Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Thin Man Movies: I Get It

In my review for the novel, The Thin Man, I commented on how the book and my own pre-conceived notions of Nick and Nora Charles didn't match. I have since watched the first two movies. Okay, I understand now.

I loved these first two films. I can only assume that the next four are just as fun.

William Powell and Myrna Loy: those folks had chemistry. Just the body language alone spoke volumes. Powell plays Nick as the tottering, near-constant drunk he was in the book but in a fun way. Loy plays Nora as the adoring, curious, woman Nora was the in the book but with more pizazz. Add in the funny dialogue and sotto voce asides and the film was flat-out hilarious. *That's* what I was expecting when I read the book.

The second film, "After the Thin Man," is funnier than the first. I think the writers wrote for the screen and for Powell and Loy specifically. And the humor was increased. On the second DVD, there is a great radio adaption of "After the Thin Man" performed in 1940. None other than Cecil B. DeMille introduces the show and Powell and Loy reprise their roles. This after the third film had already hit theaters. In his introductory comments, DeMille relates how famous Nick and Nora are and confirmed for me that FDR named his dog, Asta, after the famous pooch of the films.

The last scene of movie #2 was classic: Nora knitting a baby bootie. When Nick finally gets it, she says "And you call yourself a detective." Wonderful films.

And, better late than never, I get it.

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