Another Thin Man (1939)

“You can laugh if you want to — but I don’t laugh at my dreams!”

Synopsis:
Socialites Nick and Nora Charles (William Powell and Myrna Loy) travel with their infant son (William A. Poulsen) to Long Island, where Nick — a former detective — quickly finds himself trying to determine who killed the father (C. Aubrey Smith) of a beautiful young heiress (Virginia Grey).

Genres:

Review:
The enormous success of W.S. Van Dyke’s screwball murder mystery The Thin Man (1934) spawned a near cottage industry of sequels and spin-offs — including this third entry in the feature-length series (the only additional title included in Guide For the Film Fanatic). The formula had by now been set: Nick is reluctantly drawn into helping to solve a murder mystery (thanks in part to his wife’s urging), and eventually pulls together a group of suspects, at which point he cleverly outs the culprit. Unfortunately, while fans will surely enjoy getting to see more of the Charles’s incomparably witty banter together, Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett’s script — despite being based on another story by Dashiell Hammett — doesn’t distinguish itself as particularly noteworthy in any way, and never manages to approach the brilliance of the original. (Maybe what’s missing is all the alcohol! As new parents, Nick and Nora’s lifestyle has become fairly tame…)

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • The refreshingly lighthearted “playing with baby” scene
  • The most unusual dance scene at the West Indies club

Must See?
No; while it’s an enjoyable enough way to pass the time, this one is only must-see for diehard Nick-and-Nora fans.

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One Response to “Another Thin Man (1939)”

  1. In total agreement. Not a must.

    Once you get to this third installment, the luster of what preceded seems to begin fading. Overall, this isn’t a bad film (and it has nice supporting turns by Smith, Grey, Tom Neal and Ruth Hussey). It just has the air of cashing in (and, to a slight extent, Powell and Loy seem to know this).

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