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a blog from Eli the Bearded

The Thin Man (1934)

Pithy review title: Nick and Nora's Infinite Cocktail Party

The Thin Man is a comdey/mystery based on the novel of the same name by Dashiell Hammett.

Nick Charles is a detective, newly married into Nora's money, and not so keen on the detective business any more. A reporter askes Nora if Nick is working on any cases and she replies "A case of scotch." Nick never met a drink he didn't like, and never has a reason not to drink. Nora is almost as bad.

Still, he does manage to get roped into a disappearance of a wealthy old friend (the title "Thin Man") whose secretary/mistress has been found murdered. It's a good thing he takes taxis everywhere because the case is driving him to drink more. At one point he decides to talk with all the suspects, so he has the police round them up and bring them to a party and force drinks into their hands.

The real point of the movie is not the mystery or the drinks, though. It's the witty repartee, mostly between Nick and his wife.

Nick Charles: Oh, it's all right, Joe. It's all right. It's my dog. And, uh, my wife. Nora Charles: Well you might have mentioned me first on the billing.
Lieutenant John Guild: You got a pistol permit? Nick Charles: No. Lieutenant John Guild: Ever heard of the Sullivan Act? Nora Charles: Oh, that's all right, we're married.
Nick Charles: I'm a hero. I was shot twice in the Tribune. Nora Charles: I read where you were shot five times in the tabloids. Nick Charles: It's not true. He didn't come anywhere near my tabloids.

Probably not the best film for a recovering alcoholic to watch, but otherwise a solid four martinis (shaken to a waltz) out of five.

The Thin Man at IMDB

Final thought: will probably not seek out any of the five sequels, but would watch them