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Egregious Error on This Week's The Essentials The Thin Man (1934) Article


lydecker
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Stuff like this makes me crazy!  Quote the opening sentence on The Essentials article about "The Thin Man:" "New York City residents Nick and Nora Charles are vacationing in California where Nick previously lived." Hello?

 

Gee, one of the THE most famous films ever and TCM can not get this right??  As we all know, Nick and Nora are California residents visiting in New York City. Could TCM please have people who have a clue (and some regard for accuracy) write these things?

 

 

Lydecker

 

 

 

 

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Stuff like this makes me crazy!  Quote the opening sentence on The Essentials article about "The Thin Man:" "New York City residents Nick and Nora Charles are vacationing in California where Nick previously lived." Hello?

 

Gee, one of the THE most famous films ever and TCM can not get this right??  As we all know, Nick and Nora are California residents visiting in New York City. Could TCM please have people who have a clue (and some regard for accuracy) write these things?

 

 

Lydecker

Are you surprised? I am not.

 

Hope you're watching today's lineup. The more and more I see of Mr. William Powell, the more I feel inclined to put him on the same pedestal as Cary Grant. I wonder if his pronunciation of 'a' was deliberate or if his accent was affected?

 

I bet Carole Lombard was sorry to have left him for that block of wood.

 

What a man......................... :wub:

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Stuff like this makes me crazy!  Quote the opening sentence on The Essentials article about "The Thin Man:" "New York City residents Nick and Nora Charles are vacationing in California where Nick previously lived." Hello?

 

Gee, one of the THE most famous films ever and TCM can not get this right??  As we all know, Nick and Nora are California residents visiting in New York City. Could TCM please have people who have a clue (and some regard for accuracy) write these things?

 

 

Lydecker

Yeah, I understand your frustration over the write-up, but then again, aren't Nick and Nora native New Yorkers?  Of the 6 Thin Man movies, I think 4 of them took place in New York and 2 in San Francisco (or was it 5 and 1?).  Although, you could say Nora was possibly a native Californian with her family living in San Francisco, and a few of the films based in New York had many characters Nick had a hand in "sending up the river" not realizing that there really was a "Mrs. Charles".  Then again, TCM may have gone by what Dashiel Hammett actually wrote in his book on which the series is based.

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The more and more I see of Mr. William Powell, the more I feel inclined to put him on the same pedestal as Cary Grant. I wonder if his pronunciation of 'a' was deliberate or if his accent was affected?

 

 

If the pronuncuation was deiberate wouldn't that mean that it was affected, by the definition of those two words?

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Yeah, I understand your frustration over the write-up, but then again, aren't Nick and Nora native New Yorkers? Of the 6 Thin Man movies, I think 4 of them took place in New York and 2 in San Francisco (or was it 5 and 1?). Although, you could say Nora was possibly a native Californian with her family living in San Francisco, and a few of the films based in New York had many characters Nick had a hand in "sending up the river" not realizing that there really was a "Mrs. Charles". Then again, TCM may have gone by what Dashiel Hammett actually wrote in his book on which the series is based.

 

They seem to move as the franchise goes on.  The original films sets things up as Nick having moved from NY to San Francisco four years prior, upon marrying Nora, or at least upon her father dying.  (Then the second film starts referencing their engagement six years ago, but I chalk that up to forgetting that even though that script was written two years after the first one, it is actually set only a few days later.)  

 

In the second film, they're arriving back home in SF (they have that house with the great view).  All Nora's family lives there.  Nick runs into people he'd sent up the river there, just as he does in NY.  So he has to have worked as a detective in both cities (but in the first film, Nora keeps egging him on to take the case partly because she's never seen him work as a detective before).  It's never clear where he met Nora, but here we learn they hung out with her cousin Selma and Selma's then-fiancé David while engaged and that would be in SF.  In the first film (in NY), she seems to be meeting his friends for the first time, but the same is true in this one back home - although here at least one knows who she is.

