For Reel

Another Thin Man (1939)
January 29, 2017, 3:19 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: W.S. Van Dyke
3.5 Stars
another-thin-manThe announcement that the Charleses were expecting at the end of After the Thin Man suggested that the lovable characters would be evolving—that is, one could hardly expect Nick (William Powell) to drunkenly stumble his way through another picture when he has a child to care for. Sure enough, the Nick Charles of Another Thin Man is more-or-less sober throughout the picture, and even has gotten to a place where he’ll deck a man who threatens his family. Just as Nick and Nora have settled down, so too does Another Thin Man deal with more of a serious mystery than those in the previous installments. While the series has always taken its murders seriously, the sense of danger was never quite so palpable as it is in this film—a dog is killed near the beginning of the picture, and a baby is threatened at the end! As Phil Church, the gangster and essential MacGuffin, Sheldon Leonard is terrifically menacing, selling his character’s quirk of threatening people based on his dreams to a brilliantly psychotic effect. One has to commend the series for taking the risks it did in adapting a more serious tone (certainly the result of the war, if not William Powell’s battles with cancer and the death of Jean Harlow in the years inbetween sequels), even if it is ultimately at the sacrifice of the charming, light-hearted banter that one expects of the series.

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