After the Thin Man (1936)
“Continuing the fun in their NEW hit!”
Director: W. S. Van Dyke
Cast: William Powell, Myrna Loy, James Stewart
Synopsis: Nick investigates the case of a missing man and later a murder that is connected to Nora’s family.
After the Thin Man is a more than worthy sequel to the original 1934 movie, and takes up the story as Nick and Nora return to San Francisco after solving the first case. The witty interplay between the two leads is very much in evidence, to the extent that the plot sometimes takes second place. That’s ok, though, because their dialogue is never less than highly amusing, and one wonders why Powell and Loy are never as highly regarded as Tracy and Hepburn.
The murder plot is fairly straightforward, and follows the tried-and-trusted method of establishing motives for a wide range of characters and having them all have the opportunity to be the culprit. The identity of the murderer is fairly cleverly concealed almost until the end of the movie, although one shot just before the revelation may tip off the more alert viewer.
As with many movies of the thirties, the performances vary; Powell and Astor are superb, as you would expect, and James Stewart, in an early supporting role, gives notice of the major talent he would soon become. Some other members of the cast, however, rely on yelling their lines at each other, which can become highly annoying at times.
It’s odd, watching the movie today, to see how glamorised alcohol and cigarettes were in the 30’s. Nick Charles spends at least half of the movie in a state of advanced inebriation. ‘Let’s get something to eat’ he says at one point, ‘I’m thirsty.’ — can you imagine how a movie with a hero like that would be received if released today?
(Reviewed 28th April 2002)