Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Thin Man (1934)

Part comedy, part whodunit, The Thin Man is great entertainment.

William Powell and Myrna Loy team up for the first of a series of Thin Man films in this 1934 release from director W.S. Van Dyke (Tarzan The Ape Man).

Powell is Nick Charles, a detective of some reputation who's back in New York City after a four-year break. He's joined by his bride, Nora (Myrna Loy), and pooch, fox terrier Asta.

Dorothy Wynant (Maureen O'Sullivan) appeals to Charles for help finding her brilliant, but absent-minded and wife-cheating father, Clyde (Edward Ellis). Police suspicions fall on the father after his mistress, Julia Wolf (Natalie Moorhead), is found dead in her apartment. Father Wynant had earlier accused her of stealing $25,000 in bonds. Hey, this film was made nearly 80 years ago. Account for inflation and that's a whack of cash.

Charles tangles with family members who want answers, pesky reporters, curious police, his eager wife who wants him back on the job and plenty of drinks as he is drawn closer and closer to finding out who killed who, and why.

Based on a novel by Dashiell Hammett (Maltese Falcon), suspects are aplenty in The Thin Man. Charles brings them all together for a final act gourmet dinner to identify the killer.

In its brief 90-minute running time, the quips quickly fly (Q. "What hit me?", A. "The last martini."), there's tough-talking mobsters, and dames, who've been done wrong.

RATING: 9/10

FUN FACTS: The Thin Man's cast includes Cesar Romero, who appeared as The Joker in the Batman television series.

Maureen O'Sullivan is familiar to modern-day audiences for her appearances in Hannan and Her Sisters and Peggy Sue Got Married.

Director Van Dyke received an Academy Award nomination for best director for The Thin Man.

Other series titles include Shadow of the Thin Man and After the Thin Man).

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