After the Thin Man

I posted yesterday in the body of the first film that I thought the series would get better as it went on.  I didn’t provide any examples to this assumption I made, because I already knew it to be true. That is because I had seen the second film before writing the entry for the first one. In fact I wanted to skip over that film and focus more on this one. But because I need to stretch out my writing topics as much as possible in order for me to get enough material to pull from, I decided to not be mean and write about each one in the series. But let it be known that this film is superior to the first one.

In the first film, the couple was living in this out of time wonder world where there was never any Great Depression and crimes can be solved by an intrepid dog. There was an infinite supply of booze, dresses and jewels that lent the story to be more a fantasy for the broke young rascal watching the film in the nickel theatre one afternoon. But this film seemed to interject some past in the characters’ lives and some struggle in their lives that is probably more relatable and less escapist. There was even a plot line involving one villain’s lack of money. Scandalous I know.

Nick and Nora Charles get back from their trip to New York City (where the last film took place) and want to just go to sleep in their epic San Fransisco house. However they walk into a surprise party full of people they do not know getting to know the Charles’ liquor cabinet. They narrowly escape the evil party but they cannot escape Nora’s relations. Forced to spend New Years’ Eve in the house of the most ancient of relations, there is one scene where Nick has a stirring conversation with a chorus of snores. But they have come there for a purpose: Nora’s cousin’s husband left her and she is worried where he might be. Marrying her for her money, this husband has escaped several times during their marriage, but the cousin still clings to him even when she knows a more respectable man (the young and super cute Jimmy Stewart) cares for her very much. The husband negotiates with the respectable man to stay gone for a tidy sum but he is killed before gets to reap the benefits. But who killed this man who seemed to have tons of enemies?

Nick and Nora investigate with ease that was apparent in the first film. All they need is a good drink, some shady suspects and Asta to tie up the mystery into one clean bow. But it seems to matter less in this film than in the first. I think it is because the stakes are higher for the couple than in the first one. Although Nick knew the murder victim in prequel, he was not related to him in any particular way. Not only is Nora blood related to the cousin, but she is also one of her closest confidantes. The desire to prove her innocence is more related to their well-being.

The camaraderie felt between Powell and Loy is beautiful to see on screen. Their relationship is one that I feel might truly be seen as an ideal marriage relationship. Do not be afraid of cracking a joke at your partner’s expense just as long as they can do it back at you. Oh and booze will help tremendously.


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