The Thin Man

Friday, October 13 - Sunday, October 15, 2017

35mm print!

“William Powell is to dialogue as Fred Astaire is to dance. His delivery is so droll and insinuating, so knowing and innocent at the same time, that it hardly matters what he’s saying. That’s certainly the case in The Thin Man (1934), a murder mystery in which the murder and the mystery are insignificant compared to the personal styles of the actors. Powell and Myrna Loy co-star as Nick and Nora Charles, a retired detective and his rich wife, playfully in love and both always a little drunk….

The Thin Man was one of the most popular films of 1934, inspired five sequels, and was nominated for four Oscars (best picture, actor, direction and screenplay). Yet it was made as an inexpensive B-picture. Powell and Loy had been successful together earlier the same year in Manhattan Melodrama (the last film John Dillinger ever saw), and were quickly cast by MGM in this crime comedy that was filmed, incredibly, in only two weeks. The quick shooting schedule was possible because there are very few sets and negligible exteriors, because there is much dialogue and little action, and because the director, W. S. Van Dyke, was known for sticking to a schedule. That “The Thin Man” cost so little and looks so good is possibly because the interiors are simple and elegant, and the black and white photography flatters the loungewear and formalwear worn by a great-looking cast (which in addition to Powell and Loy, included Maureen O’Sullivanand a young Cesar Romero). And there is a kind of grace in the way the 6-foot Powell hovers protectively over the 5-6 Loy (or sometimes simply leans as if blown in her direction)….
The movie’s only real skullduggery comes when Nick goes on a midnight prowl through the inventor’s laboratory, and even then the real sleuthing is done by Asta (Skippy), the couple’s high-spirited terrier. Nick and Nora included him in all of their activities, and Asta became one of the most famous movie dogs of his time, in part through his ability to shield his eyes with his paws when life grew too disturbing to contemplate.” – Roger Ebert
Part of the Weekend Classics series “DOG NYC”
  • Rating NR
  • Year 1934
  • Running Time 93 minutes
  • Director W. S. Van Dyke