After The Thin Man (1936)

Rating: ***
Review Date: 1/2/04
Cast: William Powell, Myrna Loy, James Stewart

The perpetually drunk Nick Charles (William Powell) and his impossibly charming wife Nora (beautiful Myrna Loy) haven't had a moment's peace since solving "The Thin Man" (1934) case in New York. Back home in San Francisco, trouble is brewing on Nora's side of the family with the disappearance of Nora's cousin's scumbag husband. Nick is persuaded to look for him, and later that evening he shows up dead. Half a dozen people could have pulled the trigger, and it's up to Nick to flush out the culprit.

You can definitely see a pattern forming with the "Thin Man" films, and while remaining true to the formula of the first film, "After The Thin Man" suffers from the inclusion of lame brained screwball humor, which seriously derails the narrative. Pretty much every scene with Asta (the family dog) is completely silly and unnecessary, making you wonder what the director was thinking. The rapid fire banter of Nick and Nora seems to sputter and the writing isn't as tight and clever as the first film. On the plus side, the story isn't quite as predictable as the original "Thin Man" (but the culprit is still fairly obvious) and the supporting cast (including a very young James Stewart) is fabulous. Definitely a good time for fans of classic detective films.