Matinee Monday: The Thin Man


Last week, I tipped my hat to the kings of series movies, Mickey Rooney’s Andy Hardy series, with its 15 sequels. When we find a character(s) that we like, we want to see them again, and Hollywood is always ready to give us what we want, God bless ’em.

Today, I’d like to discuss one of my favorite series, The Thin Man movies. The first was from the Daschiell Hammett novel of the same name, and paired two popular actors, William Powell and Myrna Loy as Nick and Nora Charles. The book and movie pick up after the two are already a couple, so there is no romantic aspect to the story, so unlike many of our modern man/woman mysteries, there is no sexual tension to drive the plots.

Nick Charles is a hard-drinking retired private detective who retired when he married wealthy heiress Nora, and as you might guess, from a post-Prohibition story, they do plenty of drinking. But no matter that our hero is retired, he is pulled out of retirement to help a friend; Nora joins him in trying to get his friend cleared for murder, wise-cracking all the way. While there is no sexual tension between Nick and Nora, the screen chemistry between Powell and Loy is entirely believable, and the repartee is delightful.

The film was very popular, and spawned five more sequels between 1936-46. These movies were truly ‘matinee’ fodder, for I remember watching them as a young kid on the afternoon matinees that local TV stations would have. (This was before the creation of children’s programming outside of the Mickey Mouse Club.)

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