The Thin Man - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Thin Man Reviews

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Super Reviewer
July 21, 2013
A husband/wife detective tandem work to solve a series of murders.
The thirties style of slap-dash, madcap overlapping dialogue highlights the excellent performances of this very strong film. Comparing this film to the mysteries of today proves how much harder screenwriters of the old days had to work and how much more language was valued. Every line of this film is so witty and sharp, and William Powell and Myrna Loy never seem like people you know, but they always seem like people you wish you knew.
The mystery, originally penned by Dashiell Hammett, is not terribly predictable, but it's solvable, which is the way mysteries should be.
Overall, I enjoyed this film immensely, and it made me long to hear more dialogue from this era.
Super Reviewer
June 17, 2007
Glorious, Joyous dinner date with murder and laughter hand in hand. Powell and Loy are one charming couple.
Super Reviewer
February 9, 2011
Some friends gave me the complete Thin Man series for Christmas, and I have to say after several viewings of all six that the pairing of William Powell and Myrna Loy is one of those matches made in Hollywood Heaven. There are few teams that leap to mind as being better suited to each other; their screen energy is a beautiful phenomenon to behold. Powell is already on my very select all-time favorite actors list, and I'm thinking that Loy is going up there right after I finish writing these comments. What I find most interesting about the critical comments is not that almost everyone agrees that Powell and Loy are great, but that the series is short on story, flimsy of narrative, lacking in substance -- and one critic goes to far as to say that each successive film is weaker than the one before. Sorry, I have to disagree. I think the stories are interesting, cleverly conceived, and well written. They are so smartly written, in fact, that the writers have managed to let the plot play in the background so that we can all concentrate on the chemistry of Powell and Loy. Seriously, if I were looking for great literature, I'd turn to the book shelf and dig around for Shakespeare or something, but just like the live audience members back when this series played the theaters, I'm here to see Powell, Loy -- and Asta -- make their magic. And I definitely think that the last one, Song of the Thin Man, is just as magical as the first : )
Super Reviewer
September 3, 2010
The first movie in the best detective series, The Thin Man series. Powell and Loy are like peas in a pod, they work so well together. The movies are hilarious and fun to watch. Everyone with a sense of humor will love these movies.
Super Reviewer
July 28, 2010
Retired private eye is dragged into another case along with his laissez-faire attitude and deadpan humour. He, together with his wife and dog, spawned a bunch of identical looking sequels (judging by the trailers) that must have been one of the first comedy series.
Super Reviewer
½ November 24, 2007
this flick is the best example of classic sophistication comedy which depicts the droll mannerishness of upper class, and william powell excercises his playful debonair charm to the utmost scale, and myrna loy resonates him greatly like a harmonical symphony.

the thin man detective plot is simply operated on the formula of "who'dun'it!" but the point is not about the crime but its seemingly insipid detective who doesn't wanna tackle this case at the first place but gets involved due to the whim of his mischievous wife.

the constant requirement of booze is one element in this flick to indicate the hedonism of the well-to-do but the point is they drink with class and glamour without objectionable gaffe. every moment is a joyous drinking time, and being leisure gracefully seems to be their sacred obligation to perform. the camera looms over powell's cynically mocking gestures for times as he exuberates the cigarette circles aloofly or his famours line "oh! bull's eyes!" and loy's comic flair could rival with powell with her perfect timing of grimaces toward his trivial mild jokes that is adorably likable as well.

