Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Thin Man

W.S. Van Dyke, 1934, bw (8.0*)
This was the first in a series of highly popular crime comedies featuring Nick and Nora Charles, perfectly played, cool and low key, by William Powell and Myrna Loy, with Nick a former detective who married 'idle rich' aristocrat Nora - he now solves crimes just for pleasure, basically out of boredom, and it also gives him something to do between martinis, which flow like water. This began a six-film series of tongue-in-cheek detective stories, usually involving murders among the wealthy or organized crime underworld (which they often frequent). They actually seem to spoof film noir, which hadn't come along yet (40s).

The funniest scenes are those involving Nora meeting ex-cons that Nick 'sent up the river' during his career, and learning how to speak the criminal vernacular, like 'sleeping with the fishes'. They also keep telling Nick how hot his new girlfriend is, and even show up en masse with kids for Nick and Nora's kid's first birthday. This series also has a terrific acting terrier named Asta, probably the most popular film dog in history (see photo). Asta's highlights include playing chase with evidence, and running off a neighbor dog who dug into his mate's pen while he was gone, giving her one black dog in a white litter!

Ironically, the title refers not to detective Charles ("Nick the dick"?) but to a murder suspect in the first film, yet the producers decided to keep the title of the original Dashiell Hammett novel for all future films. Jimmy Stewart was a suspect in the second film, After the Thin Man, so he was the second thin man! To be accurate, the series should have been "The Drinking Detective".
Sequels in order are After the Thin Man, Another Thin Man, Shadow of the the Thin Man, Thin Man Goes Home, Song of the Thin Man.


About Me

My photo
Artist, photographer, composer, author, blogger, metaphysician, herbalist

About This Blog

This is our new template: ProBlogger.

These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

Author at EZines

  © Blogger templates ProBlogger Template by 2008

Back to TOP