Wednesday, November 15, 2017

THE THIN MAN (1934)

Hard-drinking Nick Charles (William Powell) is one of the greatest detectives alive, but he recently married a wealthy industrialist's daughter, Nora (Myrna Loy), so from now on it's smooth sailing!!  No more gumshoeing or hiding in the shadows for him. No siree, Bob! Just a bunch of relaxing, getting drunk as a skunk and gettin' up in his wife's guts...or at least that was the plan.

No matter how hard he fights it, he can't help but get pulled into the case of a married scientist (Edward Ellis) who disappeared around the time his mistress was found murdered. All of New York is abuzz with wild rumors and stories. And to make matters even worse, Nick's beautiful new bride is chomping at the bit to see her famous detective husband in action! Finally, he agrees and after some entertaining snooping around, he has all of the players in the mystery forced to attend a dinner party at his penthouse.  Fireworks ensue.

The murder mystery in THE THIN MAN is entertaining, but the real attraction (and the reason the film endures even to this day) is the on-screen chemistry between Myrna Loy and William Powell.  The two of them together as Nick and Nora Charles really is movie perfection.  The playfulness and quick wit...and the funny faces!  Oh my god, the funny faces they make at each other is the cutest thing that I've seen in a long time.

Quick pace, great mystery, amazing supporting cast, nice use of shadows, clever script (based on an outstanding novel by Dashiell Hammett), outstanding direction by W.S. Van Dyke (a.k.a. "One-Take Woody") who somehow shot this movie in less than 3 weeks!!!  Fun fact: Hammett's novel was originally published in December 1933 and the film premiered five months later in May 1934!  Holy duck-billed platypus testicles, that's fast!!!

If you enjoy classic Hollywood mysteries, then THE THIN MAN is required viewing and the start to a wonderful series that actually has a two sequels that I think are better than the original (parts 2 and 3). Highly recommended.

Part 2 - After the Thin Man
Part 3 - Another Thin Man
Part 4 - Shadow of the Thin Man
Part 5 - The Thin Man Goes Home
Part 6 - Song of the Thin Man