For Reel

After the Thin Man (1936)
January 29, 2017, 3:13 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: W.S. Van Dyke
4 Stars
after-the-thin-manGiven an increased budget after the original film was a surprise hit, After the Thin Man both recycled many of the elements from its predecessor while taking the opportunity to explore the relationship between Nick and Nora Charles (William Powell and Myrna Loy) more deeply. If The Thin Man was occasionally bogged down by its mystery, this second film wisely maintains a serious interest in solving a murder but gives it more of an immediacy and relevancy to the Charleses. In exploring Nick’s relationships with hoodlums and Nora’s wealthy family history, After the Thin Man more deliberately invests itself in why exactly the Charleses bicker so much, and that the mystery comes from within Nora’s family adds fuel to their conversations about class and morality. Besides the new sure-footedness in establishing the relationship between the central duo, After the Thin Man is aided by a wonderful supporting cast—Jimmy Stewart, in particular, has comparatively little screentime, but the stakes of the drama he is involved in and his motivations within the narrative are always precise. If the original film is regarded as the classic of the bunch, the opening scene of this sequel—in which Nick and Nora share a romantic kiss, become interrupted by a station worker voyeur, and begin pouring drinks—succinctly reestablishes all of the groundwork that was laid and paves the way for what is ultimately a more satisfying comedy and mystery at every turn.

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