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
The saga -- and the fun -- continues, with nary a missed beat.
Alluding to her 1950s screen personna, Oscar Levant once wisecracked about Doris Day: "Hey, I knew her BEFORE she was a virgin!" Well, no, Ms. Day isn't in this film, but one of the (many) treats offered up by "After The Thin Man" is a chance to get to know James Stewart BEFORE he was James Stewart. Appearing here in a supporting role, he gets to show off some acting chops he didn't always get a chance to display in his later career.
Add to the mix a topnotch screenplay, the chemistry between William Powell and Myrna Loy that is so strong you find yourself believing that only a week has lapsed since their previous outing (rather than two years), at least one sight gag worthy of Groucho Marx (Nick when he and Nora go to visit her stuffed-shirt relatives), and -- oh, yes -- some vintage location footage shot in San Francisco back in the days when "the city that knows how" still knew. (Yep, that really is the old 3rd and Townsend depot, and yes, as a matter of fact, that really is Lotta's Fountain on lower Market Street, and how about that driveway leading up to their palatial home, complete with the breathtaking view? None other than the approach to Coit Tower!)
If the storyline's a bit thinner than the original, the fun is no less. The madcap drinking (sheesh!) and the razor-sharp banter continue on their merry way. As do Nick and Nora. And oh, yes, not that it probably matters that much, but there is a mystery and it does get solved.
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