Monday, February 21, 2011

The Thin Man Collection

Before this month is over I want to feature two stars and their best collaboration, The Thin Man series, who are basically the inspiration for this blog. Back in 2009 I wrote a blog about these two wonderful creatures who, despite being extremely talented both with and without one another in their films, never received an Oscar for any single performance they were in.

Nick you clever, sly one. You get 'em every time! Here one thinks they may be dealing with a a incompetent detective and frankly, a bit of a drunk, and then Wham! case solved and you're on your way back to the bar. I honestly thought you'd never quit solving crime and was sad to realize after Song of the Thin Man, you finally were.

Having watched these movies several times throughout my life, I have come to appreciate them even more. My love for Asta's tricks and Nick's and Nora's silly facial expressions evolved into a love for the quick, witty banter and the obvious on-screen chemistry of William Powell and Myrna Loy.

What's not to love?

The Thin Man (1934)

Reporter"Say listen, is he working on a case? "
Nora Charles
"Yes, he is. "
"What case? "
Nora Charles
"A case of scotch. Pitch in and help him."

After the Thin Man (1936)

Nick Charles
"You see, when it comes to words like that, an illiterate person-- "
Polly Byrnes
"Whaddaya mean "illiterate"? My father and mother were married right here in the city hall!"

Another Thin Man (1939)

Nora Charles"I got rid of all those reporters. "
Nick Charles
"What did you tell them? "
Nora Charles
"We're out of scotch. "
Nick Charles
"What a gruesome idea."

The Thin Man Goes Home (1945)
Nick Charles
"A couple of weeks on this cider and I'll be a new man."
Nora Charles
"I sort of like the old one. "
Nick Charles
"Why, darling, that's the nicest thing you've said to me since the time I got my head caught in that cuspidor at the Waldorf."

Did you know?

The characters of Nick and Nora are often thought to reflect the personalities of Hammett and his long-time lover, Lillian Hellman.

Because the "Thin Man" title was used for the subsequent movies, it's often mistaken that the term refers to Nick Charles himself; in fact it refers to Clyde Wynant, the mysterious and eccentric patriarch around whom the plot of Dashiell Hammet's book revolves.

The first Thin Man was shot in 16 days.

Myrna Loy's Thin Man salary was reportedly half of the $3,000 a week earned by Powell and she felt that if the studio publicized the two as a team, they should pay them accordingly. Loy held out and L.B. Mayer finally relented -- a record event in the history of a man well known for his threats and tricks to get his own way.

Audiences had trouble separating fact from fiction when it came to Powell and Loy's relationship.
The public was determined to have them married in private life as well. When the two stars showed up in San Francisco (where most of After the Thin Man was shot) at the St. Francis, the hotel management proudly showed "Mr. and Mrs. Powell" to their deluxe suite. This was an especially uncomfortable moment as Jean Harlow, who was engaged to Powell, was with them, and the couple had not made a public statement about their relationship. Harlow saved the day by insisting on sharing the suite with Loy while Powell took another room elsewhere.

Why I love them!

William Powell and Myrna Loy, such a wonderful combination. He was never afraid to act a fool and she was never afraid to call him out on it. Such a wonderful couple with obvious on screen magic, they did thirteen films together and Myrna had a cameo in The Senator Was Indiscreet.

Manhattan Melodrama (1934)

The Thin Man (1934)

Evelyn Prentice (1934)

The Great Ziegfeld (1936)

Libeled Lady (1936)

After the Thin Man (1936)

Double Wedding (1937)

Another Thin Man (1939)

I Love You Again (1940)

Love Crazy (1941)

Shadow of the Thin Man (1941)

The Thin Man Goes Home (1944)

Song of the Thin Man (1947)

The Senator Was Indiscreet (1947)

Oscar trivia:

William Powell was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor three times, for The Thin Man, My Man Godfrey, and Life with Father.

Myrna Loy was never nominated for an Academy Award for any single performance, however, in 1991 she received an Honorary Award for “Career Achievement”.


  1. I love these movies.

  2. this entry is a dream come true

  3. AWESOME POST Sarah! The Thin Man is my favorite film series of all time. And after reading your wonderful post I think I will be re-watching my Thin Man DVD set over the next few days.

  4. Awww, so nice to have people know and agree!