Originally slated as a B-movie by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, The Thin Man was quickly completed in less than two weeks. The film then surprised the studio by becoming a box-office hit. I’d like to remind my readers that Prohibition was repealed on December 5th, 1933. The Thin Man, which features a tremendous amount of drinking, was released in the spring of 1934. A few audiences complained about the excess, but a thirsty country coming off a dry spell waved them off. Perhaps it was this new tolerance that kept the censors from applying their scissors to the innocent innuendo, often ad-libbed, found in the merry banter of a loving, married couple. The true fun ofThe Thin Man is that the main characters of Nick and Nora have such on-screen chemistry that they come across as intoxicating instead of intoxicated. The dialog provides the humor, not the alcohol. The grace of the performers, William Powell and Myrna Loy, made a statement the audience could rally behind. Smart, happy people could indulge and could still be smart, happy people. Now my theory might seem half-cocked. There’s a mountain of reviews about why The Thin Man was a good movie in 1934. But everyone agrees the movie has legs. You will find it just as clever and entertaining today was when it was released.
You might even be inclined to check out its six sequels:
After the Thin Man (1936)
Another Thin Man (1939)
Shadow of the Thin Man (1941)
The Thin Man Goes Home (1945)
Song of the Thin Man (1947)
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