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      The Thin Man

      Released Jun 1, 1934 1h 33m Comedy Drama List
      98% Tomatometer 47 Reviews 94% Audience Score 10,000+ Ratings The recently divorced Clyde Wynant discovers that his new girlfriend has stolen $50,000 and is carrying on with other men. Not long afterward, he disappears. Anxious to locate her father, Wynant's daughter goes to private detective Nick Charles for help. Read More Read Less Watch on Fandango at Home Buy Now

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      Critics Consensus

      Featuring an involving mystery and sparkling repartee between William Powell and Myrna Loy, The Thin Man is an endlessly charming romp.

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      Critics Reviews

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      Otis Ferguson The New Republic Because it has a book with good dialogue and sprightly movement to lean on, The Thin Man leans frankly on Hammett's novel for its effects. But The Thin Man also makes a very neat movie of itself. Jan 22, 2024 Full Review Jess Mccabe Bitch Media It's hard not to love the whip-smart, hilarious Nora. Jan 8, 2021 Full Review Times (UK) Staff Times (UK) This film has the unusual merit of combining exciting adventure and genuine comedy. The two are so cleverly managed that the one never gets in the way of the other. Nov 3, 2020 Full Review Sean Axmaker Stream on Demand It’s cocktail hour on the mystery beat: William Powell and Myrna Loy are Nick and Nora Charles, the world’s most debonair detective team... Dec 16, 2023 Full Review Brian Susbielles InSession Film The first of six Thin Man films, is a whodunit where the couple is effective in untying the web of backstabbing and also remain loving to each other, not faulting their chemistry which carries on throughout the whole series. Feb 14, 2023 Full Review Brian Eggert Deep Focus Review The Thin Man remains an unparalleled mixture of laughs and suspense that many have imitated but none have equaled. Rated: 4/4 Feb 14, 2022 Full Review Read all reviews

