Movie Review: Nancy Drew: Troubleshooter (1939)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the murder mystery starring Bonita Granville and Frankie Thomas.

Synopsis: Nancy Drew and her father travel to the country so they can help a close family friend who has been accused of murdering his neighbor. Things become more complicated when the neighbor's missing body turns up in their friend's field and Nancy is distracted by her father's romantic interest in a new neighbor.


It had been a while since I took the time to watch a classic Bonita Granville Nancy Drew mystery and, mostly because I wanted to tryout the YouTube feature on our new Smart TV, I looked up this film at lunch. I wasn't really sure what to expect from it because the description left a little to be desired. However, it turned out to be a pleasantly decent movie.

As far as the overall mystery is concerned, I thought it was a little on the weak side. It wasn't too hard to figure out who was really responsible for the murder or what steps the bad guys would take to prevent Nancy from proving their guilt. Heck, even some of the surprise twists toward the end were kind of predictable. That being said, I still found I enjoyed this film.

I think the one thing that I really enjoyed was the jealousy Nancy showed toward her dad (Litel) when he started fawning over their new countryside neighbor (Wynters). Her overreaction to his romantic intentions was actually funnier to watch than I was expecting, especially when she tried to show the other woman up by cooking dinner. Plus, at least for a while, I really began to wonder if maybe her instincts were right and the neighbor, who was, after all, a stranger, would turn out to be the killer.

Another surprisingly entertaining addition was the farm help, Apollo (Best). He was obviously just added to the movie for the typical (for that era) black stereotype comic relief. But, he definitely made the most of it and managed to steal a couple scenes as a result of that. My personal favorite was the way he secretly stole that chicken.

In fact, probably the only thing I didn't like about this movie was the ending, which, trying not to reveal too much, involved an airplane. Given the lighthearted nature of the film, I was somewhat OK with the fact it was a little on the ridiculous side. However, I did think it was dragged out a little too much, as though the writers ran out of other material and needed to fill a few extra minutes. In other words, it was an OK twist. But, it could have been shorter.

Final Opinion

The mystery is a little bit of a disappointment, mostly because it was pretty predictable. However, the movie was still fun to watch so I would still recommend it.

My Grade: B

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Updated: 05/26/2019, StevenHelmer
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DerdriuMarriner on 04/09/2022

StevenHelmer, Thank you for practical information, pretty pictures and product lines.
The library system here does have Nancy Drew, Trouble Shooter among its Blu-ray and DVD collections. The film is part of a movie mystery collection. So it's possible that other films that you've reviewed with Bonita Granville playing the sleuth part are hiding in plain sight in collections whose contents exceed the spaces allotted for catalogers to catalogue!

Would it be possible that the mystery was not unpredictable because the filmmakers wanted to concentrate upon procedure?

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