 

In the third, they're on vacation in NY - staying in a hotel in the city and at Col. MacFay's house on Long Island.  He's the former partner of her father's, who manages all the companies she inherited.  That would seem to indicate those companies based in NY (and thus that her father, and by extension she, had lived in NY), but, again, in the second film we establish her father as having lived in SF.

 

In the fourth, they're back in San Francisco, but not in the same house.  While apartment and hotel sets can look alike, they seem to be set up in an apartment -- instead of ordering room service and dealing with hotel employees as they had been in hotel episodes, they have their maid cooking for them in the kitchen.  But when asked for his address by the cop giving him a speeding ticket, Nick says "We're staying at the [something] Hotel."  On the whole, though, it seems they still live in SF.

 

In the fifth, they go on vacation to visit Nick's parents in his hometown, the fictional Sycamore Springs (an upbringing that completely contradicts the book, but that's another issue), which is within a few hours' train ride from home ... but where is home?  Sycamore Springs is East Coast, and Nora references Dr. Charles never coming to visit them "in New York."  So it seems they have moved to NY by this point.

 

And, indeed, in the sixth and final film, they're at home (in an apartment) - but in NY, rather than SF.

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Yeah, I understand your frustration over the write-up, but then again, aren't Nick and Nora native New Yorkers?  Of the 6 Thin Man movies, I think 4 of them took place in New York and 2 in San Francisco (or was it 5 and 1?).  Although, you could say Nora was possibly a native Californian with her family living in San Francisco, and a few of the films based in New York had many characters Nick had a hand in "sending up the river" not realizing that there really was a "Mrs. Charles".  Then again, TCM may have gone by what Dashiel Hammett actually wrote in his book on which the series is based.

My problem is that the first sentence in an Essentials article about a very famous film is completely inaccurate. It is totally immaterial whether Nick or Nora ever lived in NYC before or whether other films in the series take place in New York. If you've seen this movie once or if you have seen it 500 times, it is made very clear that Nick and Nora are visiting from California not the other way around as the sentence states. (This is perhaps why they are living in a hotel??!!)  An error like this is the equivalent of writing an article about "Casablanca" and saying that Ilsa Lund and Victor Lazlo are in Lisbon, trying to get to Casablanca.  It's just wrong to have such a glaring error in an article on the TCM website about an "Essential," particularly one as well known as "The Thin Man." TCM presents itself as an authority on classic films  --  it might be nice to make sure your writers get the facts straight in the FIRST SENTENCE of an article.  

 

Lydecker

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And Ben just incorrectly stated the premise of I Love You Again in his introduction, but I agree that Thin Man error is particularly glaring and inexcusable.  They're in a hotel, there are multiple references to him having been in California for four years, going back to California, etc. and the film ends to the tune of "California, Here I Come." 

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And Ben just incorrectly stated the premise of I Love You Again in his introduction, but I agree that Thin Man error is particularly glaring and inexcusable.  They're in a hotel, there are multiple references to him having been in California for four years, going back to California, etc. and the film ends to the tune of "California, Here I Come." 

 

Yea,  the ending with the tune California, Here I Come,  does kind of sink the duck.  

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I believe the error was likely a typographical error of transposition of California and NYC.

 

I love the series very much and play it often as background while I am busy with other things.

 

It was my impression that she was native to California and he was native to NYC. How they met and courted is open to speculation but I like very much that it is obvious that at the times when they were together prior to marriage that he spent his time with her exclusively which is why she had never seen him work. I believe that he may have moved to California upon their marriage and that her father passed away before he became established as a detective there which is why he gave up detecting.

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My problem is that the first sentence in an Essentials article about a very famous film is completely inaccurate. It is totally immaterial whether Nick or Nora ever lived in NYC before or whether other films in the series take place in New York. If you've seen this movie once or if you have seen it 500 times, it is made very clear that Nick and Nora are visiting from California not the other way around as the sentence states. (This is perhaps why they are living in a hotel??!!)  An error like this is the equivalent of writing an article about "Casablanca" and saying that Ilsa Lund and Victor Lazlo are in Lisbon, trying to get to Casablanca.  It's just wrong to have such a glaring error in an article on the TCM website about an "Essential," particularly one as well known as "The Thin Man." TCM presents itself as an authority on classic films  --  it might be nice to make sure your writers get the facts straight in the FIRST SENTENCE of an article.  

