I have had netflix since 2006. It is hard for me to admit this, but my queue is a reflection of me. In it I have past obsessions (like an infinite amount of Ramones documentaries and Henry Rollins stand up), films that are extremely long (I am looking at you Lawrence of Arabia), guilty pleasures, and films that I want to get around to but always find an excuse to not see. The Thin Man series is a good example of the last category. This series has been on my queue since 2006. I had heard that the series was a good example of a bantering language that I wanted to replicate in one of my past screenplays. Well by the time I clicked add to queue, the screenplay went out the door for reasons that I shall not discuss here and the The Thin Man series has been stuck in the abyss that is the middle of my queue for the past six years. I am sure that anyone who has a netflix queue (at least one that still consists of physical media, but even when I had my streaming queue, I fell into this trap) knows that movies you add to the list that you have a burning desire to see automatically go to the top of the list over the movies that you know you should watch, but just not now. Maybe it was because the series reminded me of my past follies or maybe because it was a series that I thought might be hard to conquer in individual sittings or maybe because I was waiting on becoming a millionaire (which is going to happen any day now…) so I could buy the whole series on amazon and watch it in one booze soaked afternoon. What ever the case, it has taken me this long to watch the first entry in the series. I should have watched these films in 2006…
In 2006, I was just a freshman in college discovering for the first time the joys of cinema. I was green. I was silly. And I would have loved this film then… This film would have blown my mind in that year, but now I am so used to banter, to detective films and to classic studio films that this film sort of washed over me as a pleasant but bland film. This is to no fault of the movie but rather to the fault of where my head is now. My sensibilities have changed and I am more experienced in my movie watching, therefore this type of film does not blow my mind in the way it might have six years ago… It is kind of sad.
Do not get me wrong, this film is not bad. It is just fluffy. Myrna Loy and William Powell are what saves this film from being just another detective flick to being something unique. Their chemistry on-screen is impeccable. I love watching them rib each other and make love to each other through drinks and witty banter. However the focus is so much on them and their relationship with their dog, that the mystery of the flick gets lost. When William Powell’s character Nick Charles solves the mystery he seems to just stumble upon it instead of actually using his reasoning. Sherlock Holmes he is not. There are also a few instances that I wince at because of the outdated gender roles, but for the most part Loy and Powell seem to be on the same playing level. She brings the money and the respectability to the relationship, he brings the adventure and the seediness to it. The couple needs both in order to survive the film and their keep their relationship going.
I am glad I saw this film. The sets were great, the costumes were dazzling and I cannot say how much I loved the dialogue. I even liked the silly prop that was the dog, Asta. I have a feeling that the films will improve and I will find an affection for them deep down in my cold dark heat. I will be talking about the rest of the films in the series soon as they are all proudly at the top of my queue.