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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

"The Thin Man" (1934)

Who'd have thought you could mash up the murder mystery detective story with the screwball comedy? Director W.S.Van Dyke pulled off this highwire act beautifully in this effervescent adaptation of Dashiell Hammett's last novel. To be sure, all the best ingredients are fully present in the source material. Nick and Nora Charles are the witty, wealthy, and stylish society couple who find themselves embroiled in a Manhattan whodunnit when the secretary of a mysterious scientist turns up dead and his daughter appeals to their crime fighting curiosity to find the killer (and her missing dad).  The fun is in the zippy execution as the red herrings, plot twists, and endless cocktails come at you as fast as the funny throwaway banter of the two leads, played by he incomparable pairing of William Powell and Myrna Loy. This is movie magic chemistry of the first order. It's refreshing to see a married couple so in love with each other; their teamwork is smart sexy fun. So popular, it spawned 5 (!) sequels. And let's not forget the scene stealing antics of their pet fox terrier sidekick, Asta. He's the perfect dollop of whimsy on the whole outing.

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