Saturday, December 20, 2014

Thin Man comedy

TCM is running The Thin Man tonight at 8:00 PM as this week's Essential. It's a movie that I've never done a full-length posting on, although I've mentioned it quite a bit when talking about William Powell or Myrna Loy. I'm not certain, but I think the reason I've never done a full-length post on the film comes down to a couple of things. First, I can't help but think it's a bit better known that a lot of other old movies. Not that I want to deal in obscurities, but I've always felt a bit uncomfortable about doing posts on the tent-pole titles since, as I've been known to write about some movies, it's a story you all know.

The other reason is the plot, such as it is. As wonderful as the movie is, The Thin Man is one of those mysteries that you watch not for the mystery, but for all the comic elements that go on around Nick and Nora's attempts to solve the mystery. Some good examples:

Early on, before we get Nora's comedic entrance including a pratfall, we see Nick drinking one martini after another. If Nick is going to have that many, so is Nora, so she orders six martinis lined up. Needless to say, the next morning she wakes up with a hangover. "What hit me?" she asks Nick. "The last martini."

Gil (William Henry), one of Wynant's sons, if in the movie in large part for comic relief, claiming to have studied crime and trying to put on airs that he knows as much about how to solve a case like this as everybody else, although when push comes to shove you know he's not going to have the stomach for it. But perhaps his best line is when he tells the police that his missing father is a "sexagenarian". Perfectly accurate, but it's one of those words like "titillate" that sounds racier than it is.

Asta gets a couple of good scenes too, afraid of the popping balloons and afraid of the gunam who comes into Nick and Nora's bedroom. Oh to have a dog like that.

What's your favorite part of The Thin Man?

No comments: