The Thin Man is book by Dashiell Hammett, which was soon adapted into a film. "The Thin Man" film orginally seen and produced as a B movie (not having many funds or promoted much) reached a large amount of success making over $2 million dollars. "The Thin Man " resulted in five academy award nominations, and the creation of five more "Thin Man" films. Though the term "Thin Man" refers to the murder suspect in the first film, the name stuck, and all the others were refered to as "Thin Man" movies.
The Thin Man (1934)
After the Thin Man (1936)
Another Thin Man (1939)
Shadow of the Thin Man (1941)
The Thin Man Goes Home (1945)
Song of the Thin Man (1947)
Each of these films provided a happy comedic sanctum from the everyday worries.
William Powell in this series has mastered the presence of Nick Charles detective. The ‘retired’ detective who is smart, observant, loveable, wise cracking, and essentially an alcoholic (but of course in a comedic way) is often pushed by his wife to solve cases. Though Nick would much rather relax, and drink martini’s living off his wife’s money.
Myrna Loy was captured the wonderful Nora Charles. Nora, is rich, elegant, witty, and through comedic acts finds herself helping solve the cases. She loves Nick endlessly, and can keep up with his scattered-brain banter.
Of course in each film there is their wired haired dog, Asta, who assists in crime solving.
This is the first scene in the entire series between Nick and Nora, one can see how well each of the actors compliment one another. This chemistry is scene throughout the films and creates a sense of enjoyment that can still be seen today.
All of the films have a predictable pattern. Nick and Nora are show to be happy and carefree just being a funny couple. Then the audience is shown the first murder victim, and the shady dealings that lead up to their death. Nick fights to not be involved in the case, but since he is such a wonderful detective the police seek his assistance. Eventually Nick and Nora are pulled in; the accused suspect for the murder is family member or more commonly a good friend. The suspects are usually rising stars, such as Jimmy Stuart in "After the Thin Man", and Donna Reed in "Shadow of the Thin Man". Murder, mystery, and comedy are found through this predictable plot, with Nick and Nora solving the mystery in the end with a laugh.
The endings to each of the movies are similar. Nick gathers all the suspects in the room until somebody slips. Then backs the murderer into a corner with questions.Till the villian grabs a gun or knife and threatens to kill Nick; until someone saves the day by distracting the killer. The murderer is hauled off to jail and Nick and Nora kiss.
During the Great Depression some families could hardly afford to buy food, yet the illustrious studios continued on; between 60 -80 million Americans visited the theatre per week.
Like many others, the movie-goers went to the theatre to escape their reality, simply forgetting their worries and troubles for a few hours. Creating a fantasy world in which everything works out in the end, the good triumph the bad are punished.
The Shadow of the Thin Man is one of the best examples of escapism, the movie was released in November 1941, and became a safe haven before and after the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The next Thin Man movie was not released until the end of World War II in 1945.
Woodbridge Strong Van Dyke II, or in this case Woody, was picked to direct the first film (later on the next three until his death) because he was MGM's golden boy of efficiency. He was known as 'One Take Woody' often finished films in 12 -16 days, which of course, pleased the producers on his ability to save money.
Woody had also directed Powell and Loy in their previous film, "Manhattan Melodrama" and knew he knew they would be the perfect Nick and Nora. Woody fueled the success of the films, he placed emphasis of comedy over mystery, creating the wonderful sheltering world of the “Thin Man”.
The Thin Man Movies, created a safe cinema haven. With the predictable plots, ande comedic liners, so audiences fell a connection to Nick and Nora. The murder in the movies added a touch of intrigue and reality to the situation, revealing that bad things do happen to good people. These movies show that even though a terrible depression is happening (or in the "Thin Man" context - murder), one can see the brighter side of the situation, and just laugh.
These are a collection of comedic scenes from "The Thin Man" "After the Thin Man" "Another Thin Man"
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