Has-been director Harry Dawes gets a new lease on his career when independently wealthy Kirk Edwards hires him to write and direct a film. They go to Madrid to find Maria Vargas, a dancer ... See full summary »
Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Nick and Nora head to Nick's hometown of Sycamore Springs to spend some time with his parents. His father, a prominent local physician, was always a bit disappointed with Nick's choice of profession in particular and his lifestyle in general. With Nick's arrival however the towns folk, including several of the local criminal element, are convinced that he must be there on a case despite his protestations that he's just there for rest and relaxation. When someone is shot dead on his doorstep however, Nick finds himself working on a case whether he wants to or not. Written by
Liberal drinking of alcohol, a mainstay of the first four "Thin Man" movies, was curtailed for this movie due to wartime liquor rationing. See more »
The "Japanese Sniper Rifle" that is used to commit the murder is actually a British Light Machinegun, the Bren. A Czechoslovakian design with .303 Caliber Rifle bullets that, needless to say, still could have done the job. See more »
Just imagine, four murders, all strangulations, no fingerprints, no clues. The police were baffled. All they had were four bodies. So what do they do? They dump the whole thing in Nick's lap. Nobody suspected Stinky, because he's been a cripple ever since some nitro went off while he was cracking a canister in Salt Lake. Everybody thought it was Rainbow Benny, but Nick knew that Rainbow was an expert with the shiv. Strangling was out of his line! Oh, smart Nick! Then they turned the heat on ...
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Enjoyable Change-of-Pace Entry in the Thin Man Series
This entry in the "Thin Man" series is enjoyable in itself, and it also works well as a change-of-pace from the rest of the series, in placing the familiar Nick and Nora characters in a new setting, when Nick returns to his old home town. It makes for a much different atmosphere, since Nick is received quite differently at home than he is in the big city where his crime-solving skills are so renowned.
Some things, of course, are still the same. William Powell is as witty and elegant as always, Myrna Loy is as engaging and as charming as ever, and the mystery that crops up is interesting and enjoyable. The screenplay does a nice job of keeping the best elements of the series while placing Nick in some new situations. The Powell/Loy characterizations of Nick and Nora are so good that when you see them in a somewhat new setting like this, you take an interest in them as you would old friends.
Harry Davenport heads up a very good supporting cast, and he gives one of his many fine character performances as Nick's father. The relationship is quite believable, and it's easy to empathize with Nick in his inability to please his father.
For all that this is a lesser-known movie in the "Thin Man" collection, it is quite good. The mystery itself is set up cleverly and efficiently, and it has the same combination of the offbeat and the logical that you hope for in these features. It's well worth seeking out for anyone who enjoys the "Thin Man" films.
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