The Thin Man


This is one of my favorite series, next to Charlie Chan. This was made in less than two weeks in 1934 and followed the book by Dashiell Hammett by only five months. Many mistakenly (me included) think Nick Charles, played by the dashing William Powell, was the “thin man” in the title but in fact it was his friend Clyde, that disappears and provides the mystery to be solved. The moniker stuck and became part of the title of future movies.

Powell and Myrna Loy, who plays his wife Nora, have chemistry flowing like the champagne they chug, and when that wanes there is their dog Asta, a star in his own right. They underplay their roles to perfection and you believe they are as carefree and fearless as they appear. I love how the interplay of decadent wealth mixes with the seedy underworld and Nick’s dubious friends.

Alcoholism was frequently cast in a humorous light in this era and Nick certainly takes advantage of that in these films. I know it was never quite this glamorous, but these films were made to make people laugh, and forget the drudgery and reality of the Great Depression, which it accomplishes in spades.

The day is blue and sunny, all the roofs covered with a blanket of snow. I have a busy weekend of work ahead and look forward to some time off on New Year’s Eve. I have mixed feelings about my holiday film marathon ending, like I always do, but I’m also ready to move on to the new. I can watch these any time I want, but I like to savor the anticipation for next year. They are worth waiting for.


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