Now back in San Francisco after their holiday in New York, Nick and Nora find themselves trying to solve another mystery. It's New Year's Eve and they are summoned to dinner at Nora's elderly, and very aristocratic, family. There they find that cousin Selma's husband Robert has been missing for three days. Nick reluctantly agrees to look for him but the case takes a twist when Robert is shot and Selma is accused of murder. Several other murders occur but eventually Nick gathers everyone into the same room to reveal the identity of the killer. Written by
Though William Powell and Myrna Loy were very close friends off-screen, their only romantic moments together occurred on-screen. The public, however, was determined to have them married in private life as well. When the two stars showed up in San Francisco (where most of this film was shot) at the St. Francis, the hotel management proudly showed "Mr. and Mrs. Powell" to their deluxe suite. This was an especially uncomfortable moment as Jean Harlow, who was engaged to Powell, was with them, and the couple had not made a public statement about their relationship. Harlow saved the day by insisting on sharing the suite with Loy: "That mix-up brought me one of my most cherished friendships," Loy said in "Being and Becoming", her autobiography. "You would have thought Jean and I were in boarding school we had so much fun. We'd stay up half the night talking and sipping gin, sometimes laughing, sometimes discussing more serious things." Meanwhile, Powell got the hotel's one remaining room - a far humbler accommodation downstairs. See more »
When Nick and Abrams go to the hotel looking for Polly's brother, the desk clerk tells them he is in room 212. However, when we see them open the door to the room, the number on the door is 221. See more »
[Last line, as Nick gapes at Nora knitting baby boots]
And you call yourself a detective.
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Of the six entries in "The Thin Man" series that were released between 1934-1947, none of which are bad, this one is the best. This second entry has the most plausible story, best cinematography (San Francisco on a cold foggy New Year's Eve night), and is perhaps the most amusing of the lot. This episode is noticeably longer than the other six, mostly due to an extensive homecoming sequence that opens the film, but this does not detract from the film in any way. And if you are a fan of Asta's, he gets more screen time in this outing than any of the others (interestingly, in Dashelle Hammett's book, Asta is female).
Of course the chemistry on screen between Myrna Loy and William Powell is unsurpassed, that's why they would ultimately be cast together in 14 films during their careers. Besides the early and very well done performance of James Stewart, look for a young and brunette Penny Singleton (later "Blondie"), billed under her real name of Dorothy McNulty, playing the role of Polly for all it's worth. It's also fun to remember when you're watching veteran character actress Jessie Ralph play the stodgy Aunt Katherine, you are looking at a woman who was born during the Civil War.
All of the key Thin Man ingredients are here: a clever who-dun-it (with more suspects than any other Thin Man film), beautiful photography, exquisite fashions and decor, jokes as dry and plentiful as the martinis, a performance or two of the popular music of the day, and an ending that will surprise you. As I said, all of these Thin Man films are great fun, but this one is the best.
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