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Fun, Witty Mysteries,
This review is from: The Thin Man Collection [DVD] (DVD)
During the 30's and 40's, MGM made six movies based on Dashiell Hammett characters. While I am not normally a fan of old movies, I've found these films to be delightful.
The movies star William Powell and Myrna Loy as Nick and Nora Charles. Nick is a former detective who has retired now that he's married socialite Nora. Unfortunately, he can't quite shake his old life as the couple seem to be drawn into mysteries.
THE THIN MAN is the only film actually based on a Dashiell Hammett book. In this one, Nick and Nora investigate when a man vanishes a few months before his daughter's wedding. AFTER THE THIN MAN finds the couple looking for the missing husband of Nora's cousin. ANOTHER THIN MAN involves an industrialist who thinks someone is trying to kill him. A murder at the race track is the subject of SHADOW OF THE THIN MAN, while THE THIN MAN GOES HOME finds the duo visiting Nick's parents and getting involved in a murder in the seemingly quiet suburb. Finally, SONG OF THE THIN MAN finds the couple investigating a murder in the world of 1940's Jazz.
As a mystery fan, I must admit the mysteries can be weak. Often, we don't seem to get the clues we need or Nick pulls the solution out of thin air. However, the comedy more than makes up for the problems with the plot. Nick and Nora have a wonderful relationship. Obviously in love, the two banter, and their lines are quite funny. Even the jokes about Nick's constant drinking are funny, and I don't usually find that appealing. Obviously, a big part of the credit for that goes to William Powell and Myrna Loy. They are obviously having fun in these movies, and that comes through for us.
The only truly weak movie in the bunch is THE THIN MAN GOES HOME. The first one made after the death of original director W. S. van Dyke, this movie relies more on physical comedy than wit. It's still funny, but not nearly as good as the others.
If you want these movies, this is certainly the way to get them. All six movies get their own disc, and, while they may not look perfect, they certainly look sharp and clean for movies of their age. Special features are light, usually just some slightly related shorts from MGM from the era. The seventh disc includes biographies of William Powell and Myrna Loy as well as an episode of the THIN MAN TV show from the 50's (trust me, these movies are better), and a radio drama version of the first story.
Don't let the black and white scare you away from these movies. Whether you buy this set or find another way to view them first, you'll enjoy the wit and mystery of the series.