Monday, April 05, 2010

“I knew there was only one woman in the world who could attract men like that. A woman with a lot of money.”

Moving right along, here’s 1939’s Another Thin Man. By this point, everybody’s forgotten that the actual “Thin Man” was Wynant in the first movie and the name just kind of stuck to the Nick Charles character.

So Nick & Nora are back in New York, this time with a baby boy, Nicky Jr. in tow. They get called up to visit a Colonel MacFay, who was the financial manager of Nora’s assets, up at his country estate. They get there to find the Colonel’s extremely paranoid about his safety after a crook claiming prophetic dreams saw him dead three times. Well wouldn’t you know, the Colonel ends up dead and the search is on to find out whodunnit. Hilarity ensues.

Nick Charles: William Powell as usual, only this time, his presence at the scene of the crime ends up making him one of the suspects too. Fatherhood hasn’t slaked his thirst any.

Nora Charles: Myrna Loy, beautiful as usual. The Charles couple continues to be quite badass despite having a baby boy at this point.

Colonel Burr MacFay: C. Aubrey Smith is the Colonel, and an old acquaintance of Nora’s late father. He was taking care of the books, but it seems he’s got a shady past of his own. One where some people might want to see him killed.

Lois MacFay: Virginia Grey is the colonel’s daughter. She doesn’t react well to his death, getting sick a few times.

Dudley Horn: Patric Knowles is Lois’ fiancee and somewhat of a douche, though he would do anything to protect her.

Freddie Coleman: Tom Neal is the Colonel’s secretary and a generally soft-spoken guy who’s got a thing for Lois.

Mrs. Isabella Bellam: Phyllis Gordon is the MacFays’ housekeeper and someone who’s also hiding something.

Phil Church: Sheldon Leonard is the villain. He’s got a past with MacFay and is trying to shake the colonel down for money. A smart guy, he seems to have an alibi for everything.

“Diamond Back” Vogel: Don Costello is a shady character who’s keeping an eye on Church, though to what end remains in question.

H. Culverton “Smitty” Smith: Muriel Hutchison is Church’s girl, though she’s not quite divorced from her husband. She carries a little gun around in a leg holster.

Dum-Dum: Abner Biberman is Church’s right hand guy, and pretty handy with a knife.

“Creeps” Binder: Harry Bellaver is one of the many, many smalltime crooks that Nick sent up the river who don’t hold it against him. Creeps is the one who decides it would be a great idea to throw a birthday party for Nicky Jr. and invites a bunch of his pals to bring their kids (or somebody else’s kids) to the party. Shemp Howard being one of those individuals.

Lieutenant John Guild: Nat Pendleton returns as the lantern-jawed New York cop who’s on Nick’s side.

Assistant District Attorney Van Slack: Otto Kruger (from Dracula’s Daughter and Murder, My Sweet) is in charge of the investigation of the Colonel’s murder, and he’s very inclined to put the squeeze on Nick since its very convenient that the detective was around at just the right time.

W.S. Van Dyke (now with II at the end of his name) returns and the film’s got all the standard “One-Take Woody” touches from the first film; a light and breezy style that shifts into “noir-mode” when detecting is done.

The husband & wife team of Albert Hackett & Frances Goodrich are back, and the banter flows as good as always. The plot itself goes into some interesting territory, what with the “prophetic dreams,” a law officer who kind of thinks Nick committed the murder, and the denouement, but to their credit none of it feels out of place or forced, which is nice.

The score by Edward Ward is appropriate and fine, just not that memorable.

Three movies in and the series is still going strong at the halfway point. Another Thin Man adds a lot of interesting touches, brings back some familiar faces, AND its got Shemp! If you’ve seen the first two, definitely see this one.

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