Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Jason goes to Noir City--Day 4

A double bill of the greatest comedy team in all of film noir--William Powell and Myrna Loy as Nick and Nora Charles.

Okay, confession time. Are you sitting down?
Good. Here goes...I had never seen any of the THIN MAN movies before last Monday night! Now I wanna see them all. Over and over again.

THE THIN MAN (1934): Nick (Powell) is a former detective, having married rich, playful Nora (Loy) and settled in to a life of luxury and following his one great passion--the perfect cocktail. After moving to California, they're back in New York on holiday, where it seems everyone knows Nick, the world's greatest detective. And he--despite his insistence on retirement--is drawn into a new case. An inventor has gone missing, his ex-wife is found murdered, and he's the suspect. Also, his daughter is an old friend of Nick's. So, mostly for the fun of it, Nick and Nora are on the case. Goofy hijinx, and a wonderfully goofy 'Now that I have you all around the dinner table, one of you is the murderer and I am going to find out who!' set-up for the ending. This was supposed to be a little B-picture, but was so irresistibly charming that it spawned 5 sequels (and a TV show. And apparently a reboot in the works? Or at least it was...and it was supposed to star Johnny Depp. Honestly, he's the only actor I could see pulling this off, and I still would rather watch all the sequels than see a remake.)

Then after the raffle (where I won a couple of gift certificates to Relic Vintage!) the late show started with a bonus Short: THE BIFFLE MURDER CASE (...let's just say the date is unknown. Probably 1930-something?) The great classic comedy pair of Biffle and Shooster are at their zany antics delivering a giant box to a mansion where the bored, listless wealthy residents are shocked to discover the patriarch's son dead with an arrow in his back! So shocked, they almost get up off the couch. Very funny, rapid-fire jokes with period references. Definitely worth multiple viewings.

AFTER THE THIN MAN (1936): THE THIN MAN ended with Nick and Nora on a train back to San Francisco, and this sequel picks it up from there. After celebrating Christmas solving one murder case (well, one case, with multiple murders) they come home for some rest to find a New Year's party going on in their mansion. In this adventure, we get to meet Nora's high society family, who don't care much for Nick's rougher edges. In particular, we find out that cousin Selma's husband Robert has gone missing. So sooner than you can complain that Nick never gets a chance to rest (a complaint I'm happy to share) he's on the case again. And this one features a very, very young (and spoiler alert: evil!) Jimmy Stewart! Wow!

Total Running Time: 233 minutes
My Total Minutes: 379,994

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