The Thin Man (1934) – W.S. Van Dyke


Dashiell Hammett’s novel is brought to life for viewing in the first recommendation for Bringing Up Baby, in the Great Movies – 100 Years of Film book.

This one, sadly, leaves me kind of divided.

Nick (William Powell) and Nora Charles (Myrna Loy) are a highly enjoyable couple with a fun dog named Asta, and a penchant for a drink or two. Nicky used to be a detective, and when a murder occurs linked to an old friend of Nicky’s, Nora urges him to take it on so she can help and see him work.

The chemistry between Powell and Loy is palatable, and they are a lot of fun, and truly do look like a couple in love, as they joke and tease one another, make faces, and look out for one another. Everything with them, I loved.

It was the rest of the film that didn’t captivate me as much. I found myself urging the film to hurry up so we could get back to Nick and Nora, as they are just so much fun to watch. The Christmas party sequence is a lot of fun, and just watching the two of them pal around is so much fun.

The mystery though well-crafted, and with lots of suspects, just didn’t hold my attention, I wanted to get back to the Nick and Nora bits, and Asta being, well Asta.


The characters have definitely caught my interest, and may in fact see me run down a copy of the original novel to look at but, the rest of the film simply couldn’t pull me in like those moments.

That’s not a commentary on the genre, or even the subject matter, the film just didn’t feel as good if Nick and Nora weren’t around in fact, to me some of the actors seemed downright wooden.

However, the film, no doubt due to the fantastic sense of fun that Powell and Loy bring to their characters, had a number of sequels, one of which, Song of the Thin Man, featured a very young Dean Stockwell!

The recommendations from Bringing Up Baby keep on coming however, and there are some films coming I’ve never seen, and have always wanted to… for instance, up next is Frank Capra’s Oscar-winning picture, It Happened One Night with Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert (both of whom one Oscars for their performances). I’m looking forward to it!

Have you seen the Thin Man series? Do you have a favorite? What is your favorite old Hollywood classic Rom-Com?


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