Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Thin Man (1934)

A Dated Comedy

- Some films have comedy that transcends generations, that will be funny until Earth's final hour (such as the Merry Melodies shorts or the Marx Brothers films); some other films however feature comedy that, while certainly funny for those living in the time it was released, lack risibility in future eras - 1934's The Thin Man is one of those films.

William Powell and Myrna Loy star as retired private eye Nick Charles and wife Nora, respectively, who get mixed up in a wacky "whodunit" case when an acquaintance goes missing after a woman is found murdered. Nominated for four Oscars and spawning 5 sequels and a short-lived television show, The Thin Man is often touted as a classic and must see whodunit comedy but my viewing proved it to be an utterly boring and painfully unfunny hour and a half of film.

Certainly not without its strong points - none of which have anything to do with comedy: the beauty and presence of Myrna Loy, the set-up to the mystery, the nice cinematography (by the great James Wong Howe no less), and a particular scene in a dark laboratory are the film's finer points - The Thin Man drags on too long with comedy that is not funny. I am sorry but a film needs more than cartoon-like silly drunks, one particular fat one who wants to call his mommy on New Year's Eve, and a handful of shots of a cowardly dog to be funny. Powell has neither the screen presence, comedic wit, nor plain likability to carry the film all by himself and The Thin Man ultimately gets a poor rating in my book.


CBC Rating: 5/10

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