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The Thin Man (1934)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Crime, Mystery | 25 May 1934 (USA)
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Former detective Nick Charles and his wealthy wife Nora investigate a murder case, mostly for the fun of it.

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(screen play), (screen play) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 3 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
... Nick Charles
... Nora Charles
... Dorothy Wynant
... Guild
... Mimi Wynant Jorgenson
... MacCaulay
... Tommy
... Gilbert Wynant
... Nunheim
... Chris Jorgenson
... Julia Wolf
... Morelli
... Clyde Wynant
Cyril Thornton ... Tanner
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Storyline

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 garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A laugh tops every thrilling moment!

Genres:

Comedy | Crime | Mystery

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

25 May 1934 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der dünne Mann  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$226,408 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

For William Powell's first scene (at the bar), W.S. Van Dyke told him to take the cocktail shaker, go to the bar and just walk through the scene while the crew checked lights and sound. Powell did it, throwing in some lines and business of his own. Suddenly he heard Van Dyke say, "That's it! Print it!" The director had decided to shoot the scene without Powell knowing it so that he'd be as relaxed and natural as possible. See more »

Goofs

When Nick and the coroner look at the body through the Fluoroscope, the bullet, and a piece of shrapnel, appear as bright white. The Fluoroscope uses x-rays except it is viewed on a screen instead of film. Dense objects, such as bones, appear dark, as it appears in the movie. The bullet and shrapnel should then be even darker as it blocks even more of the x-rays. However, this would not have shown up well in the movies, so they were made bright white so the viewers could see them easily. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Tanner: 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?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits are shown with the original novel by D. Hammett in the background. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Shadow of the Thin Man (1941) See more »

Soundtracks

Our Big Love Scene
(1933) (uncredited)
Music by Nacio Herb Brown
Played as background music during the last scene
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The first in a great series of mystery films
26 November 2009 | by See all my reviews

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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