Saturday, January 8, 2011

After The Thin Man (1936)

“Come on, let's get something to eat. I'm thirsty.”

Nick and Nora Charles are back in their second film After The Thin Man. The film picks up right where The Thin Man left off when the couple comes home to California after their Christmas trip to New York City.
            As soon as Nick, Nora, and Asta step off the train they are bombarded by reporters asking them about the case they just solved. Even on their way home in their car Nick has some people he knows who are not the greatest coming up to him and welcoming him back home. Someone waves hello to Nora and Nick asks who they were and she tells him “Oh, you wouldn't know them, darling. They're respectable.”
            All Nick and Nora want to do is go home and sleep for days. Unfortunately when they open the door to their house it is completely full of people. Someone has decided to throw them a surprise party. It seems the Charleses cannot get a moments peace to relax. Adding to the chaos Nora’s Aunt Katherine calls inviting them to dinner. Nick is not too well liked by Nora’s aunt but she insists that he comes.
            At Nora’s aunt’s, they find out that Nora’s cousin Selma is worried about her husband; he has been missing for quite a few days. This is not the first time the husband has run off. Katherine just wants the whole thing hushed and solved quietly which is why she wanted Nick to come by. They meet David played by a very young James Stewart in one of his first films for MGM. David was once engaged to Selma and still loves her.
            As always comedy ensues when Nick Charles is on the case. All the suspects he comes across are silly and unintelligent in certain ways and Nick just plays along with them with snarky comments.
            Like The Thin Man there is no shortage of funny moments. Nora went to David’s house and somewhere down the line they were brought into jail. A police officer called Nick saying that there was a woman there claiming to be his wife. Jokingly he told the officer he had no idea who the woman was and to through her in a cell. Poor Nora was put into a cell with a whole bunch of women. When Nick comes to get her the warden tells him that Nora has apparently been doing a fan dance (which she has not it was most likely someone else) and he says “Really? She’s been holding out on me.”

Another really funny part is at the beginning of the film when Nick is sitting with some old men at Nora’s aunt’s house. All the old men have fallen asleep and are snoring so Nick entertains himself by responding to their snores with witty remarks.  
            This is probably the only film where James Stewart ever played a bad guy. His character David killed Selma’s husband out of hatred and so that the two could be together. Nick knows he is the murderer when he gives the only description of another murder victim. It is always fun to see an actor who is always cast as the good guy to see them play a bad guy.      

        Needing to get away again, the ending of the film sees the Charleses on a train bound for New York for a boat to Europe. Nick sees Nora is not really paying attention to him so he takes a look at what she is doing. Nora is knitting a baby boot and says to him “And you call yourself a detective.” Throughout the film Nora does not drink and she drops some hints here and there that Nick does not pick up on.
            After The Thin Man is as good as The Thin Man. The film and the characters pick up right where the first one left off without skipping a beat. The scenes where Nick and Nora get a few moments to themselves are the best because they are just constantly at each other but in a loving way and the dialogue in their scenes are always the best.