The Thin Man is a 1934 film, directed by WS Van Dyke, based on the detective book by Dashiell Hammett by the same name. The movie is centred around Nick Charles, played by William Powell, a retired private detective and his wife, Nora, played by Myrna Loy. Nick is pushed back into a case as a private detective after the disappearance of Clyde Wynant (Edward Ellis), an old client, after Clyde’s daughter, Dorothy Wynant (Maureen O’Sullivan) speaks to him. Whilst the story is a murder mystery, it is also a comedy and it shows up at number 32 of the AFI’s 100 Years, 100 Laughs. A lot of the laughs derive from the relationship between husband and wife.
As with many movies in this era, the director had to fight for the the people he wanted to be cast. Powell was seen as too old for the role, and Myrna Loy had been typecast as a vamp for many years. In the end, this casting was perfect, and made the film as good as it is.
In 1934 the film was an immediate success, attributed to the chemistry between Powell and Loy, and the fast paced excitement and humour. The film was such a success that it spawned five sequels – After the Thin Man, Another Thin Man, Shadow of the Thin Man, The Thin Man Goes Home and Song of the Thin Man.
I really enjoyed the movie, the laughs weren’t a mile a minute, but the combination between comedy and murder mystery made it a fun movie to watch.
There was buzz for several years about a potential remake, starring Johnny Depp, however there has been no development in a while. I hope that if there is a remake, it’s not a Johnny Depp one. I cannot see him as William Powell.