The Thin Man - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Thin Man Reviews

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December 3, 2016
Classic! Should be part of The Criterion Collection and should be on Blu-ray.
July 6, 2016
William Powell. What a legend.
½ June 4, 2016
More of a witty comedy than a murder mystery: a pleasant watch.
½ May 30, 2016
Probably overrated as a movie itself, but underrated as far as the characters and the chemistry between Powell and Loy, which is like some of the best ever on the silver screen.
March 19, 2016
Really enjoyed this comedy from 1934. William Powell and Myrna Loy make a great time, apparently they made 14 movies together, 6 of them in "The Thin Man Series". If you like classic movies, this is a must watch!
January 5, 2016
A real American film classic. Director W. S. Van Dyke thought the Dashiell Hammett story would be a fun throwaway vehicle (it was shot in just one week) for the studio, but the film ended up being a major hit and spawned numerous sequels (none as good as the original) and also kicked off a long running onscreen pairing of William Powell and Myrna Loy. In this film, they playa debonaire Manhattan couple, Nick and Nora Charles. Nick is a former detective who gets sucked into a convoluted missing person case involving the titular thin man. This film epitomized sophisticated witty comedy and Loy and Powell are just magical on screen. Besides their wonderful characterizations as Nick and Nora, they inhabit a world that I think most every person watching film would wish to inhabit. It's a world full of Manhattan nightclubs, colorful characters, witty repartee, and lots of drinking. As great as Powell and Loy are, I think this element of the film is under appreciated. Photographed by the great James Wong Howe, he makes this New York City high society seem a rich and lush place that you'd be unable to reciting wanting to be a part of. Cesar Romero also appears in the film, as does Maureen O'Sullivan, who I'd recently become kind of obsessed with and never realized she was in this film before. This film is a real classic and I think is one that would appeal to all audiences, even those who don't think they like black and white, classic films.
½ December 3, 2015
Nick and Nora Charles had the coolest marriage in movie history. William Powell and Myrna Loy's comfortable, easy banter was so much fun to watch, made you wish you had an awesome, smart spouse and you both bounced hilarious witty banter off each other all day.

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.
½ October 16, 2015
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.
September 30, 2015
Entretenida comedia detectivesca con tintes de film noir, llena de diálogos sarcásticos y mordaces entre la pareja de esposos William Powell y Myrna Loy, pareja que siguió con la saga de este film.
September 26, 2015
I liked the playful relationship between the couple but the movie was pretty boring. And why are they always drinking? enough already
½ September 15, 2015
A 90-minute advertisement for alcohol. There's a detective story somewhere, too.
August 13, 2015
Back in the day, excellent chemistry between stars was a big thing. Its the only thing I liked in this murder mystery, was the back and forth between Powell and Loy. Everything else is rather pedestrian, because of the way its presented.
June 26, 2015
From the start, The Thin Man falls a little flat by being direct and straight-forward. The novel is a great story that unravels so slowly and smoothly, it's almost hard to notice that it's a murder mystery. William Powell and Myrna Loy are aces as Nick and Nora; there's not enough Nick and Nora. The film focuses on the Wynants, setting them up, instead of unraveling them like the layers of an onion as in the novel. A novel is always better than the film of the novel. That's true of The Thin Man. Still a fun film, just not as much fun as the novel.
June 5, 2015
The Thin Man is the first in a series of murder mystery films featuring a couple named Nick & Nora Charles. In this film the mystery centers around a family who are dealing with divorce, infidelity, and bickering over money. It all starts with an inventor who disappears. Then, a short time later, his mistress who was stealing money from him is found murdered. The mystery has a fair number of twists and turns which I appreciate because it kept me constantly guessing who might be the guilty party. It also helps that they had a cast of suspicious characters and gave them all reason and opportunity to want to commit the crime. Not to mention the missing inventor who just might be the one behind it all. When the truth was revealed at the end of the film I wasn't terribly shocked, because it made logical sense, but I also hadn't puzzled it all out myself. That's about all you can look for in a murder mystery film. What is unique about this one is that, even knowing the truth behind the crime I think I might watch this movie again, because the film wasn't all about murder.

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.
½ March 29, 2015
"The Thin Man" is probably the funniest 1930s movie I've seen, and it's got a pretty great murder mystery as well, though it falls into all the generic cliches of that genre: tons of suspects, each with an obvious motive to kill the victim, clues, framing, and a dinner party. Luckily, the film works amazingly well because each character is distinct and well-acted; even side characters with one or two lines are given ways to make themselves different from the rest of the cast (my favorite is a guy who tries to phone his mother but is interrupted by excited detectives trying to solve the murder case). The film is most noted for its great lead performances by William Powell and Myrna Loy, who are uproarious as a sarcastic and fun-loving married couple who both get sucked into solving the murder case (which involves the titular "Thin Man") while on vacation in New York. Oh, and it's got Skippy the dog, who is great fun as well.

"The Thin Man" elevates its typical murder mystery formula into top-level entertainment, with superb performances, tons of great laughs, and excellent character development. The cinematography and editing (lots of montages of news spreading while the case is getting hot, as always) are great as well, especially for the time.
Super Reviewer
½ March 20, 2015
Classic detective film. Hilarious and entertaining.
February 2, 2015
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.
January 20, 2015
Entretenida comedia detectivesca con tintes de film noir, llena de dià logos sarcà sticos y mordaces entre la pareja de esposos William Powell y Myrna Loy, pareja que siguiò con la saga de este film.
October 23, 2014
An unexpectedly charming treat, the mystery is somewhat confusing and mostly irrelevant. But that's fine because the highpoint of the film is watching the newly married leads endlessly flirt with each other. They make about the most charming onscreen couple I've ever seen, and that's an impressive thing in the generally more lifeless and traditional films of the '30s.
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