Bad Boys for Life
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Still the most sophisticated crime (detective) comedy ever produced. Myrna Loy and William Powell are irreplaceable. The entire "Thin Man" series is pure genius.
For some reason I thought this movie was supposed to be a horror film about a man that keeps loosing weight and realized pretty quickly this wasn't that movie??? Must be mixing it up with some other film. Anywho, how many times in old films do we need to see the murder mystery/detective story played out? However, this one had a decent enuff sense of humor and charming leads with good chemistry, even if the ending was kinda unbelievable and dragged on. The plot was pretty basic and like I said the ending seemed a bit Scooby-Dooish. There was also many characters/names that made it hard to keep track of. Passes the time but by the end you go cut to the chase already.
Few films could serve as a better endorsement of alcoholism than this 1934 hit which spawned five sequels and made William Powell and Myrna Loy some of the biggest box office stars of the decade. These sequels did not reach the heights of the first film but it is easy to see why this movie was so popular in it's time and endures as a public favorite as it celebrates the institution of marriage and uses a ludicrous murder mystery to bring a group of delightfully wacky characters together. The film is based on a novel written by Dashiell Hammett but fortunately it takes a considerably lighter tone that some of his other work and is considerably better for it as it commits to being an entertaining comedy instead of trying to be The Maltese Falcon (1941) before it's time.
Functioning alcoholic and retired detective Nick Charles, William Powell, resides in San Francisco and lives the high life due to the money brought in by his wife Nora, Myrna Loy, who is an heiress and partner in his sleuthing and drinking. Charles and Nora travel to New York City where they are met by Dorothy Wynant, Maureen O'Sullivan, who is concerned by the disappearance of her father Clyde, Edward Ellis, and believes it may be connected to his gold-digging mistress Julia Wolf, Natalie Moorhead. Clyde had announced that he was going away without telling anybody where he was going but had arranged with his diminutive lawyer Herbert MacCaulay, Porter Hall, to have money sent to him through contacting Wolf. When Wolf is found murdered by Clyde's ex-wife Mimi, Minna Gombell, who wants money to support her gold-digging husband Chris Jorgenson, Cesar Romero, people begin to suspect that he has become a serial killer and is on the run. Charles sets out to prove that Clyde was not a murderer and find out who murdered him.
The film is such a delight because despite the coldblooded murders at the center of the story every character has their own funny little quirks and comedic gold can be derived from their interactions. The Wynant family in particular are wonderfully weird as Dorothy has a bizarre oedipal complex, Mimi tries to use her ex-husband so that her current husband can use her and son Gilbert, William Henry, psychoanalyzes everybody to the point of insanity. Each of them lack any self awareness and as they spend their time trying to deceive Charles and others you discover exactly why one of them would end up murdered as none of them have their head on their shoulders. Even the murder victim was silly enough to get involved with a woman who steals and was involved with a member of the mafia but we are charmed by him in the few scenes we witness him in as he huffs his way around and offers bemused reactions to his overly affectionate daughter's comments. Screenwriters Albert Hackett and Frances Goodrich deserve credit for understanding what makes this story appealing and adding just the right characteristics to all of these supporting characters to keep us engaged despite the lack of plot.
One must also note the fact that the Charles couple are also delightful as even though I doubt their lifestyle would be quite so happy when they drink so much they are both fashionable and complete equals in their relationship, rare for a 1930s film. Loy and Powell have fantastic chemistry as they volley back and forth and their infectious enthusiasm for investigating the case brings a smile to your face as you realize that this is a couple who enjoy one another's company greatly and make a fantastic team. Crucially Nora is seen to help her husband as when he attempts to send her away while going about his investigation she discovers crucial evidence and assists him in the climactic dinner scene when the murderer is discovered. She is happy to witness him shoot another man and looks fabulous while doing so as Loy's scrunched up face and easy smiles make her a truly memorable heroine. Powell really is the main character however and he is brilliant as he underplays all of his comedic moments to the point where they are hilarious without stretching too far. The writing of the characters and the top grade performances delivered by the actors make this a great film.
Nick and Nora Charles cordially invite you to bring your own alibi to The Thin Man, the jaunty whodunit that made William Powell and Myrna Loy the champagne elite of sleuthing. Bantering in the boudoir, enjoying walks with beloved dog Asta or matching each other highball for highball and clue for clue, they combined screwball romance with mystery. The resulting triumph nabbed four Academy Award nominations (including Best Picture) and spawned five sequels. Credit W.S. "Woody" Van Dyke for recognizing that Powell and Loy were ideal together and for getting the studio's okay by promising to shoot this splendid adaptation of Dashiell Hammett's novel in three weeks. He took 12 days. They didn't call him "One-Take Woody" for nothing.
William Powell, Myrna Loy and the supporting cast show what acting is all about.
There's a mystery. On top of zany characters.
Although the murder mystery is a bit formulaic by today's standards, the carefree couple at the center of this adventure-comedy make this well worth watching. Nick Charles has retired from being a very successful detective after apparently suddenly inheriting wealth, and he and his wife Nora are primarily focused on enjoying themselves by throwing parties, goofing off, and...whatever, as long as they each have a cocktail in hand. Although reluctant to get distracted by the case of a missing scientist at first, they get drawn into solving the mystery as suspects and bodies start to mount around them. Nick Charles is a perfect blend of James Bond and Groucho Marx, and Nick and Nora Charles have fantastic couples banter while also seeming to be permanently smitten. The pacing of the story is relaxed and does a marvelous job both moving the story along and fleshing out Nick and Nora - that is, until the final half hour, which seemed a bit rushed to wrap it up. The surrounding cast is competent and fairly entertaining, and there are some good action scenes. To top it off, this is a Christmas movie!
A true classic, you need to see them all. Pre Hollywood code but they sleep in separate beds!! They are the perfect movie couple!
William Powell and Myrna Loy are quite charming and sassy in this cliched murder mystery. Many of the elements are formulaic, and the center of the film is slightly dull, but the ending is clever and the film succeeds in entertaining and keeping mysterious to the end.
Based on a book, this was meant as a throwaway B-movie, instead MGM got a classic nominated for 4 Oscars and spawning 5 additional movies. The chemistry of Loy & Powell is undeniable, with several solid persons in the supporting cast - including the Jane of Tarzan fame (the 2nd film was released the month before this film) and the Joker of Batman TV series. Enjoy the double entendres withing the quick verbage, just don't try to down any drinks at the same pace as the Charles... you'll be headed for the hospital before killer is revealed!