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The Thin Man

theatrical poster
Directed by W.S. Van Dyke
Produced by Hunt Stromberg
Written by Dashiell Hammett (novel)
Albert Hackett
Frances Goodrich
Starring William Powell
Myrna Loy
Music by William Axt
Cinematography James Wong Howe
Editing by Robert Kern
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date(s) May 23, 1934 (US)
Running time 93 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $226,408 (est.)
Followed by After the Thin Man

The Thin Man is a 1934 American comic detective film starring William Powell and Myrna Loy as Nick and Nora Charles, a flirtatious married couple who banter wittily as they solve crimes with ease. Nick is a hard drinking retired detective and Nora a wealthy heiress. Their dog, the Wire-Haired Fox Terrier Asta, played by Skippy, was also a popular character.

Completed in 1934 and nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture, the film was directed by W.S. Van Dyke from a script by Albert Hackett and Frances Goodrich; the screenplay was based on the mystery novel The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett, supposedly based on his relationship with playwright Lillian Hellman. Also appearing in the film were Maureen O'Sullivan, Nat Pendleton, Minna Gombell, Cesar Romero and Porter Hall.

The "Thin Man" of the title was actually the lead suspect, but the name was thought by virtually everyone to refer to Nick Charles, and it was used in the titles of the sequels, although no one ever called him that.

In 1997, the film was added to the United States National Film Registry having been deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."

Contents

Plot

Nick Charles (Powell), a retired detective, and his wife Nora (Loy) are attempting to settle down when he's pulled back into service by a friend's disappearance and possible involvement in a murder. The friend, Clyde Wynant (Ellis) (the titular "thin man"), has mysteriously vanished just after his former girlfriend, Julia Wolfe, was found dead. Wynant quickly becomes the prime suspect, but his daughter Dorothy (O'Sullivan) can't believe he did it. She convinces Nick to take the case much to the amusement of his socialite wife. With a drink in his hand and a smirk on his face, the detective stumbles off to find clues. The mystery deepens as the empty martini glasses and dead bodies pile up. Between witty exchanges, the couple manages to piece things together. The murderer is finally revealed in an amusing dinner-party scene, featuring all of the suspects.

Cast

Uncredited cast members include Clay Clement, Pat Flaherty, Douglas Fowley, Christian J. Frank, Creighton Hale, Edward Hearn, Robert Homans, Walter Long, Fred Malatesta, Lee Phelps, Bert Roach, Rolfe Sedan, Gertrude Short, Lee Shumway, Ben Taggart, Harry Tenbrook and Leo White.[2]

Production

The entire film was shot in twelve (out of fourteen) days. Some of the interior scenes were shot inside the Bidwell Mansion in Chico, California.

Reception

The film was such a success that it spawned five sequels:

American Film Institute recognition

Adaptations to other media

The Thin Man was dramatized as a radio play on the June 8, 1936 broadcast of Lux Radio Theater, with William Powell and Myrna Loy reprising their film roles.

Influence

Notes

  1. ^ Brophy would return to the series in 1944 as Brogan in The Thin Man Goes Home.
  2. ^ Full cast & crew at Internet Movie Database


The understanding of exactly who the "Thin Man" was lead to contemporary confusion. In a cartoon of the time, a book on the shelf, "The Thin Man" has a character exit the book and walk around turning sideways to reveal the face of William Powell.

See also

External links








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