Friday, January 29, 2010

Mini Review: Another Thin Man (1939)
Directed By: W.S Van Dyke
Starring: William Powell, Myrna Loy, and Ruth Hussey

The third installment of the Thin Man series brings the element of parenthood into the party-going, boozing lives of Nick and Nora Charles. Seeing Nick as a father was delightful, even if the fact that he was mostly inebriated throughout the film was just a little disturbing. Interestingly, this was the first film for Powell in two years. He had taken a leave of absence to cope w/ the loss of his fiance', Jean Harlow', in 1937. He steps back into the gumshoes with ease, while also making time to trade sarcastic barbs w/ Nora and cast mildly fawning looks at his new son. The mystery is not especially memorable-another murder, another predictable killer. But even though the story reads like a newspaper or magazine serial of the time, it still provides plenty of entertainment along the way. The principal reason for that lies w/ the great performances of the two leads as well as the welcomed edition of Ruth Hussey (what a great voice she had!) to the cast. All in all, it is at least as good as the 2nd entry to the series, though perhaps not quite as good as the first. I think I did laugh a little more at this one, and for that I give it a solid:

Thursday, January 14, 2010

After the Thin Man (1936)
Directed by : W.S. Van Dyke
Starring: William Powell, Myrna Loy, and James Stewart

This second edition of the series reads more like an exciting serial from some old magazine, as opposed to an actual cinematic 'thriller'. Still, it is successful in most respects. James Stewart is an able supporting player, even at this early point in his career, and the wonderful chemistry between the two leads is even more palbaple in this edition. I especially enjoyed the witty banter between Nick and Nora concerning her serious and straightlaced family. That said, the plot, as I mentioned before, is a bit predictable and comes across as more of a vehicle to get the two leads back together than an earnest effort to keep the audience riveted. James Stewart had not quite come into his 'gollies' yet and was attempting to pull off overly melodramtic roles that weren't yet his area of expertise. His final scene is a perfect example of this striving for effect and I didnt really 'feel it' as much as I just enjoyed giggling at it. All in all, there were parts of this film that I appreciated even more than the original, but those did not amount to enough to give it more than a

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Mini Review:
The Thin Man (1934)
Directed by: W.S. Van Dyke
Starring:Myrna Loy and William Powell

This 'THin Man Series' aired on TCM last week and I recorded all of them because up until now, I have only seen this first edition. I thought I'd supply a mini review of each one as I see it. It's an exciting little journey!

This original film introduces us to Nick and Nora Charles, played expertly by one of the monumental 'screen teams', William Powell and Myrna Loy. Nick is a former P.I. who has walked into a wealthy marriage and has chosen to give up his old job in order to manage his wife's estate. But all that changes when a murder is committed that links Nick to the case in more ways than one. Initially, Nick refuses to get involved but finds a surprising shot of ecouragement from an unexpected source-his wife. Nora has a head for problem solving it seems, and over the course of this twistng, martini shaking 'whodunit', she proves to be Nick's biggest ally. The 'mystery' doesnt play out as intriguingly as other films of the genre, but the sheer delight in watching Nick and Nora interract more than makes up for that. By the end of the film, I was anxious to see more...and an even bigger fan of Myrna Loy's darling self.

My rating: 9/10