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Movie Critique – Another Thin Man

Stars: 5 / 5

Recommendation: Again a successful murder mystery in the Thin Man series giving us laughs, romance and thrill at the same time. 

For review of all movies in the series, go here.

Another Thin Man  is a 1939 American mystery comedy film, the third in the six movies made in the Thin Man series, directed by W. S. Van Dyke with William Powell and Myrna Loy reprising their roles as Nick and Nora Charles. This also forms the eighth in the fourteen films that Powell and Loy acted together.

The story-line is based on characters created by Dashiell Hammett, and adapted from his 1930 story The Farewell Murder, the sixth book in his Continental Op series. Screenplay was by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, another married couple, who also wrote screenplay for the first movies in the Thin Man series. 

Nick and Nora Charles are back in New York with their dog Asta (portrayed by Skippy) and their new born Nickie Jr (portrayed by William A. Poulsen).  On a weekend that they spend at Long Island with their friend Colonel Burr MacFay (portrayed by C. Aubrey Smith), they are roped into helping him with the threats he has been receiving. Thus begins the adventure into the mystery and comedy world of Thin Man Series, again.

The main highlight of the film definitely is the marital relationship between Nick and Nora filled with humor and support even after they have a child. In fact the child adds more humor and substance to it. 

Considering the tragedies that Powell was going through at this time - loss of his fiancée Jean Harlow and his colon bypass surgery to battle colon cancer - Powell and Loy managed to infuse as much humor as they could. One wouldn’t even know that the tragedies were behind in his mind all along. Though the filming was delayed, it proved a success none the less once finished.

Seventeen years since their appearance together, Powell and Otto Kruger appear in this film. Kruger portrays the role of Assistant District Attorney Van Slack in this film. 

Nat Pendleton also reprises his role as Lieutenant Guild whom we first met in the first film, The Thin Man

Virginia Grey as Lois MacFay is pretty and charming. In my recent listening of old time radio shows involving suspense, gumshoes, private eyes and spies, I came across Virginia Grey in several of the episodes. Her voice always captured my attention. This is the first time I am watching her in action. She did a splendid job on screen as well. 

Loved the Rhumba Specialty by René y Estela at the West Indies Club in the film. They are real headliners at New York's Havana-Madrid Club. The dance is the best part of the film. 

Again a successful murder mystery in the Thin Man series giving us laughs, romance and thrill at the same time. Powell and Loy don’t disappoint us at all and are only better and better. 

Spoiler Alerts:

1) Movie Trivia:

a. Interestingly enough the dog Asta is credited as Asta as opposed to Skippy which was his original name. 

b. Checkout the fire hydrant that comes as part of their luggage at Grand Central in New York City when Nick and Nora arrive. You can see the fire hydrant on Asta's title card above as well.

c. Note the housekeeper, Mrs. Isabella Bellam (portrayed by Phyllis Gordon), at the MacFay's residence, and Dorothy Walters, Nickie's nanny standing like statues in the background while Nora gives Nick the keys to the liquor cabinet. Very funny, almost like waiting for cue, which perhaps they were. 

d. See Shemp Howard make an uncredited appearance at Nickie Jr.'s birthday party (the guy on the left in the picture below). 

e. In the Murder, She Wrote episode Night of the Tarantula from Season 6 Episode 7 released in 1989, Jessica Fletcher mentions the original title of the film as "The Thin Man Returns". But in US the film was promoted as Return of the Thin Man.

2) Grammatical / Historical / Location / Character Errors:

a. In the opening credits, Rhumba Specialty is credited to Renee and Stella. But the placard outside the West Indies Club advertises the dance team as René y Estela. I never liked names being anglicized for the convenience of the western world. These two in fact are real headliners at New York's Havana-Madrid Club and quite famous. Shouldn’t their names at least be retained original?

b. The number of luggage that arrive with the Charles family at the grand central, then delivered to their hotel room, and later on when they unpack, is different for every scene and also color of the suitcases are different too.

c. When Nora is trying to open the lock of one of the suitcases, it has N.C. initials on the face of the trunk. However when Nick comes to help her a second later, the initials are disappeared and the trunk is entirely different.

d. "Creeps" Binder's (portrayed by Harry Bellaver) suspenders disappear between scenes. 

e. The position of Asta's bone in Nickie Jr.'s crib changes between scenes. Also Asta pulls the bone through the bars of the crib, and immediately the next scene it is shown that Nora Charles gives the bone to him as he sits obediently by the crib. 

f. When Dorothy Walters  (portrayed by Ruth Hussey), Nickie's nanny, first arrives at the hotel, Nora mentions that she will call her after she was back from her trip from Long Island over the weekend. However when they are heading to Long Island, Dorothy accompanies them. And yet no where the conversation occurs which affirms that she was to stay. 

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