the best allure of thin man is also the cozy backset of gender symmetry with agreeable family picture, powell as good paternal image who respects his lovely wife who also expresses enough matron sophistication as a demure female. they sleep in seperate beds without contiminating audience's consecrated protype of parents, and there's one cute puppy who could only bark but hide during the gun shots. the whole picture arouses audience's thick nostalgia of soundly ideal family atmosphere as if you back to the easeful days of childhood without the complex misgivings of life as you burden in your adulthood.
Super Reviewer
September 16, 2007
A film that combines two of my favourite genres at their peak: The Screwball Comedy and Detective Story. The detective story element is less important than the one-liners but it's testament to the film makers of the day that they invested a good deal of depth to both elements.
One of the things I love about The Thin Man is that William Powell's character Nick is drunk from beginning to end! Playing a drunk is one of those things that looks so easy when it's done well but it's notoriously difficult to play it convincingly and Powell pulls it off for the length of the film!
Myrna Loy & William Powell play their characters as hedonists - they are in this for the laughs and good times and it's what makes it so charming and seductive - it pulls you in for the ride!
I love the scene as the two heroes lounge around enjoying their Christmas day. Nick shooting a pellet gun at the balloons on the tree and Nora looking on disapprovingly in a massive mink coat "Say, aren't you hot in that?" "Yes, I'm stifling, but it's SO pretty?"
They made many sequels. After The Thin Man, the 2nd film, is ok, but they only got steadily more tiresome: Nick and Nora becoming 'respectable' - less of the inebriated Nick and even producing offspring!? (Asta was a true star and the baby of this family and didn't need 'real' children upstaging him!)
Super Reviewer
September 15, 2007
Aww, Myrna Loy and William Powell are so cute together! The plot was messy but seeing those two together was amaazing.
Super Reviewer
½ July 14, 2007
if you match this couple drink for drink the movie actually gets better, but i still don't know how it ends...maybe i should watch it sober once just to find out, but what i remember is very witty, very urbane, very smart...very "i wish i was them", which is what's called movie magic
Super Reviewer
April 30, 2007
A really cool and classy movie. Powell and Loy (who by the way is so cute she makes me want to kill something) have amazing chemistry together. It's easy to see why they made so many sequels which I'm sure are nowhere as good as this one. I still want to check them out though. I also liked the pace, which seemed to be set by or move as quickly as the snappy dialogue between Powell and Loy. A lot of booze in this one--this may or may not enhance the viewing of this movie.
Super Reviewer
February 21, 2007
It amazes me that this was shot in 12 days. The 30's style of dress, decor, and dialog is great fun. The mystery based on Hammett's book has plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing. Lots of great one liners, many of them much naughtier than I expected for the time period. Powell and Loy as Nick and Nora Charles are a riot to watch. She is his Dr. Watson. He a boozy, reluctant Sherlock. The third member of the classic triangle is Pendleton as Lieutenant Guild, their Lestrade. Guild jumps to the wrong conclusions throughout fingering suspect after suspect as the murderer. The cast of suspects is an interesting bunch and the final dinner scene where Nick Charles unravels the plot is entertaining and suspenseful.
Super Reviewer
May 6, 2014
The first of an epic number of films concerning the "Thin Man" fueled by the love of cinema noir by the audience. Powell and Loy have great chemistry as a strange plot unfolds around them.
Super Reviewer
July 12, 2009
A lively, charming American classic featuring some of the best onscreen chemistry I've ever seen. Powell and Loy, the two leads, work so well with one another that they make the movie worth seeing for that reason alone. It also happens to be a smartly penned, wholly engaging mystery that plays out at an ideal pace.
Super Reviewer
½ May 24, 2007
The plot is okay, but the real show here is Powell and Loy who create some of the most notable film characters in cinema history.
Super Reviewer
September 13, 2007
Myrna Loy and William Powell are one of the best comedy duos of all time. Their chemistry in this movie is amazing.
Super Reviewer
May 13, 2008
I have seen this film over and over, but last night was my second time to see it on the big screen. Now that the Drafthouse serves liquor it makes it even more special to have a gin martini and toast William Powell as he gets drunk and solves mysteries. It really is one of my favorite films and if you haven't seen it I highly recommend it.
½ January 2, 2010
Such a delightful experience, the rapid fire dialog, set design and costumes are worth the price of admission alone, but there's so much other stuff to recommend this one, including the undeniable chemistry between our two leads.

It's an amazingly fun film, Powell and Loy are a delight to watch and their clever & always loving banter never fails to make me smile.

