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The Thin Man movies


Ida
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I absolutely hate those movies --the plots are lame!  They are not funny and so predictable.  Plots are always about a husband who starts his day with a drink in his hand or already drunk, his wife is always richly dressed and her face is already made up and continuously befuddled and doesn't know what to do with her hands on camera and she doesn't know what to do with her movie husband either. They spend all their days drinking, smoking, visiting other rich people who are drinking.  You know who was funny?  Cary Grant.  OMG, "Bringing up Baby" is funny physical comedy.  It never gets old. Mr. Grant

moved on to serious  movies with plots of twists and turns.  Please excuse any typos.

 

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I like The Thin Man series.  I like Nick and Nora Charles and their sophisticated surroundings.  Their dog, Asta, is hilarious.  Myrna Loy wears gorgeous gowns and their apartment and the clubs they often visit are so opulent.  I think the plots and supporting characters are fun.  The best parts of The Thin Man however, is the chemistry and rapport between William Powell and Myrna Loy.

Many films of the golden age feature characters spending their days drinking and smoking with other people who are drinking and smoking.  While I think smoking is disgusting and probably wouldn't be knocking back highballs of straight liquor, it looks glamorous in the film and is all part of the setting. 

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Strangely, this series --especially the eponymous first installment-- is one of the very few classic titles which I often discover both the really young and the really uninformed movie-goers of today, are somehow vaguely familiar with. The smoking and the drinking of the Charles' is that famous.

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26 minutes ago, Sgt_Markoff said:

Strangely, this series --especially the eponymous first installment-- is one of the very few classic titles which I often discover both the really young and the really uninformed movie-goers of today, are somehow vaguely familiar with. The smoking and the drinking of the Charles' is that famous.

I think the dog might be more famous than the cocktails.

Screen-Shot-2019-01-01-at-6.44.51-PM.jpe

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I love the first three Thin Man movies. I have them on DVD and my main problem is not watching them too often, so that I get tired of them. 

Woody Van Dyke did such a good job with the casting and with getting James Wong Howe for the first movie. Howe set the stage for the ambience of all the movies. His black and white cinematography is beautiful.

Fans and critics alike Rave about Myrna Loy in these movies. And she is fantastic. But there are so many great performances for women in these movies.

For example, Jessie Ralph, Minna Gombell and Marjorie Main just the name three terrific character actresses.

And to see some early performances by people who would become big stars is always exciting when it's solid films  like these are.

That would be James Stewart, Cesar Romero, Maureen O'Sullivan and Asta just name a few.

You also see a debut for Sheldon Leonard who was to become very prominent  in TV production.

But finally you have to say it's William Powell who all of these films revolve around. For me he's the epitome of a 1930s male screen star. His Philo Vance was just the warm-up.

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4 minutes ago, Princess of Tap said:

That would be James Stewart, Cesar Romero, Maureen O'Sullivan and Asta just name a few.

You also see a debut for Sheldon Leonard who was to become very prominent  in TV production.

Ruth Hussey, Sam Levene and Donna Reed also make early career appearances in Thin Man movies.

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3 hours ago, speedracer5 said:

I like The Thin Man series.  I like Nick and Nora Charles and their sophisticated surroundings.  Their dog, Asta, is hilarious.  Myrna Loy wears gorgeous gowns and their apartment and the clubs they often visit are so opulent.  I think the plots and supporting characters are fun.  The best parts of The Thin Man however, is the chemistry and rapport between William Powell and Myrna Loy.

Many films of the golden age feature characters spending their days drinking and smoking with other people who are drinking and smoking.  While I think smoking is disgusting and probably wouldn't be knocking back highballs of straight liquor, it looks glamorous in the film and is all part of the setting. 

I first saw these films in college during the Vietnam war. It was the hippie era and it was anything but glamorous, sophisticated or refined. So there was something very seductive and fascinating about these movies to me.

 As far as the smoking and drinking goes, people were doing that still in the 1950s and 60s. I think what most people now or people who are so young that they weren't around then, don't realize is that not everybody was smoking and drinking.

There were always a few people who did that in excess, and others who only did it socially. While most people didn't do it at all.

However I think in what we used to call the Jet Set or the high-society set that was more prominent,

than it was with everyday, very boring, Midwestern, middle class , Methodist people like ourselves. LOL

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8 hours ago, Ida said:

I absolutely hate those movies --the plots are lame!  They are not funny and so predictable.  Plots are always about a husband who starts his day with a drink in his hand or already drunk, his wife is always richly dressed and her face is already made up and continuously befuddled and doesn't know what to do with her hands on camera and she doesn't know what to do with her movie husband either. They spend all their days drinking, smoking, visiting other rich people who are drinking.  You know who was funny?  Cary Grant.  OMG, "Bringing up Baby" is funny physical comedy.  It never gets old. Mr. Grant

moved on to serious  movies with plots of twists and turns.  Please excuse any typos.

 

If the actresses were not well-dressed and well- coiffed and well-made up,

How in the world would Adrian, Edith Head, Orry-Kelly, Max Factor or The Westmore Family ever make a living?

