|Harry Davenport and Myrna Loy|
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. ***.