Movie: The Thin Man
My Rating: 5 stars
I loved this movie! And, I had absolutely no expectations that I would. Of course, I’m aware of a category of “classic,” old films that people universally agree are “excellent.” But, I always imagine that these people mean “excellent” in a boring, old-timey, cinematically historical way. You know how film students can be. I feel the same way about celebrity chefs who rave about “delicious,” obscure dishes, like a braised, Sicilian, half sheep’s head. I don’t have patience anymore for that kind of one-upmanship. Accordingly, I never really expect to actually enjoy these classic films going into them. It feels like homework. But, this movie is amazing! The dialogue is witty, ironic, hilarious, and even a little sexy. This movie was made in the early 30s, but the sensibility feels completely modern.
This film is, of course, about Nick and Nora Charles—two wealthy, married boozehounds, who are out to carouse and have a good time in fancy hotels, but who find themselves accidentally solving crimes while they’re at it. These two just want to throw parties and sip gin, but dead bodies keep turning up! What’s a pair of wealthy lovebirds to do? So, these kids just have to solve the mysteries so that they can get back to their martinis. So exasperating! Nick and Nora are played by William Powell and Myrna Loy, and they really do have remarkable chemistry on screen. The relationship feels so natural that audiences just assumed they were married in real life. And, they really do feel like a married couple who’ve been together long enough to be totally comfortable with each other and have their own in-jokes, but whose relationship is fresh enough that they’re still really interested in each other. And, the fact that they’re sassy, smart-talking, drunken jokesters only adds to their charm. It’s great!
I can’t recommend this movie highly enough. It really is hilariously funny. And, I’m not saying funny for an old-fashioned movie. The humor completely works today. Of course, you’ll have to be prepared to listen very closely to the dialogue. Characters speak very quickly, and the banter doesn’t stop for a minute. So, if you’re not paying very close attention you’ll miss a lot of the jokes, clues, and key plot points. It’s not the kind of movie that you can have playing in the background while you’re doing something else. But, the movie is so engaging and funny that I don’t think you’ll be tempted to. I immediately added the rest of the movies in the series to my Netflix queue. This is definitely a series worth dusting off and enjoying.