Thin Man, The (1934)


He makes up for it in length, though
He makes up for it in length, though

Genre: Mystery Comedy Crime Romance

Starring: William Powell (How to Marry a MillionaireThe Great Ziegfeld), Myrna Loy (Love CrazyAirport 1975)

Directed By: W.S. Van Dyke (After The Thin ManAnother Thin Man)

Overview: Nick and Nora Charles, a retired private detective and his curious wife, are thrust into a murder mystery involving an inventor, his money-hungry ex-wife and a score of suspects both familial and strange.

Whenever I lean in to sample another early 30s 'Must See' of my self-imposed film studies, I do it with a big fat grain of salt. My two readers will tell you that I am a firm hater of this era. With few exceptions, the early 30s have some major talkies growing pains and it's absolutely no excuse for quality. Chaplin was doing silents well into the talkies era and for that I'm thankful. While I began to watch The Thin Man, a series so successful it produced 5 more films, I realized that by 1934, Hollywood at least, has 'nailed it down', technically.  I realized with a sigh of relief that The Thin Man had sold me quite quickly. With the grace and charm of Myrna Loy, the comedic timing and pantomime of William Powell while still having a storyline serious enough to sink your teeth into, the only thing you'd be missing from this Mystery Comedy Drama would be an adorable little terrier who helps advance the plot... and wouldn't you know it, they even thought of that.

The most endearing trait of Nick Charles, our hero, is not his debonair style, it's not his Devil-may-care bravery and approach to crime fighting, it's his drinking. He could give George and Martha's liquor cabinet a go without stumbling. His rich socialite wife is clearly a woman so bored that having guns pointed at her is preferable to yet another dinner party, and the cast of characters are often presented in a very strange and original style. Most notable is Morelli, played by Edward Brophy who, before Nick even considers taking the case, breaks into the Charles' home and, at gunpoint, profusely explains how he couldn't be the killer.

Nick pops off a few from time to time
Nick pops off a few from time to time

Performance: 9 Cinematography: 8 Script: 7 Plot: 8 Mood: 8

Overall Rating: 80% (Actually, Quite Meaty)

All told, The Thin Man is certainly a worthy film, and brilliantly acted rich with characters you want to explore. What's more, the ever popular climactic cliché of assembling guests at a dinner party and walking through the details of the case to uncover the murderer? Well The Thin Man may not have started the trend, but I can't think of a film that did it sooner.

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I knew you'd like it. Favorite line: 'You were shot five times in the tabloids' - 'It's not true. He didn't come anywhere near my tabloids!'

Haha! Awesome.

Hey Krystal, where you hail from?


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