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.
After a four year absence, one time detective Nick Charles returns to New York with his new wife Nora and their dog, Asta. Nick re-connects with many of his old cronies, several of whom are eccentric characters, to say the least. He's also approached by Dorothy Wynant whose inventor father Clyde Wynant is suspected of murdering her father's mistress (his former secretary ).. Her father had left on a planned trip some months before and she has had no contact with him. Nick isn't all that keen on resuming his former profession but egged-on by wife Nora, who thinks this all very exciting, he agrees to help out. He solves the case, announcing the identity of the killer at a dinner party for all of the suspects.Written by
W.S. Van Dyke often did not bother with cover shots if he felt the scene was right on the first take, reasoning that actors "lose their fire" if they have to do something over and over. It was a lot of pressure on the actors, who often had to learn new lines and business immediately before shooting, without the luxury of retakes, but Myrna Loy credited much of the appeal of the film to Van Dyke's pacing and spontaneity. See more »
When Morelli shoots at Nick, his gun is aimed upward toward Nick's right shoulder. But on the following cut after the cops grab Morelli, Nick is now wounded on his lower left rib cage. See more »
Your daughter's here, Mr. Wynant. Mr. Wynant! Mr. Wynant!
Clyde Wynant, the thin man:
Haven't you got any more sense than to shout at me like that?
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Opening credits are shown with the original novel by D. Hammett in the background. See more »
This is one of my favorite movies from any decade. William Powell and Myrna Loy have such chemistry together and their expressions during their verbal sparrings are priceless. Under different circumstances it might be easy to dislike Nick and Nora Charles - they are the idle rich who spend their time overindulging in alcohol, having loud parties, and destroying their own property with air rifles at a time (1934) when much of America was starving through the worst part of the Great Depression. On top of that, Nick makes no secret of how appealing his wife's money is to him. However, the intricate plot, the couple's clever dialogue, and their chemistry draw you in and make their world even seem somewhat normal.
The Thin Man refers to Clyde Wynant, a somewhat absent-minded inventor, the chief suspect in what turns out to be three murders, and someone who only actually appears in the first 15 minutes of the film, never to be seen afterwards.
The Charles' get caught up in the mystery of Wynant's disappearance because his daughter Dorothy (Maureen O'Sullivan) is an old friend of Nick's and asks Nick for his help. Wynant has told his daughter that he is going off somewhere secret to work on an invention so that nobody can steal it from him, but promises he will be back before Christmas so he can be present at her wedding. However, Wynant has never resurfaced and nobody has heard from him. Nick initially has no interest in continuing his former occupation of detective - he is much more interested in having a good time - until a series of circumstances and his own wife's urging draw him into the mystery and back into his role as private detective.
The film is full of unsavory yet interesting characters. Wynant's family is truly dysfunctional. His son is an oddball bookworm obsessed with abnormal psychology, his ex-wife has remarried a gigolo who appears to be hiding a questionable past and finds the idea of working for a living insulting, and Wynant's girlfriend is a very greedy and aging ex-flapper who steps out on Wynant with other men whenever she thinks he isn't noticing. The only virtuous characters in the film seem to be Wynant's daughter and her fiancé. In short, there is no shortage of possible suspects and worthy victims. Even the police in the film are unappealing - they are very good at getting rough with people and performing illegal searches, but not very quick on finding clues or making even obvious deductions. The constantly semi-inebriated Nick Charles has no problem running circles around them and turns out to be both brave and brilliant in his role as sleuth.
I recommend this film to anyone who likes a good murder mystery laced with a bit of dark comedy.
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