The Thin Man (1934)

  • Not Rated
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release year: 1934 (1934-05-25)
  • Running time: 91 min
  • Original Title: The Thin Man
  • Voted: 24714
The Thin Man is a movie starring William Powell, Myrna Loy, and Maureen O'Sullivan. Former detective Nick Charles and his wealthy wife Nora investigate a murder case, mostly for the fun of it.
1William PowellNick Charles
2Myrna LoyNora Charles
3Maureen O'SullivanDorothy Wynant
4Nat PendletonGuild
  • Puts modern movies to shame 1/18/2000 12:00:00 AM by Calysta 10

    "The Thin Man", a deliciously superb mix that keeps getting richer becomes better with every single viewing. The first time I missed a bit of the murder plot, but repeated viewings just enhance the movie.

    It has started making me wanted to go out, get a terrier and call it Asta, drink too much for my own good and become a private eye detective. And move to New York. The lovable couple make it all look fun, and even if they do drink too much. Only after I have snapped out of admiration mode for the movie I remember that they were highly paid actors following a script in a hit film of 1934, and I'm living in the year 2000, cannot get a dog, am living in Sydney, and worst of all, I'm fourteen, so I can't drink or become a detective. Such is the modern manner of the movie. It is one of the very few films of its time that retains its freshness, intrigue and brilliant humour.

    William Powell and Myrna Loy are incredibly likeable, the wisecracking darlings of society who we all want to know. Their performances were both absolutely brilliant! Some of their antics are a good deal wilder than those we are used to, but in fear of being caught up in murder would keep me away from them, but not long enough. I don't believe there are any shallow characters at all. Thank goodness for "The Thin Man". One of the first to show an affectionate couple in love, I'm still scanning for the same in movies of the 50s.

    W.S Dyke is of course not one of the most remembered directors of his time, but for this alone he could be considered a great director. He was not Alfred Hitchcock, but he successfully combined high comedy, crime and thrills into one film. No wonder the major film studios were hot after this property. And Dyke didn't have to rely on the excruciatingly hilarious elements of slapstick. A married couple and a dog was all that was needed. Such a simple thing to emphasise on, and how well it worked! Could there be a more stolen plot of today?

    Unfortunately, MGM, despite creating one of the best teamings of the era by putting the platonic Powell and Loy together, released this film in 1934. A nominee for Best Picture, Actor and Director, among other things, it was Capra's "It Happened One Night" that made history by becoming the first film in history to sweep the five major categories at the Oscars. If it had been released in 1933, it would have beaten the now forgotten "Calvacade", in 1935 it may have swept some Oscars up against "Mutiny on the Bounty". I wonder why Loy was not nominated. The film simply could not have been done without her.

    Powell and Loy went on to make many movies together. Asta, appeared again as George in the 1938 slapstick masterpiece "Bringing Up Baby".

    Although we need some good movies now, no one should even think contemplate for a split second on a remake. There is no way justice could be done to this film. It is a comic masterpiece that continually tricks the viewers, and without a doubt, one of the very best and brightest movies of the 1930s.

    I hope I can watch the other "Thin Man" movies. I will definitely be reading the book. The film ended half an hour ago, but I already feel like going back for a second helping.

    Rating: 10/10

  • Classy, sassy fun 1/22/2005 12:00:00 AM by FilmOtaku 7

    W.S. Van Dyke's 1934 film "The Thin Man" stars Myrna Loy and William Powell as Nora and Nick Charles, upper class sleuths who unwittingly become caught up in the case of a missing friend and former client. Nick is a former detective who has been in retirement for the last four years, living the high life with Nora when Dorothy Wynant (Maureen O'Sullivan) implores with them to help find her father, who has been missing for three months. Throughout the investigation, Nick and Nora rarely are without a drink in their hands, are forever trading bons mots and getting themselves into comical situations; they even get their terrier Asta in on their investigation.

    "The Thin Man" is a great detective story that is enhanced by its classiness and humor. Powell is definitely the physical comedian of the pair, with Loy looking stunning and conveying so much with the looks she gives him. I honestly found myself guessing the outcome until the end, which culminates in a deliciously wonderful dinner party where all of the guests are suspects. It is stunning that this film was made in 1934, because it seems so ahead of its time; which is probably just one reason why it is so highly regarded and remains on many critics' lists. "The Thin Man" is so thoroughly enjoyable, and its stars (including Asta) are so engaging that I look forward to seeing more in the six-film series. Rent this one or catch it on Turner Classic Movies, like I did. It is well worth seeing, and surely an inspiration to many film genres ranging from screwball comedies to detective stories. A very strong 8/10.


