Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Thin Man (1934)

"I read you were shot 5 times in the tabloids. That's not true. He didn't come anywhere near my tabloids."

Nick Charles is a retired detective who enjoys a variety of things: drinking, spending his wife Nora's money and making clever quips about everyday life. He's suddenly pulled back into the detecting game when friend Claude Wynant disappears. As the bodies start to pile up, Nick is forced to get involved with Nora and loyal family pet Asta tagging along.

The first thing to watch for is the amount of alcohol consumed in this picture. Prohibition had just been repealed and I'm sure that the whole cast was laughing their heads off as the liquor flowed freely. Between the two of them, Nick and Nora, played by William Powell and Myrna Loy, they consume 17 drinks throughout the film. This includes everything from shots to cocktails to rye to a dry martini that Powell shows the barmen how to make.

The dialogue here is so fresh and quick that you really need to pay attention. William and Myrna really make the roles their own. Their onscreen relationship has a playful quality to it that served the duo well as they starred together in 14 movies.

The plot is really the only aspect that suffers. It took several viewings to fully understand what was going on. There are quite a few characters and sideplots. It also didn't help that Claude Wynant's wife and girlfriend looked alike, both with platinum blonde hair.

This is a great example of film noir and a twist on the classic gumshoe film. Nick and Nora are a perfect pair. Myrna's always trying to accompany William on cases, he's always locking her in closets to keep her out of danger and Asta can often be found cowering under a bed somewhere. This was a great film and I would highly recommend it.

Rating: 4.5/5


mister anchovy said...

It's been years since I've seen this film. I think I'd enjoy watching it with fresh eyes. 17 drinks, eh?

theduckthief said...

That's only what Nick and Nora were drinking. This doesn't include all the extras.

I was surprised about how fresh it felt, despite being over 70 years old. The dialogue is much snappier than modern movies.