Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

THE THIN MAN GOES HOME

Harry Davenport and Myrna Loy
THE THIN MAN GOES HOME (1945). Director: Richard Thorpe.

Nick Charles (William Powell), his wife Nora (Myrna Loy), and their little dog Asta (Nick Jr. is away at school) travel to Nick's hometown of Sycamore Springs for his unspecified birthday (Powell was 53 at the time). Nick has always had a difficult relationship with his father, Bertram (Harry Davenport), because he didn't become a doctor like his father did, and Nick aches for his approval. But his mother (Lucile Watson) is a peach. Nick gets to prove his skill at detecting when a dead man practically shows up on the Charles' doorstep. Bertram can't believe that one of his old friends might be the killer ... Powell and Loy are excellent, as usual -- Loy is especially notable in this entry -- and the supporting cast, including Davenport [Son of Fury] and Watson (cast against type, like Fay Holden in the Andy Hardy films, as a small-town housewife), could not be bettered. Special mention must go to Anne Revere [Body and Soul], who plays "Crazy Mary," the town's pathetic loony; Anita Sharp-Bolster as  the hilariously weird maid, Hilda; and Donald Meek as Willie Crump, who sells paintings for a living -- the plot revolves around a painting of a windmill that Nora buys for her husband's birthday. Other suspects and persons of interest are well played by Leon Ames, Donald MacBride, Irving Bacon, Morris Ankrum, Helen Vinson, Minor Watson, Lloyd Corrigan, and Gloria DeHaven as a breathlessly pretentious heiress. One very cute bit has Nick and Nora leaving Asta with the coat check girl as if he were a hat, but the funniest scene has Nora unexpectedly doing a wild, zippy dance with a sailor. This was the next to last Thin Man movie -- this was followed by the disappointing Song of the Thin Man.

Verdict: Very satisfying and amusing Thin Man movie. ***.


3 comments:

Gary R. said...

Fun entry in the series, though it's pretty easy to figure out which character will be the guilty party.

angelman66 said...

What an amazing repertory company they had at MGM, all those great actors and stars playing all sorts of roles in support of one another in film after film. They must have had a ball doing them!! I know Loy and Powell always looked like they were having a blast, in every movie they made, together or apart....

William said...

Gary, you're right that the identity of the killer sort of jumps out at you, maybe along 'Least likely suspect" lines, or something about the actor's performance.

Chris, I imagine Loy and Powell enjoyed working together immensely, they did it so often, and not just in the Thin Man series! Great cast -- you're right!