Sunday, February 27, 2011

Movie Review Monday is Back~The Thin Man (1936)

Mini Review
Starring: William Powell and Myrna Loy
Directed By: W.S. Van Dyke

This original film in the 'Thin Man' series introduces us to Nick and Nora Charles, played expertly by one of the monumental 'screen teams', William Powell and Myrna Loy. Nick is a former P.I. who has walked into a wealthy marriage and has chosen to give up his old job in order to manage his wife's money. But all that changes when a murder is committed that links Nick to the case in more ways than one. Initially, Nick refuses to get involved but finds a surprising shot of encouragement from an unexpected source...his wife. Nora has a head for problem solving it seems, and over the course of this twisting, martini-shaking 'whodunit', she proves to be Nick's biggest ally. The 'mystery' doesn't play out as intriguingly as other films of the genre, but the sheer delight in watching Nick and Nora interact more than makes up for that. By the end of the film, I was anxious to see more...and an even bigger fan of Myrna Loy's darling self.

Unfortunately, subsequent films of the series do not have the charm and appeal of this original installment. 'After the Thin Man' is strong, showcasing my very favorite actor of all time, James Stewart, in an early role in his career. It is entertaining to watch him overplay the part to such an extent, especially when he is known to be the king of natural acting. Later in the series, we are also introduced to the Charles' inevitable offspring and sobriety is even attempted by the couple, at one point. But nothing compares to this original film and the legendary standard it set for films of both the 'romantic comedy' and 'crime-solving' genres.

My rating: 10/10

Style Factor: When it comes to 1930's fashion, Myrna Loy's wardrobe in this film was a perfect example. In spite of the black and white cinematography, we are never disappointed in her glitzy attire-from her extravagant nightgowns to her oddball hats. It's kind of an essential exhibitition of the decade's proclivity towards excess.

Style Score: 8

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