Tag Archives: Nick and Nora

The Set of 400: #68 – My Favorite New Year’s Eve Party

Today! Because the murderer is right in this room. Sitting at this table. You may serve the fish –

The Thin Man (1934)

Directed by W.S. Van Dyke (x2)

Starring William Powell (x3), Myrna Loy (x2), Maureen O’Sullivan (x3), Porter Hall (x3), Minna Gombell, Harold Huber, Cesar Romero, Natalie Moorhead, Nat Pendleton, Henry Wadsworth, William Henry, Edward Brophy, Edward Ellis

Dashiell Hammett’s hard drinking detective and wife pair Nick and Nora Charles first gloriously came to life in this 1934 classic, altering a few keys elements from the book in terms of character and tone, but maintaining the twisty, red-herring filled plot about the search for Clyde Wynant, a.k.a. The Thin Man. And yes, it’s weird that all the sequels still used “The Thin Man” in the title, as though Nick Charles was on a perennial diet, when Wynant only appears in the first film. But hey, they needed that name recognition! If they knew what a hit they’d have on their hands, undoubtedly this would’ve been called Nick and Nora or Mr. and Mrs. Charles or Asta, the Wonder Dog.

Forever the MVP, and a frequent crossword puzzle answer!

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The Set of 400: #303 – My Favorite Snoring Conversation

Today! Because I don’t need anything in the world, darling, but you and a toothbrush –

After the Thin Man (1936)

Directed by W.S. Van Dyke

Starring William Powell, Myrna Loy, James Stewart, Elissa Landi, Joseph Calleia, Jessie Ralph, Alan Marshal, Sam Levine, Penny Singleton, George Zucco, Teddy Hart, Allen ‘Farina’ Hoskins, William Law

The best of the Thin Man sequels, and by some estimations the top movie in the series, After the Thin Man picks up where the first film leaves off – with Nick and Nora on a train heading west, replete with their boozy banter and dog Asta in tow. Sure, their comrades from the first movie two years earlier who were also taking this train are no where to be seen, but what of it? There are new mysteries to solve immediately upon arriving home in San Francisco! Forget that Thin Man case!

For the uninitiated, the Thin Man movies follow a pretty standard formula for film mysteries of the ’30s and ’40s – central master detective, tight running time, lots of punching, one or two gunshots. What made the Thin Man movies stand out – even from the other, previous William Powell mystery series, Philo Vance – was the light comedy injected by the leads, the married “former” detective Nick Charles and his socialite wife Nora, along with their Wire Fox Terrier Asta, occasionally embroiled in his own drama, due to Mrs. Asta and a neighborhood hound, as in this film. Fun fact – Asta was portrayed by Skippy, who had a robust film career in the ’30s, appearing in the first three Thin Mans, as well as The Awful Truth, Topper Takes a Trip, Sea Racketeers, I Am the Law, and Bringing Up Baby among others before retiring in 1941. In his heyday, he was pulling down $250 a week! Great Depression my foot!

Rin Tin Tin had nothing on Skippy

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