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Well, most of you know that can't take seriously ANYONE who'd admit they think BRINGING UP BABY is ANY kind of "comedy"  ;)

But, to each and all that, so let's not shame IDA away, but welcome her to the forum instead.  :)

Sepiatone

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I watched parts of some of these over the last couple of days. THE THIRD ONE (aka ANOTHER THIN MAN [1939]) always strikes me as one of the ODDEST Hollywood films of the time, so drastic is the swing between sentimentality (William Powell has a very surprising scene in bed, kissing his infant son's head and it's very tender, but surprising to see from a male star) with some really dark, heavy elements.

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2 minutes ago, calvinnme said:

Can anybody think of another film other than "After the Thin Man" where

(SPOILERS AHEAD! I MEAN IT!!!)

James Stewart is the villain, even if he is crazy?

He was typecast as the American everyman after MR. SMITH. But in the 50s, he did play more morally ambiguous characters under Anthony Mann and Alfred Hitchcock.

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6 hours ago, cigarjoe said:

I've come to love the last title Song of the Thin Man (1947) the best. I dig the jazz slang, and Noir actresses Gloria Grahame, Jayne Meadows, Marie Windsor, Noir and Neo Noir actors Keenan Wynn and Dean Stockwell.

Song of the Thin Man is my second favorite (after the initial film),  for all the reasons you give.  But hey, I'm a jazz cat and that film is all about jazz (the daddy-o slang is a hoot).    Add in noir actors like Grahame and Windsor (and yea,  even Janye Meadows,,, e.g. Murder My Sweet),  and of course Nick and Nora,  and what's not to love!

 

 

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Not sure, The Thin Man DVD set were probably the first "classic" movies we purchased.  Now we have hundreds.

My favorite is The Thin Man Goes Home.  Not as sophisticated as the others, but got Nick and Nora into another setting besides LA and NYC.  Song of the Thin Man has a lot going for it, but the jazz slang and the jazz music in it are off putting for me.  But it has a lot of classic actors giving good performances.

I would rank Shadow of the Thin Man as my second favorite, although it really is hard to rank them.

As for the drinking and smoking, it was the times as portrayed in movies.  I don't know about the books, but Nick Charles drinking was a key component to the movies.  Incidentally, in The Thin Man Goes Home, Nick is on the wagon since his father disapproves of his drinking.  He drinks apple  cider instead.

As a train buff I always note one discrepancy in The Thin Man ( I think).  The ending has Nick and Nora and the other couple going to LA on The Sunset Limited(Southern Pacific RR).  Entirely possible, but they were more likely to have taken The Super Chief (Santa Fe RR)The Sunset Limited would have required going from NYC to Chicago and then to New Orleans or from NYC to New Orleans.  Either would have been way out of the way.

The movies launched the TV series with Peter Lawford, Phyllis Kirk and Asta.  Not as good as the movies, but entertaining in its own right.  I have about half of the episodes recorded, but then they disappeared from broadcast channels.

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On 1/1/2019 at 2:38 PM, Ida said:

I absolutely hate those movies --the plots are lame!  They are not funny and so predictable.  Plots are always about a husband who starts his day with a drink in his hand or already drunk, his wife is always richly dressed and her face is already made up and continuously befuddled and doesn't know what to do with her hands on camera and she doesn't know what to do with her movie husband either. They spend all their days drinking, smoking, visiting other rich people who are drinking.  You know who was funny?  Cary Grant.  OMG, "Bringing up Baby" is funny physical comedy.  It never gets old. Mr. Grant

moved on to serious  movies with plots of twists and turns.  Please excuse any typos.

 

Incidentally Ida, don't get discouraged from posting your views and opinions.  Especially about entertainment.  You may get a lot of contrary opinions, but that is what keeps this site lively.

Welcome aboard!

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Well, I give Ida credit for coming out into the ring swinging!  

That said, I find the Thin Man series to be fun, funny and alluring in so many ways.  The leads are one of the most famous screen-pairings of the golden age, or perhaps any age.  It's all played for fun, including the drinking and Nick's "friends," many of whom he sent to prison.  Seriously, in what world would the criminals come back and go to a Christmas party of the guy who caught them?

On the topic of Bringing Up Baby?  I remember seeing it in a "film appreciation" course I took in college in the 70s.  I utterly hated it;  all this running around and shouting and improbably crazy antics. (yes, the word antics was created to describe screwball comedy.)  Though that was a different time and I was busy musing over Bergmann and the French new wave....

Over the years, I've mellowed on it.  The leads are stellar and everyone seems to be in on the gag....

 

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Plots are always about a husband who starts his day with a drink in his hand or already drunk, his wife is always richly dressed and her face is already made up and continuously befuddled and doesn't know what to do with her hands on camera and she doesn't know what to do with her movie husband either. They spend all their days drinking, smoking, visiting other rich people who are drinking. 

