Thursday, January 3, 2008
B-Movie Detectives: Part 8
The first Thin Man movie was made in 1934, starring William Powell as Nick Charles, a retired private detective who's now married to the wealthy and beautiful Nora. Nora, of course, is played by the impossibly beautiful Myrna Loy.
Nick and Nora have, I think, an absolutely perfect relationship. They obviously simply enjoy one another's company; they're undeniably in love with each other; and (most importantly) they have a tendency to stumble over corpses on a regular basis.
Over the course of the six Thin Man films, they get into the habit of stumbling over two or three corpses per movie. Nick then ends up using his admirable detective skills to figure out whodunit.
William Powell brings a sense of both wit and intelligence to Nick Charles, who is just as much at home in the presence of crude street hoods as he is with the upper-class people his wife knows. But it's Myrna Loy as Nora who really makes these films shine. She's absolutely perfect in the role. In fact, I believe it is literally impossible for any man to watch the Thin Man movies and not fall madly in love with her.
The actual plots are pretty good as well, giving the Charles' a chance to rub shoulders with both common riff-raff and social elite until Nick is ready to gather all the suspects together and reveal who the real killer is. These films are yet another example of the good basic storytelling skills inherent in the genre.