|Myrna Loy and William Powell|
Nick Charles (William Powell) and wife, Nora (Myrna Loy) have returned from New York to California in this first sequel to The Thin Man, but discover that wherever they go murder follows. Nick learns that when it comes to intrigue and craziness, Nora's relatives are not much different from the thugs and ex-cons Nick hangs out with. This time Nora's cousin, Selma (Elissa Landi of The Sign of the Cross), is accused of murdering her philandering husband, Robert (Alan Marshall). The suspects include a nightclub owner named Dancer (Joseph Calleia); a dancer named Polly (Penny Singleton); her "brother," Phil (Paul Fix of The Bad Seed); Dr. Kammer (George Zucco), who thinks everyone is nutty: and David Graham (James Stewart), who has long carried a torch for Selma. Somewhat better than The Thin Man, this is arguably not a whole lot better than a typical mystery from a minor studio, but it is served up with relish, some very good acting, and has an effectively comic-dramatic ending. Singleton, who was billed as "Dorothy McNulty" back then, is vivid as Polly, and Jessie Ralph [David Copperfield] simply walks off with the movie as Nora's formidable Aunt Katherine, a harridan force of nature if ever there were one. Sam Levene is fine as Lt. Abrahms, the detective on the case. Asta has a bit more to do then he did in the first film.
Verdict: Nick Charles is no Perry Mason, but this is fun enough. ***.