'The Thin Man' stories were based on pulp icon Dashiell Hammett's actual lifestyle at the time, when he was the toast of the continent; the nation's most famous and most sensational author. He had just written 'Red Harvest' and 'Maltese Falcon' and was being paid a kingly salary by Black Mask magazine to contribute more. He had come a long way from pounding a typewriter in a measly 5th-floor walkup with no heat. Why wouldn't he be indulging in a constant round of parties and frolicking? It was the Great Depression era. Hammett had been poor, had served in WWI and acquired the consumption (or whatever it was) that eventually killed him. And he was an alcoholic. But--always the author--he even made a new book out of this episode in his life.

Eh well no one can make you like a film if you don't like it.

One point though seems beyond matters of mere opinion: Myrna Loy's hands. Loy was a talented actress who was certainly under control of herself and her gestures in every scene and every movie. Not sure what rapid or distracted hand movements you noticed but you could probably put it down to her being unable to keep her paws off her dashing, rakish husband character played by dashing, rakish co-star William Powell. These two individuals were highly regarded and glamorous Hollywood stars of that entire era.

Just my ha'penny's worth. :D

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7 minutes ago, Sgt_Markoff said:

'The Thin Man' stories were based on pulp icon Dashiell Hammett's actual lifestyle at the time, when he was the toast of the continent; the nation's most famous and most sensational author. He had just written 'Red Harvest' and 'Maltese Falcon' and was being paid a kingly salary by Black Mask magazine to contribute more. He had come a long way from pounding a typewriter in a measly 5th-floor walkup with no heat. Why wouldn't he be indulging in a constant round of parties and frolicking? It was the Great Depression era. Hammett had been poor, had served in WWI and acquired the consumption (or whatever it was) that eventually killed him. And he was an alcoholic. But--always the author--he even made a new book out of this episode in his life.

Eh well no one can make you like a film if you don't like it.

One point though seems beyond matters of mere opinion: Myrna Loy's hands. Loy was a talented actress who was certainly under control of herself and her gestures in every scene and every movie. Not sure what rapid or distracted hand movements you noticed but you could probably put it down to her being unable to keep her paws off her dashing, rakish husband character played by dashing, rakish co-star William Powell. These two individuals were highly regarded and glamorous Hollywood stars of that entire era.

Just my ha'penny's worth. :D

IN THE 1990'S there were pieces of paper bound together by glue called books, and a publishing outfit by the name of BLACK LIZARD/VINTAGE CRIME INTERNATIONAL put out all the HAMMETTS and CHANDLERS and JIM THOMPSON novels they could (including a few by Thompson that they shouldn't.)

they were handsomely bound and i still have them all. have even reread a few.

I read THE MALTESE FALCON and loved it, then bought THE GLASS KEY and THE THIN MAN and waited 10 years before finally reading them.

as a novel, THE THIN MAN is slightly underwhelming (though not bad at all)- what likely sticks out to any fans of the movie reading the book is that NORA CHARLES is actually a very minor, and rather underwritten, character in the story. It's a 180 page book, she's a presence for maybe 1/8 of the proceedings, as I recall.

really, she's there as a bare outline for what the character later became- which is the world's most tolerant and perfect wife- sort of a fantasy for HAMMETT whose real life relationship with sentient ashtray LILLIAN HELLMAN with a lot more volatile

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2 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

IN THE 1990'S there were pieces of paper bound together by glue called books, and a publishing outfit by the name of BLACK LIZARD/VINTAGE CRIME INTERNATIONAL put out all the HAMMETTS and CHANDLERS and JIM THOMPSON novels they could (including a few by Thompson that they shouldn't.)

they were handsomely bound and i still have them all. have even reread a few.

I read THE MALTESE FALCON and loved it, then bought THE GLASS KEY and THE THIN MAN and waited 10 years before finally reading them.

as a novel, THE THIN MAN is slightly underwhelming (though not bad at all)- what likely sticks out to any fans of the movie reading the book is that NORA CHARLES is actually a very minor, and rather underwritten, character in the story. It's a 180 page book, she's a presence for maybe 1/8 of the proceedings, as I recall.

really, she's there as a bare outline for what the character later became- which is the world's most tolerant and perfect wife- sort of a fantasy for HAMMETT whose real life relationship with sentient ashtray LILLIAN HELLMAN with a lot more volatile

You may still be able to find some of these (or similar) books at Hamilton Books on the internet.  They have a method of selecting by publisher, which brings up some very interesting titles.  One caution, if you use their search program, the title or author has to be exact. These are remainder books, but some are pretty old.

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5 minutes ago, TheCid said:

You may still be able to find some of these (or similar) books at Hamilton Books on the internet.  They have a method of selecting by publisher, which brings up some very interesting titles.  One caution, if you use their search program, the title or author has to be exact. These are remainder books, but some are pretty old.

actually, one of the beauties about the publishing business in the 1990s was that they started making more expensive- but really durable "paperbacks"- where the jacket was thicker and tougher (and maybe not made out of paper?), so I still have almost all of my original copies in the BLACK LIZARD series which have held together quite nicely:

70970.jpg

(this is the copy I have)

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