After the Thin Man
The appeal of the Thin Man movies isn't so much that they're good mysteries, although they are. Rather, the films' true charm can be found in the effortless, effervescent chemistry between stars William Powell and Myrna Loy. As married high-society gumshoes Nick and Nora Charles, Powell and Loy exchange witty, affectionate repartee with an adroit ability that never falters, whether they're attending a posh dinner party or getting caught up in a brawl. After the Thin Man (1936) the first of five sequels to the original 1934 sleeper hit picks up right where the first film left off. Arriving home in San Francisco on New Year's Eve, just days after cracking The Thin Man's Manhattan-set murder mystery, the Charleses (attended, as always, by their loyal terrier, Asta) are ready for a little R&R. But before you can say "cocktail shaker," Nora's distraught cousin Selma (Elissa Landi) calls them, begging for help: Her ne'er-do-well husband Robert (Alan Marshal) has disappeared, and she's beside herself; even the calming presence of her still-smitten ex, David (a young James Stewart), is no help. Naturally, the plot thickens quickly, and by the time Robert ends up dead, the suspect list includes shifty club owner Dancer (Joseph Calleia), his song-and-dance girl Polly (Penny Singleton), her shady brother Phil (Paul Fix), and even Selma herself. Nick's detective instincts kick in, and with a little help from his lovely wife and abrasive police Lieutenant Abrams (Sam Levene), he manages to ferret out the killer's identity
all with plenty of time for a drink or three. The plot based, like The Thin Man, on a story by master detective writer Dashiell Hammett offers enough twists and turns to keep the audience on its toes, while still allowing plenty of time for Nick and Nora to flirt and spar with each other. Their matching twin beds may be quaint and dated now, but their sophisticated banter and the obvious joy they take in each other's company is as timeless as a good detective yarn or a classic martini. Brought to DVD as part of Warner Home Video's seven-disc Thin Man Collection, After the Thin Man features a clean, full-frame black-and-white transfer, with monaural Dolby Digital audio tracks in both English and French (English, Spanish, and French subtitles are also available). Following their trend of making classic releases feel like an old-fashioned night at the movies, Warner has bundled the film with vintage short subjects like the comical "How to Be a Detective" and the cartoon "The Early Bird and the Worm." Other extras include the hour-long Lux Radio Theater version of After the Thin Man (with Loy and Powell reprising their roles), the theatrical trailer, and a radio promo from 1936 touting all of MGM's hit movie songs. Keep-case.
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