Another Thin Man


Rating 4½

Directed by W S Van Dyke

Written by Frances Goodrich, Albert Hackett and Anita Loos (no credit), based on an original story by Dashiell Hammett

Starring William Powell, Myrna Loy, Virginia Grey, Otto Kruger, C Aubrey Smith, Sheldon Leonard, Abner Biberman, Muriel Hutchison, Don Costello, Tom Neal, Patric Knowles, Phyllis Gordon and Nat Pendleton

For the third instalment of the ‘Thin Man’ series, Nick and Nora Charles are back in New York City. They now have a baby boy called Nicky. They are summoned to spend the weekend at the house of Colonel MacFey (C Aubrey Smith) in Long Island. A former employee, Phil Church (Sheldon Leonard), who went to prison for ten years for dodgy business deals, allegedly undertaken on the instructions of the Colonel, has recently been released and has made threats against his life. MacFey dismisses the threats, but is then found murdered in his bed. The police target several suspects, including Nick, and he is reluctantly dragged into helping to solve the case.


‘Another Thin Man’ premiered in November 1939, three years after the second film. William Powell and Myrna Loy are once again cast in the lead roles, with the same director, producer and writers as the first two films. Anita Loos, although not credited, also contributed to the screenplay. She had been a hugely successful screenwriter during the silent era and is probably most famous for her book ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’, first published in 1928, which was later adapted as a stage musical, receiving its Broadway debut in 1949. The 1953 musical film version stars Marilyn Monroe.

The pattern established in the first two films is followed again here, although Nora, now a mother and referred to by Nick throughout as “Mummy”, is not seen drinking. Nick continues to drink, although he is no longer the perpetually drunk character introduced in the first film. The banter between the two, however, remains undiminished, if not quite as memorable. Although it is generally accepted that ‘After the Thin Man’ is the best of the five sequels and thereafter there was substantially diminished returns to be had from each successive film, I actually think ‘Another Thin Man’ more or less matches the quality of the second outing.

‘Another Thin Man’ was the eleventh highest grossing film at the box office in America in 1939.

Review posted 21 February 2009


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