Of course, it comes highly recommended.
March 4, 2011
You couldn't make The Thin Man the way they did it back in 1934. For one thing, the book by Dashiell Hammett - which I have to imagine the filmmakers were faithful as could be within a 90 minute run time - has as its two main heroes characters who love their booze. There's only so many moments that you see Nick (William Powell) without a drink, or looking for one, and Nora is only so far behind (though Nick is certainly more the booze-hound). Nowadays, a producer would look at material like that and want to take it out. And yeah, in reality, being a drunk or the "A" word (alcoholic) isn't much fun. But this was the movies and Hollywood and 1934 after all! This is a world where a hangover isn't necessarily glossed over completely - see as Nick is in bed after the Christmas party and has to get another drink to make himself, uh, 'regular', and of course has to get Nora one right after he comes back to bed. But... yeah, it's a comedy after all.

The Thin Man is a glorious escapist movie, and a riot at times. The story itself is fine enough, a solid, mostly serious yarn about an engineer (the 'Thin Man' of the title actually) who goes missing, and a woman he was seeing is found dead. Who killed her? Where is Clyde Wynant? Did he commit the murder and go off with money and skip town? There's a lot of questions to be answered, to be sure - it is Hammett, after all, the author of The Maltese Falcon and all those Continental Op thrillers. But that's not why the film is still fresh today, maybe even better by the passage of time like wine, because of the characters and the snappy dialog.

By the 'characters' I do mean mostly our leads, Nick and Nora, though the supporting characters - played by the likes of Maureen O'Sullivan, Nathalie Moorehead and the original Joker himself Cesar Romero - are perfectly fine and acted memorably. They are a catty couple of people, and are constantly kidding themselves, though certainly are very seriously in love. They're the kind of couple who, when Nora walks in and sees Nick trying (little as he really can given his disposition) to give comfort to a sorrowful Dorothy, they make faces at one another to kill the tension. Outstanding comic timing. And speaking of not being able to do certain things today as in 1934, the moment where, to distract a heavy holding a gun on the two of them, Nick slugs Nora so he can then get HIS gun away! Whether this was right before the Code fully took effect, I'm not sure, but it wouldn't surprise me (the innuendo at the end is perfectly cute, though I'm sure rather scandalous also for 34).

There are so many juicy and awesome moments between these two that it's little wonder they went on to make five more films over the course of fifteen years, and the public thought the actors were married in real life (!) The chemistry enough would make it a crackerjack semi-screwball comedy, though what levels it out as a great film of its year is that the director, WS Van Dyke, and the screenwriters, make some indelible set pieces. The Christmas dinner party, for one, really gets the audience fully immersed into the quick wit and here-to-there-and-again timing of a party where everybody wants a drink, one guy really wants to call home to his mother, and everyone keeps hounding Nick Charles to take on a case after being away from the sleuthing for years. This alone would make the movie a must see - but that ending, where everybody involved with the case is brought in so that Nick can crack it (he even admits, you know, he isn't entirely sure to Nora, who can do nothing but make spectacular quips) pushes it over into classic territory.

When The Thin Man wants to be suspenseful, it can be as well. When Nick has to go looking in a dark place after hours and someone is coming in, all the lights go off and it takes on the air of an early noir. This, again, really is necessary though, and Van Dyke really makes sure that the more dramatic elements work in their vein, the comedy in its own, but that the two sides can meet, rather deliriously and uproariously into a charming package of a Hollywood movie. It's the kind of movie that I'm sure inspired Hitchcock, too, with the younger brother obsessed with morbid crimes and bodies; notice the reaction of the police when he offers to help them with forensics work. Again, 1934 people.
½ June 30, 2012
It seems to be regarded as an exceptional comedy, but I found an extremely thin layer of humor if anything. As a mystery film it isn't awful, but the plot was difficult for me to keep up with. For a classic film that was successful enough to have five sequels follow it I was quite unimpressed. (First and only viewing - 2/6/2014)
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