Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Thin Man (1934): Murder, wit, and martinis

Title: The Thin Man
Director: W.S. Van Dyke
Language: English
Rating: Unrated

There are few movie couples more fabulous than Nick and Nora Charles. Their electric banter, chemistry, and continuous boozing make for great entertainment.

William Powell and Myrna Loy as Nick and Nora

Nick (William Powell) is a retired private eye whose only ambition now is to enjoy the wealth of his heiress wife, Nora (Myrna Loy), a "lanky brunette with a wicked jaw" (his words). They're very much in love, rib each other constantly, and enjoy drinking and doting on their terrier, Asta. But as they're taking a trip to NYC at the start of the film, they're approached by Dorothy Wynant (Maureen O'Sullivan), the daughter of a crotchety, absent-minded inventor who once worked with Nick. She doesn't know where her father is, and as the movie progresses, it appears he's in trouble - first because he's gone on a trip without telling anyone where, and secondly because he's implicated in a murder.

The movie is clever and funny with great dialogue. And while Nick and Nora are the ones who truly shine, there's also an amusing cast of supporting characters made up of crooks, greedy opportunists, soft-hearted romantics, a young man who's overly attached to his mother, and police officers who aren't so much stupid as unimaginative. Nick gets pulled into the mystery surrounding the case, and Nora both helps out and watches, concerned and entertained. The climax of the movie is a dinner party where all the suspects (and police) are invited.

Whimsical, funny, doesn't take itself seriously - it's a great movie to relax with.

Nick and Nora Charles Christmas morning gifts

*The images link back to their source (Flixster Community).