of the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books in 1959 after being pressured to update them and remove the stereotypes that were present in the originals – but at the cost of losing some of their charm.

    I have not seen this new Nancy Drew movie but I will buy it because of my lifelong interest. I have quite a collection of original Stratemeyer Syndicate books, including every original Hardy Boys title from “The Tower Treasure” (1927) to “Mystery of the Desert Giant” (1961). I also have many Nancy Drew, Rover Boys, Tom Swift, X Bar X Boys, and Ted Scott books, all Stratemeyer Syndicate products.

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