Its 5:23 pm
Whew!! I woke up this morning thanks to a 20 pound pounce from Paladin. I opened my eyes as he settled in on top of my chest,he put his paw out and turned my head outside. Holy Queen of Snow,it was snowing and snowing big time! As I got up,Paladin went to the computer room and grabbed a BluRay from the “The Be Reviewed” pile. I said “Mind if I wake up first before we watch what you picked”?
After squaring things away,I gave him some treats,talked to my brother and made a cup of hot tea. I then looked at what Paladin suggested we watch and I couldn’t have picked a better tomato soup movie…our good friend “M” from Warner Brothers Archive had sent us the very first film in the classic “Thin Man” series and as a added bonus,he sent it to us on the Archives new BluRay release. Now we have watched and reviewed the 4th and the 6th movie already (links below) and were eager to see just how Nick and Nora Charles got their start……
The first adventure finds former police detective Nick Charles (William Powell) retired from the force after marrying the lovely Nora Charles. The duo,along with their lovable dog Asta are living a nice peaceful but sedate life.
The two decide to travel to New York City for Christmas and Nick manages to get himself involved in a missing persons case which happens to be a old friend. But when the case shifts into a murder case,Nick is forced to go hunting,along with Nora and Asta for a very cunning killer.
Nick manages to gather all of his suspects to a big lavish dinner where upon he exposes who killed his friend.
So instead of going deep in plot detail which would actually sort of spoil the film,I thought I would share my impressions of “The Thin Man”.
What I didn’t know that the onscreen chemistry between stars William Powell and Myrna Loy didn’t start with this series,they had already co-starred in an earlier 1934 release called “Manhattan Melodrama”.
MGM then cast Powell and Loy to do this version of Dashiell Hammett’s novel. “The film itself was filmed in only TWO WEEKS by W.S. “Woody” Van Dyke on a reported budget of slightly over 230,000 dollars….while that seems paltry,remember that the Great Depression was in full mode in 1934. MGM actually considered “The Thin Man” to be a B movie release and didn’t push it very hard….but when “The Thin Man” snagged four Oscar nods and raked in 1.5 million at the box office,the studio realized that they had hit and ordered another film. Good timing too because Powell had basically taken his Nick Charles into another husband and (ex) wife caper in 1936’s “The Ex-Mrs. Bradford“.
While Powell and the delightful Jean Arthur were also fun to watch,Powell was much better with Myrna Loy,who is breathtaking onscreen and also quite more sassy. Their witty banter and elegant style blaze across the screen and while it wouldn’t work today,Nick and Nora’s fondness for a good and plentiful cocktail is also quite amusing,while the crime solving Nick and Nora were pretty buzzed in the first movie,wiser heads realized in later films that a slightly drunk all the time detective wouldn’t be taken seriously and toned down how many drinks Nick and Nora would have. Also,at least for the three films we have seen,Myrna Loy doesn’t smoke onscreen when smoking was extremely popular in Hollywood and just about everyone smoked onscreen.
What also is pretty amazing is that MGM head honcho Louis B. Mayer didn’t want Loy cast in the role of Nora and told Van Dyke that he could only have her for only three weeks in thinking that would cause him to recast….instead,two weeks later,Van Dyke was wrapped and he showed Mayer the dallies. Mayer agreed that Myrna was magic with Powell.
One of the great things about reviewing older films like this is finding stars in their early days and in “The Thin Man”,this holds true here as a young Maureen O’Sullivan who later became “Jane” in the Tarzan movies and Cesar Romero,later the known for his turn as “The Joker” on the classic “Batman” series.
While the “Thin Man” in the movie refers to Nick’s missing friend,folks thought it was referring to Nick himself and thus the rest of the series always featured “The Thin Man” in its title.
We really enjoyed “The Thin Man” very much and are quite excited to have had a chance to watch and review it. The film,which you can buy at the website of the Warner Brothers Archive, has a run time of 91 minutes. Extras include a radio show based on the film and features Powell and Loy. It also features a episode of the 1957 TV series starring Peter Lawford of Rat Pack fame
You can also check out our other “Thin Man” reviews
The cheetah and I will be back with another “Thin Man” review shortly.
Feel free to drop a comment below!