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The Thin Man VHS
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The intoxicating chemistry and repartee between the oft-teamed William Powell and Myrna Loy as Nick and Nora Charles--America's favorite soused detectives--is fully 100-proof in the marvelously witty Thin Man movies. You simply won't find more delightful movie company than Nick and Nora. The title, of course, refers not to Nicky the dick, but to the mysteriously missing scientist he and his lovely partner set out to find. Powell and Loy deliver their sparkling dialog with giddy enthusiasm (and occasionally slurred speech) in this rapid-fire, three-martini suspense comedy directed by famously speedy W.S. Van Dyke and adapted from the novel by Dashiell Hammett. The success of The Thin Man spawned a litter of sequels, including After the Thin Man (featuring a young James Stewart), Another Thin Man (in which a baby is added to the Charles family), Shadow of the Thin Man, The Thin Man Goes Home, and Song of the Thin Man. --Jim Emerson
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This movie really is a forerunner into that noir genre that would soon permeate Hollywood like the scent of cheap cologne in a two bit dive. Somehow it balances the darker and grittier elements of this story with charm, wit, and a semi-permanent state of intoxication.
The direction is excellent, the pacing is flawless, and the performances really bring Hammet's Nick and Nora to life. In fact, the chemistry between Loy and Powell is truly electrifying, their relationship nuanced with an undertone of sexuality that likely elevated eyebrows and perhaps some heartrates when this was playing on the big screen.
Powell and Loy would repeat their roles several times over the years, but I maintain this is truly the best of them. Not saying i don't enjoy all six of the Thin Man movies, but there is something magical about this one.
the gangs roaming in and out, I imagine a great deal about the 20s and 30s were much wilder than anything we know today.
The sudden industrial revolution, the 1st world war ending, people were wild. I love the costumes. But mostly I love
the naturalness of William Powell. He is a mans man, and an actor of unexpected precision and humor. He is a joy to
watch, a nd often seems like he is not acting, but theres some little joke he is playing on everyone. His reaction to his wifes
( who is a perfect straight guy) comment 'whats that man doing in my drawers" makes one of the funniest lines every written
even funnier. His reaction - he's a child and audience and husband all at the same time. Fun detective stories with wonderful historical reference. To know he was a matinee idol makes me think that their generation was maybe much smarter than all of the rest of them. He was Worth waiting in line to see. Because he not only had class, understated,
not too handsome but classy - he was funny. God Bless him for brining his persona to the film archives. Many years after his death I discovered him, and he makes me so happy.
William Powell and Myrna Loy sparkled as the a couple living the lush life and having fun being married. Nick (Powell) had been a celebrated detective who enjoyed drinking martinis as much as solving crimes, so when his wife Nora (Loy) inherited a fortune he opted for more of the former and less of the latter. Nora, who enjoyed martinis as well, had a nose for mystery, however, and couldn't wait for an opportunity to drag a somewhat tight Nick into a case.
It became a formula repeated for decades but only on rare occasions did anything in the movies come close to the style and sophistication of the original source. The screenplay of Albert Hackett and Francis Goodrich perfectly captured the contrast of Hammett's wonderful couple and their dog Asta against the backdrop of murder. Their banter is legendary and was at its zenith in director W.S. Van Dyke's introduction to mystery's favorite couple.
Set during the Christmas season, "The Thin Man" works as a mystery, a sophisticated marital comedy, and a holiday film. James Wong Howe's photography and William Axt's delightful score added just the right touch for a great cast, most notably a lovely young Maureen O'Sullivan. The actual storyline is quite dark and seemy when one stopped to think about it, but the pace was so quick and the tone so playful that audiences were too busy being entertained to do so.
The story involves the rich and eccentric father of Dorothy (O'Sullivan) disappearing suddenly. Nick, who knows her father, and just about every other oddball or criminal in the funny papers gets dragged into the search when his mistress gets murdered and everyone seems to think he's working the case. A couple of murders and several hundred shakers of martinis later, Nick gathers all the suspects together at a dinner party and solves the case.
Everything between the opening credits and the closing is a sheer delight that will make you remember how much fun it can be going to the movies. There is a bit more set-up here than in the films that followed as the actual solving of the mystery was as important as the fun Nick and Nora were having while doing it. Afterwards the focus would be shifted to the fun with the mysteries being secondary.
This easily ranks as one of the top ten films ever made. For sheer entertainment, it is absolutely unbeatable. Just like those Americans jamming into packed theatres to see it upon its first release, those seeing it for the first time will long for more. Fortunately, there are more, and nearly just as good. A film for anyone who loves the movies.