12 Days of Christmas: The Thin Man

The Thin Man is a 1934 comedy murder mystery based on a novel Dashiell Hammett (The Maltese Falcon).

Nick and Nora Charles (William Powell and Myrna Loy) are a happily married and wealthy couple. Nick used to be a detective but he retired when he married Nora. They travel around drinking and enjoying the good life. And drinking. Made just before the Production Code kicked in, Nick and Nora enjoy themselves a lot.

Nora Charles: "How many drinks have you had?"
Nick Charles: "This will make six Martinis."
Nora Charles: [to the waiter] "All right. Will you bring me five more Martinis, Leo? Line them right up here."

Nora Charles: [suffering from a hang-over] "What hit me?"
Nick Charles: "The last martini."

The film was made for the B movie unit of MGM by thrifty director W.S. Van Dyke. The movie was so popular it that they made five sequels, although they toned down Nick's drinking a little and Nora's to complete sobriety. Spoilsports.

The plot is complex. It's Christmas and a man named Wynant (the thin man of the title) has gone missing. He is then accused of multiple murders. Wynant's daughter Maureen Sullivan wants Nick to prove her father's innocence. Before long there's more bodies and suspects than anyone can keep track of.

Nick Charles: "I'm a hero. I was shot twice in the Tribune."
Nora Charles: "I read where you were shot 5 times in the tabloids."
Nick Charles: "It's not true. He didn't come anywhere near my tabloids."

It's an extremely fun and enjoyable film, the kind they don't make anymore and I don't think they could if they tried. At the start of the trailer William Powell is playing his other famous detective Philo Vance (who Powell played in four films) who then engages in a conversation with Nick Charles. Both characters are essentially Powell being Powell but he does the stylish detective well.

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