[box cover]

The Thin Man Goes Home

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
  • Nick and Nora Charles take a trip to visit Nick's family and — whattaya know? — they find themselves wrestling with a murder. The penultimate "Thin Man" movie (there would be one more, 1947's Song of the Thin Man), The Thin Man Goes Home (1945) suffers from the loss of series director W.S. Van Dyke, who died the previous year. Writers Robert Riskin and Dwight Taylor have whisked little Nicky, Jr. off to the cornfield (which makes no sense at all from a finally-going-home-again-to-visit-family standpoint but does keep the tyke from getting underfoot during the sleuthing) and the feather-light story revolves both around the mystery and Nick's parents (Harry Davenport and Lucile Watson) loving disapproval of his detective lifestyle — you see, they had wanted him to follow his father's footsteps and become a doctor. After a long train ride and much family business that takes up the first third of the film, a man is shot right on the Charleses' front porch — which leads to the usual Nick-and-Nora interactions with suspicious possible suspects, including the victim's diva fiancée (Gloria De Haven), her wealthy father (Minor Watson), town nutcase Crazy Mary (Ann Revere), the local criminal element (Leon Ames), and an old friend of Nick's (Lloyd Corrigan). Made toward the end of World War II, the Charleses' trip to Nick's hometown features a few shots of sailors at the train station and a recently discharged soldier in the crowded passenger car (there's also a flimsy nod to military espionage at the film's end), but otherwise the war isn't addressed at all — it's as if their lives exist completely outside the concerns of the real world, and that's probably the way audiences liked it. Richard Thorpe was a solid MGM director who helmed a wide number of films, including Carbine Williams(1952), the swashbucklers Ivanhoe (1952) and The Prisoner of Zenda (1952), and several Tarzan titles. Thorpe had previously directed Powell and Loy in 1937's Double Wedding, and he made The Thin Man Goes Home a breezy bit of fluff that's enjoyable, if hardly remarkable. Warner's DVD release, part of the seven-disc "Thin Man Collection," is not a remastered edition, but given the age of the source-print, it's remarkably clean with a minimal amount of specks and scratches and excellent contrast. Presented in the original Academy ratio (1.33:1), the black-and-white transfer is very sharp. The monaural Dolby Digital audio (English, with subtitles in English, Spanish or French) is as clean as can be expected, given the limitations of the original audio. Vintage extras from 1944 include a very funny Robert Benchley short called "Why Daddy" with Benchley competing against a small boy on a radio quiz show; a Tex Avery cartoon, "Screwball Squirrel," and the theatrical trailer. Keep-case.
    —Dawn Taylor

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