A newspaper man, his ignored fiancée, and his former employee, a down on his luck reporter, hatch an elaborate scheme to turn a false news story into the truth in order to prevent a high-society woman from suing for libel.
Nick and Nora Charles are asked by Phil Brant and Janet Thayar, who have just eloped, to help them after band leader Tommy Drake is killed at a society dance which Nick and Nora also attended. The police are looking to arrest Brant for the murder and while he claims he's innocent, Nick isn't too keen on having him in the house and turns him over to the police. As they look into the case, Nick and Nora learn that Drake wasn't very well liked and there are actually several people who benefited from his death. Drake owed money to loan shark Al Amboy, and Janet's father disliked Brant and may have set him up. Drake's girlfriend may have been having a fling with clarinetist Buddy Hollis, and he and Drake had a fist fight on stage during the festivities. Nick arranges for another party on the same boat where Nora notices something quite peculiar about one of the guest's jewelry. Written by
While it probably doesn't offer as much as most of the earlier movies in the series, "Song Of the Thin Man" is nevertheless a pleasant finale to the classic series. It has the usual blend of wit, oddly assorted characters, and mystery, with a solid supporting cast led by Keenan Wynn.
The story uses the now-familiar setup of Nick getting drawn into a mystery against his will. This time, it uses the jazz scene as the backdrop, and while the setting is not always used to its potential, it does allow Wynn some good moments that he makes use of. Wynn usually plays off of Powell and Loy rather well. Most of the rest of the cast does well when they get the chance, and Don Taylor works as a more serious, troubled character who is important to the story.
You can tell that they were running out of truly new ideas for the series, yet in another sense the series got an impressive amount of mileage from the format. This last movie may offer little that is new, but it is enjoyable as light entertainment.
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