director W.S. Van Dyke
The 3rd film in the Thin Man (1934) movie series reunites Myrna Loy, William Powell, director W.S. Van Dyke, and screenwriters Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett. I caught this as part of TCM’s Thin Man New Year’s Eve marathon, which was interesting, as good old Robert Osborne provided some insights into why the series of films was made with such odd gaps. The first one in 1934, it took two years to get to the first sequel After the Thin Man (1936) apparently due to contract negotiations with Loy. This film came out three years after the second one, due in part to tragedies in Powell’s life.
This one introduces Nicky, Jr. All these years out, we all know that when series add babies they’re probably heading downhill. Interestingly, he’s predicted at the end of After the Thin Man but is still a baby here in 1939.
Further out from the original, the drinking and merriment of those pre-code Hollywood days are more subdued. But it would take more than a baby to subdue the charms of Nick and Nora Charles, particularly as played by Powell and Loy. As in the other films, they make the movie well-worthwhile, this time with the mystery laid up around a rich old family scion who takes a bullet and the mixture of usual suspects that the Charleses have to whittle down to “whodunnit”.
Still charming, and a little less long than the prior film at 103 minutes, but still, I knew I wasn’t going to make it any further in the marathon. And I didn’t.