[box cover]

Song of the Thin Man

The Complete Thin Man Collection

  • The Thin Man
  • After the Thin Man
  • Another Thin Man
  • Shadow of the Thin Man
  • The Thin Man Goes Home
  • Song of the Thin Man
  • Alias Nick and Nora
  • The last film in the Thin Man series, Song of the Thin Man (1947) finds Nick and Nora Charles on a fundraising cruise, gambling for charity and enjoying some fine jazz. Of course, the much-hated bandleader (Phillip Read) turns up dead. Considering this was the last franchise entry, it's surprisingly one of the most enjoyable Thin Man movies, and it boasts a stunning cast — playing the Charles' son Nicky, Jr. is a fresh-faced Dean Stockwell, then eleven years old; Keenan Wynn is a hip young clarinet player; and the fabulous Gloria Grahame is a femme fatale nightclub singer (although her songs were dubbed because Grahame couldn't hold a note). The plot is predictably complicated, with Nick interrogating a crowd of character-actor suspects, including the ship's owner (Bruce Cowling), who'd been fighting with the bandleader before his murder, the dead man's fiancee (Jayne Meadows), her disapproving father (Ralph Morgan), a talent agent who wanted repayment of a loan (Leon Ames, who'd played a similar role in the previous Thin Man picture), a gangster who also loaned the bandleader money (William Bishop) and a disgruntled musician who'd recently been fired (Don Taylor). This time, the director was Edward Buzzell, another MGM contract man who'd done a number of Marx Brothers films. Besides the expected snappy dialogue, this one features a fairly complicated and intriguing plot as well — although the now-routine gather-the-suspects ending is quite tired. There's also some fabulous modern-era jazz, and the series ends with Nick telling Nora that he's ready to retire. "You're through with crime?" she asks. "No," he says. "I'm going to bed!" thus ending one of the screen's most beloved, and longest lasting, pairings. Warner's DVD release of Song of the Thin Man, part of the seven-disc "Thin Man Collection," is not a remastered edition, but it's nonetheless clean, crisp and gorgeous — a very good transfer all the way around. Presented in the original Academy ratio (1.33:1), the black-and-white transfer is very sharp, with good, rich contrast. The monaural Dolby Digital audio (English, with subtitles in English, Spanish or French) is quite good as well. Vintage 1947 extras include the deeply sappy short "A Very Important Person" starring Dean Stockwell as a little boy who needs to find a "great man" to write about for an essay contest, Tex Avery's very funny "Slap Happy Lion" cartoon, and the theatrical trailer. Keep-case.
    —Dawn Taylor



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