I love writing my excessively wordy reviews, but sometimes they are a bit draining because — unfortunately — I’m not a particularly fast writer, and 3,000 words of snarky analysis actually does take me a while. So I think I might make the Baby Review a real thing on this blog because, hey. Some movies don’t take much more than a thousand. For instance . . .
If you like mystery comedies, well, this is a big’un.
At the urging of his wife, Nora (Myrna Loy), Nick Charles (William Powell) reluctantly investigates the disappearance of an old inventor — mostly because everyone assumes he’s investigating, anyway.
Also, everyone drinks. Like, a lot.
1. Seriously, I’m not kidding. These people are a bunch of ridiculous boozehounds, the lot of them.
You have to love that Hays Code — Nick and Nora can barely kiss and they certainly can’t sleep in the same bed, but they can get hammered all they want because, you know. They’re charming about their rampant alcoholism.
2. To be fair, though, Nick and Nora are pretty charming.
William Powell and Myrna Loy have great chemistry with one another — which, well, one would hope, since they starred in fourteen films together, six of which were Nick and Nora movies. Their banter is quick and effortless, and they’re just a lot of fun.
Now I kind of want to watch Murder by Death again, just to watch David Niven and Maggie Smith play Dick and Dora. (Also, possibly, Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist. Yes, I know it has nothing to do with this movie, but it does have Kat Dennings in it, and I kind of love her.)
3. I originally tried reading The Thin Man maybe five or six years ago, after reading The Maltese Falcon. At the time, I didn’t get into it — I think I was looking for less glamour, more Sam Spade — but I think I might have to try it out again, since this movie was so enjoyable. I wonder how closely it follows the book.
4. I also wonder if the mystery in the book is a bit more, well, mysterious.
It’s not a particularly serious criticism, since it’s such a light-hearted film, but The Thin Man is possibly a wee bit predictable. Mek and I easily guessed who the bad guy was for various reasons — she used actual logic, whereas I just eliminated unlikely suspects. Although hey, maybe the movie isn’t predictable. Maybe we are just that awesome.
On second thought, let’s go with that.
5. I’m rather glad I didn’t live in the 30’s because — despite my inherent awesomeness — I’d make a really terrible platinum blonde. There are, like, three different characters with almost the exact same hair in this movie. Telling them apart was a bitch.
Oh well. At least I’m pretty good at making this face:
See? I’m totally like a 30’s movie star.
6. As I mentioned earlier, there are five sequels to this movie: After the Thin Man, Another Thin Man, Shadow of the Thin Man, The Thin Man Goes Home, and Song of the Thin Man. I bring these up because — assuming you have eyes — you might have noticed that there is common thread in these titles and thereby came to the reasonable conclusion that Nick Charles it the titular thin man.
Well, he’s not, at least not in the first movie. But because people in the 1930’s were apparently morons, most critics and moviegoers referred to him as such, and thus you have five titles that really make no sense.
7. Finally, a few examples of that lovely dialogue I mentioned before:
Nora (while looking at all of her drunk party guests): “Oh, Nicky, I love you because you know such lovely people.”
Nick: “It’s all right, Joe, it’s all right. It’s my dog. And my wife.”
Nora: “Well, you might have mentioned me first on the billing.”
Guild: “Then we see this bird sneak in, we decide to come up. And lucky for you we did!”
Nick: “Yes, I might not have been shot.”
Dorothy: “Oh, you used to fascinate me. A real life detective. You used to tell me the most wonderful stories. Were they true?”
Nick: “Probably not.”
Marion: “I don’t like crooks, and if I did like crooks, I wouldn’t like crooks that were stool pigeons, and if I did like crooks who were stool pigeons, I still wouldn’t like YOU.”
A breezy little comedy. I would definitely watch the rest of the sequels, even if they are stupidly named.
Oh, I don’t know. Maybe there’s no mystery that can’t be solved if you have a good drink handy?
5 thoughts on ““The Murderer is Right in This Room, Sitting at This Table. You May Serve the Fish.””
Great “little” review…what was the movie that had a nick and nora type couple and a st. bernard (i think) in which the couple gets killed and come back as ghosts…Topper (maybe)…some good banter in that…oh, and we just watched Thin man last month !
I’d never heard of it before, but Google tells me it’s Topper, which is a Cary Grant movie. Or possibly Topper the TV show, made in the 50’s and based off the movie. I know there was a Saint Bernard in the show. I can’t tell for sure if there was one in the original film.
Oooh, yay. I wanted to see Murder By Death after you reviewed it, both because it sounded funny and because I wanted to check out some Ten Little Murder Victims-style murder mystery comedies as research for the one I’m writing. So then I figured I should be familiar with at least one of the franchises Murder By Death was parodying before I watched it, which led to me watching The Thin Man. It was pretty fun – I can’t say I really cared about the plot, but fuck, just watching Nick and Nora’s interaction was so enjoyable. So, sort of how I feel about Warehouse 13 (at least the first three seasons, Four was kinda meh) then.
Argh, I forgot to put in the URL for the Ten Little Murder Victims TVtropes page. Anyway, it means one of those Agatha Christie, Clue-type plots where a bunch of folk have to figure out which one of them is a killer.
Yay, TV Tropes time! I spend far too much time on that page. Also, locked room mysteries are kind of my favorite thing ever.