 

Lydecker

You are correct. I don't put much stock in the intros and outros, however. Tonight's obsession by RO with HOW VERY MUCH OLDER Mr. Powell was than his leading ladies in his later films was making my head spin. Other times, some interesting trivia is imparted.

 

I'm curious about Crossroads and why it was so admired. I found it tedious and further justification of the talent of Hedy Lamarr, or the lack thereof. Yes, she was pretty but she was not Carole Lombard lightning in a bottle pretty. She was more along the line of Vivien Leigh pretty, another one note wonder.

 

I'm also sorry they saw fit to dye not only Bill's hair but his eyebrows as well. Not a picture I would ever watch again.

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You are correct. I don't put much stock in the intros and outros, however. Tonight's obsession by RO with HOW VERY MUCH OLDER Mr. Powell was than his leading ladies in his later films was making my head spin. Other times, some interesting trivia is imparted.

 

I'm curious about Crossroads and why it was so admired. I found it tedious and further justification of the talent of Hedy Lamarr, or the lack thereof. Yes, she was pretty but she was not Carole Lombard lightning in a bottle pretty. She was more along the line of Vivien Leigh pretty, another one note wonder.

 

I'm also sorry they saw fit to dye not only Bill's hair but his eyebrows as well. Not a picture I would ever watch again.

 

Agree with you about Crossroads and Lamarr.   I'm glad I saw the film but once is enough (especially once one knows how it ends).

 

The part of the wife was a weak part as written so Lamarr didn't have to do much but look nice.    It would have been a waste to cast a first rate actress in such a weak part.     I also felt the role of the professer was miscast.   But that is because I have seen him play a similar role in comedies.   

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You are correct. I don't put much stock in the intros and outros, however. Tonight's obsession by RO with HOW VERY MUCH OLDER Mr. Powell was than his leading ladies in his later films was making my head spin. Other times, some interesting trivia is imparted.

 

I'm curious about Crossroads and why it was so admired. I found it tedious and further justification of the talent of Hedy Lamarr, or the lack thereof. Yes, she was pretty but she was not Carole Lombard lightning in a bottle pretty. She was more along the line of Vivien Leigh pretty, another one note wonder.

 

I'm also sorry they saw fit to dye not only Bill's hair but his eyebrows as well. Not a picture I would ever watch again.

 

Yet in all of that about the age differences, it wasn't thought to mention that Powell was married to Diana Lynn who was 27 years his junior.

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If the pronuncuation was deiberate wouldn't that mean that it was affected, by the definition of those two words?

 

 

No.

 

That was a rhetorical question, which means an answer was not required.

By definition if the pronunciation is deliberate, the speech pattern is affected.

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Yet in all of that about the age differences, it wasn't thought to mention that Powell was married to Diana Lynn who was 27 years his junior.

 

Not to be sarcastic, but it's probably best that they didn't say that William Powell was married to Diana Lynn, since he was actually married to Diana Lewis for the last 44 years of his life.  You're right about the age difference between Powell and Lewis. 

 

(Diana Lynn had memorable roles in THE MIRACLE OF MORGAN'S CREEK, as Betty Hutton's younger sister, and in MY FRIEND IRMA, as the title character's best friend.)

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  • 2 months later...

Not to be sarcastic, but it's probably best that they didn't say that William Powell was married to Diana Lynn, since he was actually married to Diana Lewis for the last 44 years of his life.  You're right about the age difference between Powell and Lewis. 

 

No, you're absolutely right - I did screw up. Yes, I looked up the bio of Diana Lewis to confirm the age difference, but somehow in typing it went from "Lewis" to "Lynn" and I should be corrected. Either that, or hired to prepare cue cards for TCM hosts. ;) Thanks (belatedly) for the catch.

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