      Audience Reviews

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      GGL Great story and great chemistry movie actors. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 12/03/23 Full Review Mark B I honestly thought the "dark comedy" was a recent phenomenon, dark enough where people get killed or just shot, yet the overall tone is light and humorous. The convoluted plot is adequate, but the casting is what makes this film. The repartee between the leads is amazing. Sure, the secondary characters are basically cardboard cutouts, but there are so many of them, there really isn't much time for any development. Can't believe I'm just now getting around to seeing this classic. (#447 in my "watch all Best Picture Nominees" bucket list) Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 03/23/24 Full Review Matthew B At the time when The Thin Man was released in 1934, the studios were churning out mystery movies, some of them starring William Powell as the detective, Philo Vance. The Thin Man series was not even the first detective franchise. Aside from Philo Vance, there had also been Charlie Chan and Hildegarde Withers. Later Perry Mason and Sherlock Holmes would become the subject of a series of movies. It is possible that Dashiell Hammett would not have seen The Thin Man as a mere whodunit. He was a maker of hard-boiled detective stories that were better suited to the film noir genre when it finally emerged. Indeed most of Hammett's novels were made into movies, notably The Maltese Falcon and The Glass Key. Nonetheless there is always a mystery element in Hammett's work, a murderer whose identity will only be revealed at the end of the story. The Thin Man is also a notably milder work than Hammett's other novels, one that runs along on the charm of its heroes, rather than plunging deeply into the sleazy undercurrent of the criminal world. There is a darker side to the story. Hammett, a man with Communist sympathies, portrays a wealthy family who are dysfunctional and rotten to the core, and they are only a small step away from the mobsters who involve themselves in their affairs. Such cynicism is not unique to Hammett. To an extent all whodunits offer a misanthropic view of human life, because the murder mystery would not function without such an outlook. It is necessary that all of the suspects should have good reason to murder the victim, which means that we can expect plenty of skeletons in the cupboard, and that even the nicest of characters may not be as good as they first appear. The viewer is not left feeling depressed by the cynicism of the whodunit however. The mystery story is cheerful escapism. The audience feel no concern for the victim. They instead participate in the fun of trying to work out the identity of the culprit. Typically the whodunit concerns itself with wealthy people, and that is the reason why it was so popular in the 1930s. During a time of Depression when many people were struggling, the cinema offered escapist images of conspicuous consumption. The Thin Man movies perhaps offered this to an even greater extent since even the detectives, Nick and Nora Charles, were fabulously wealthy. It is not that surprising when the mystery culminates at a dinner party where all the suspects are invited so that the murderer can be unmasked. At the centre of the story are Nick and Nora Charles, a wealthy couple that bear more than a passing resemblance to Dashiell Hammett and Lillian Hellman. Hammett and Hellman had an on-off relationship that never resulted in marriage, but the personalities of Nick and Nora represent an idealised version of their affair. Nick and Nora are played by William Powell and Myrna Loy, one of the great comic pairings of the 1930s. Neither actor was a comedian in the vein of W C Fields, the Marx Brothers, Charlie Chaplin or Will Hay. William Powell was considered to be a strait-laced actor who began his career in silent movies. This seems curious, as a silent film loses Powell's best quality – his precise and clipped diction that could be used for great humorous effect. Few actors had such a wonderful command of comic delivery as Powell. His voice was playful and easy on the ear as the words just trip out. Nowadays Myrna Loy seems mature and almost maternal in her mannerisms, but she had been stereotyped as a femme fatale up until this point. Loy too showed a good understanding of how to make comedy. She provides a feisty and spirited companion for Powell. This is no battle of the sexes however, and she is not a match for Powell. She is his equal. The two actors made the perfect pair, neither striving for supremacy, and establishing a comfortable relationship that involved much affectionate banter. They worked together on eleven more movies, including five sequels to The Thin Man. Audiences were scandalised (and delighted) by the antics of the couple back in the 1930s. Most romances in comic mysteries are between single men and women, and end in marriage. Nick and Nora showed that it was possible to be happily married, and to still have fun and adventures. Both Nick and Nora freely flirt with people outside their marriage, but there is never any suggestion that Nick is a womaniser, or that Nora has any serious interest in anyone else. When they are together, there is a spark between them that is missing in their relations with other characters. How did this couple get together? Nick jokingly suggests he married Nora for her money, and he certainly enjoys a better life with her than he could have enjoyed living off the money he made as a detective. Nora is fascinated by Nick's earlier life, and we might wonder if she is slumming it. She is excited to meet the gallery of seedy criminals that Nick once arrested, and who now greet him like a friend. "I love you, Nicky, because you know such lovely people," Nora tells him. Nevertheless there is a real love between them that occasionally peeps out from underneath their surface banter. When they are together, their eyes are only for one another, even if that means pulling faces, flicking Nora's nose, jabbing Nick, or using an air gun to shoot balloons off the Christmas tree. When they are not flirting with others, or, more often still, with each other, Nick and Nora are drinking heavily. Nick is first introduced to the viewer shaking Martinis, and he continues in that vein. His voice always a little slurred, Nick spends the movie not quite sober and not quite drunk. Nora is little better. After learning that Nick has already drank six Martinis before her arrival, she promptly orders five more to catch up. The hard drinking shown here is essentially Hollywood inebriation. Anyone putting away Martinis at every hour of the day like Nick would be a hopeless and miserable drunk. Here it is merely a humorous habit. There is a morning hangover for Nora, but hangovers can easily be cured by pouring another drink before breakfast arrives. Director W S Van Dyke had a bad reputation for his slapdash manner of filming, earning him the nickname, "One-Shot Woody". Van Dyke was certainly no craftsman, but he was a consummate professional and he understood how to make films. His approach may have caused difficulties for his stars, but it also allowed for fresher acting performances and spontaneous improvisation. As a result, The Thin Man remains as much fun today as it was then, a frothy blend of mystery, comedy and suspense. It is like a musical without music. We enjoy the feel of the words and the impeccable delivery of the actors without worrying too much about the story. I wrote a longer appreciation of The Thin Man on my blog page if you would like to read more: https://themoviescreenscene.wordpress.com/2021/07/29/the-thin-man-1934/ Rated 5 out of 5 stars 09/22/23 Full Review A R It's not too predictable (which is critical for a good whodunnit), but the overall plot is less engaging than the delightful chemistry and quippy writing shared by the two leads- that's what I stayed for. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 08/15/23 Full Review Emily S One of my all-time favorite movies. The script, the dialogue, the acting, the chemistry, the sets, the costumes, the cinematography. It's all so fantastic and top-tier. This one never gets old, and it never fails to crack me up or make me swoon or give me goosebumps, no matter how many times I've watched it. I show it to everyone I can. An absolute timeless classic. It holds up amazingly even in this modern time, despite being just a decade shy of a hundred years old. An absolute must-see for anyone and everyone. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 06/23/23 Full Review Gregory B One of my favorite all time movies and the introduction of the dynamite sleuth team of Nick and Nora Charles. A must see and I promise you'll want some gin to go with it! Rated 5 out of 5 stars 05/06/23 Full Review Read all reviews Post a rating

      Cast & Crew

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      Movie Info

      Synopsis The recently divorced Clyde Wynant discovers that his new girlfriend has stolen $50,000 and is carrying on with other men. Not long afterward, he disappears. Anxious to locate her father, Wynant's daughter goes to private detective Nick Charles for help.
      Director
      W. S. Van Dyke II
      Producer
      Hunt Stromberg
      Screenwriter
      Dashiell Hammett, Albert Hackett, Frances Goodrich
      Distributor
      Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
      Production Co
      Metro Goldwyn Mayer, Cosmopolitan Films
      Genre
      Comedy, Drama
      Original Language
      English
      Release Date (Theaters)
      Jun 1, 1934, Wide
      Release Date (Streaming)
      Jan 1, 2009
      Runtime
      1h 33m
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