Saturday, February 2, 2008

Family-friendly birthday greetings

Bonita Granville, 1923-1988

February 2 marks the 85th birth anniversary of child star Bonita Granville. Among her better-known roles was as juvenile detective Nancy Drew in a series of four movies for Warner Brothers in the late 1930s.

The Nancy Drew movies are decidedly B material, each with a running time of around 70 minutes, and they're certainly a product of their era. The problems of a teenage girl in 1938, at least as seen through the eyes of studio executives, are minor. And in this modern world when we have a much greater concern about pedophiles, and structure our young people's "free" time to a much greater extent, the amoung of independent gallivanting Nancy and her boyfriend (played by Frankie Thomas) do may seem surprising. But they're still enjoyable 70 years on, and well-suited to families (or at least, to daughters; boys may not be so interested in a female lead).

The four movies have been released on DVD.

Grown-ups may prefer seeing Granville as Bette Davis's niece in Now, Voyager.

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