The Thin Man Reviews
Powell is simply outstanding in this movie. His character is what every man wishes he could be: witty, charming, one step ahead of everyone else, calm under pressure, married to the cute and playful Myrna Loy, and able to hold an incredible amount of liquor. Far from being stressed out, he's bemused by it all. Powell plays this role perfectly, and his chemistry with Loy is extraordinary. Their banter and quirky behavior quickly takes over the movie, rendering the mystery of the 'thin man' secondary. There are just so many funny lines and facial gestures that I was literally laughing out loud 83 years later. All that and 'Asta' the dog too! The actual solving of the crime is a little convoluted, but don't worry too much about that, you'll be highly entertained.
In one scene, Nick holds the fetching Dorothy Wynant in his arms in sympathy for the loss of her father, when, of course, Nora walks into the room. In a hack comedy, this would prompt a whole suspicious wife subplot. But Nora just knowingly raises an eyebrow and ignores it, because of COURSE Nick isn't cheating on her, because she's the awesome Nora and they are so freaking perfect together.
In fact, one of the silliest lines in the movie is Nick informing Nora that he plans to bring the suspects together for a dinner party and he asks her if she has a formal gown to wear. Jeez Louise, does she have anything else?
I'm not a big mystery guy. I know enough to know that the murderer is never the obvious one, that everyone needs to be sufficiently shady to merit their suspicion, blah-blah-blah. The success of a good mystery is from the grace notes around the main plot. In the hands of Nick and Nora, the notes were always the most graceful.
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.
Actually the real joy of The Thin Man wasn't in the mystery. While that was fun, it was nothing compared to the amazing relationship between Nick & Nora. William Powell plays Nick as a friend to all, who could charm anyone into revealing a bit too much. I love how he is so likable that men he once got arrested when he was working as a detective are now hanging out at his parties. Nora is played by Myrna Loy, and she is a confident woman who clearly adores her husband. Yet she's not afraid to tease him, which makes for some of the better laughs in the film. She has this desire to see him exercise his detecting skills, but he is constantly trying to avoid it. I guess I have a very old-fashioned sense of humor because the witty one-liners that these 2 exchange elicit so many laughs from me. After their first scene together I absolutely loved them, and any scenes where they weren't front and center I missed them. As an added note, it's pretty clear this took place right after prohibition ended because in almost every scene we see Nick with a drink in his hand. This adds to the humor of his character as well, and he certainly makes some lighthearted comments about it. I don't think The Thin Man is the best example of a mystery film, but I found it to be so fun to watch the main characters that I didn't care. This is a series I might have to dig into a little more.