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"Four Sea Bass"
on 11 May 2008
Based on Dashiell Hammett's novel The Thin Man,these six films brought together one of the great pairings in Hollywood history with William Powell as Nick Charles,playboy shamus and husband to the divine Nora Charles played by the delightful Myrna Loy.
Together the pair charmed their way around each other,countless parties and martini cocktails while still finding time to solve the odd crime or two - well Nick did the detecting while Nora kept him from being too "distracted".
The Thin Man(1934)The first and the best.Sparkling repartee amidst the cocktails with ex-p.i Nick Charles trying to solve the disappearance of a high strung scientist while fending off an ex paramour(and her daughter) and acquainting his wife Nora with the finer points of detective work while working under the influence.
Woody Van Dyke directs the whole thing with his customary speed(12 days to shoot!!)and finesse and the result is sheer poetry.
After the Thin Man(1936)Delightful sequel has Nick and Nora involved in family secrets and murder, this time with the help of faithful Asta.Cue more cocktails and a surprising villain in this well turned,if slightly too long, follow up.
Another Thin Man(1939)The married sleuthes plus "little Nicky"return for a third time investigating the murder of a wealthy industrialist that the Charles' just happen to be visiting.With Nick himself under suspicion this time,it is up to Nora to do a little detective work in this delightful series entry.
Shadow of the Thin Man(1941)A jockey is murdered at the track which is a prelude to more artful detecting from the Charles'.Highlights include Nora at the wrestling and the dinner ordering scene.As with other entries stellar support includes Donna Reed and Sam Levene.Good fun.
Thin Man Goes Home(1944)Fifth entry directed by Richard Thorpe and lit by Karl Freund(no less)sees Nick going home to Sycamore Springs and finding that impressing dad seems pretty difficult when all the townsfolk seem to covering up a murder.Script steals from Conan Doyle amongst others and Nora's incitement of a pool room brawl is a highlight.Strained at times but still fun.
Song of the Thin Man(1946)Final entry sees Nick and Nora trying to solve the murder of a band leader aboard a floating nightclub- the S.S Fortune.
Red herrings aplenty and some funny hep dialogue especially from a young Keenan Wynn highlight this ok finale to a classic series.
As with all series' the law of diminishing returns will apply but even the weakest(Song...)is still high grade entertainment.Powell and Loy were perfectly matched and while today some may bristle at the thought of two "drunks" happily going about their detecting with scantish regard for each other's welfare let alone little Nicky's,you will be won over by the wit and sheer charm of these films.
Another quality job from Warners with each film being accompanied by a animated short and a live action one with particular reference to The Tell-Tale Heart(on the Shadow...Man )adapted from a Poe story which is wonderfully creepy and directed by Jules Dassin!!!
Finally a disc with two documentaries on Powell and Loy is well worth watching.