  • The first in a great series of mystery films 11/26/2009 12:00:00 AM by AlsExGal 10

    This is one of my favorite movies from any decade. William Powell and Myrna Loy have such chemistry together and their expressions during their verbal sparrings are priceless. Under different circumstances it might be easy to dislike Nick and Nora Charles - they are the idle rich who spend their time overindulging in alcohol, having loud parties, and destroying their own property with air rifles at a time (1934) when much of America was starving through the worst part of the Great Depression. On top of that, Nick makes no secret of how appealing his wife's money is to him. However, the intricate plot, the couple's clever dialogue, and their chemistry draw you in and make their world even seem somewhat normal.

    The Thin Man refers to Clyde Wynant, a somewhat absent-minded inventor, the chief suspect in what turns out to be three murders, and someone who only actually appears in the first 15 minutes of the film, never to be seen afterwards.

    The Charles' get caught up in the mystery of Wynant's disappearance because his daughter Dorothy (Maureen O'Sullivan) is an old friend of Nick's and asks Nick for his help. Wynant has told his daughter that he is going off somewhere secret to work on an invention so that nobody can steal it from him, but promises he will be back before Christmas so he can be present at her wedding. However, Wynant has never resurfaced and nobody has heard from him. Nick initially has no interest in continuing his former occupation of detective - he is much more interested in having a good time - until a series of circumstances and his own wife's urging draw him into the mystery and back into his role as private detective.

    The film is full of unsavory yet interesting characters. Wynant's family is truly dysfunctional. His son is an oddball bookworm obsessed with abnormal psychology, his ex-wife has remarried a gigolo who appears to be hiding a questionable past and finds the idea of working for a living insulting, and Wynant's girlfriend is a very greedy and aging ex-flapper who steps out on Wynant with other men whenever she thinks he isn't noticing. The only virtuous characters in the film seem to be Wynant's daughter and her fiancé. In short, there is no shortage of possible suspects and worthy victims. Even the police in the film are unappealing - they are very good at getting rough with people and performing illegal searches, but not very quick on finding clues or making even obvious deductions. The constantly semi-inebriated Nick Charles has no problem running circles around them and turns out to be both brave and brilliant in his role as sleuth.

    I recommend this film to anyone who likes a good murder mystery laced with a bit of dark comedy.

  • One of the funniest films ever made... 7/14/2000 12:00:00 AM by A-Ron-2 7

    I am not really a fan of comedies, but I can definitely appreciate a good one when it comes along. Often times comedies only really work when they are combined with another genre (in the case of this film, the 'hard-boiled detective' film)... and sometimes they achieve brilliance.

    In what might have otherwise been a sort of mediocre movie, Bill Powell and Myrna Loy breath a phenomenal life into the roles of Nick and Nora Charles, a rich woman and her dandyish (but dangerous) lush of a detective husband. This film entertains on so many levels and establishes (not exploits) so many cliches that it should be mandatory viewing in any introductory film class.

    The plot of The Thin Man is pretty much peripheral to the performances by Low and Powell, but it is involving in its own way. Murder, loose women, police brutality (fun police brutality), adultery, polygamy, science, swindles, two dinner parties and drinking... lots and lots of drinking... all combine into one hell of fun movie. There is even a fair amount of tension in the film and all kinds of great one-liners and set-ups.

    This is quite simply a phenomenal film, lots of fun (even for Gen Xers like myself), and well worth watching.

  • Nick & Nora's first romp. A classic comedy whodunnit! 9/21/1999 12:00:00 AM by MikeB-9 10

    William Powell and Myrna Loy share a wonderful chemistry in this very close adaptation of the Dashiell Hammet novel. The interplay between Powell & Loy comes off very natural, as if they WERE married.

    Nick is a lovable lush with a sharp mind and Nora is rich beyond imagination, with a freshness and innocence not found in today's movie characters. The film has plenty of site gags with some occasional drama interspersed.

    All of the characters are made believable by the actors and the direction is superb. The plot revolves around the disappearance of Prof. Wynant and everyone seems to be involved in helping him stay missing. Nick reluctantly takes the case and the fun really gets going. Plenty of misdirection keeps you guessing "whodunnit". The now classic gathering of all suspects lets you know. A really odd family, some "shady" characters, and William Powell/Myrna Loy's acting make this one great! This is the first in The Thin Man series, and, in my opinion, the best.

    Rated 10 in my book. A must see for fans of comedy and classics.

    Where are these kinds of movies nowdays?

1William Axtcomposer
2W.S. Van Dykedirector
3Hunt Strombergproducer
4Albert Hackettwriter
5Frances Goodrichwriter
6Dashiell Hammettwriter