Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Shadow of the Thin Man (1941)

                Nick and Nora Charles are back for their fourth Thin Man film Shadow of the Thin Man. The couple along with their son Nicky Jr. and Asta are living nicely in California.

            At the beginning of the film Nick is taking Nicky Jr. and Asta for a walk in the park near their apartment. The boys sit down so Nick can read a story but he does not want to read the little fairy tale book he has brought so he reads Nicky Jr. the horse races from the newspaper. Meanwhile up in the apartment, Nora and the maid are waiting for the boys to come home for lunch. Nora looks out the window to see her husband and son sitting on a bench apparently reading a book. The kid tells his father “Nick why don’t you put down the book and read the racing form” and Nick says to his son that he is getting more like his mother. Then he stops laughing and this occurs
Nick Charles: Nicky, something tells me that something important is happening somewhere and I think we should be there.
[cut to Nora with a cocktail shaker]
Estrellita: Ma'am, did he hear that or did he smell it?
Nora Charles: That's Mr. Charles, isn't it?
Estrellita: Yes'm.
Nora Charles: This is a cocktail, isn't it?
Estrellita: Yes'm.
Nora Charles: They'll get together.
            Nick and Nora decide to spend a nice day at the horse races. On their way across the Golden Gate Bridge they get pulled over because Nick was speeding. The police officer is so excited to see Nick Charles he tells them (after he wrote a ticket out) that he will escort them to the races since the races were starting soon.
Unfortunately the police officer drove very slowly. All the sudden a whole bunch of policemen on motorcycles and an ambulance rush around the Charles’ car. When they get to the racetrack they cannot even get out of their car before some officers come up to say hi to Nick and ask him how he get there so fast when they had just got word about the murder of a jockey. Nick obviously had no idea about the murder but his detective friend Lt. Abrams pulls him into the case.
            The case eventually leads them to a wrestling match (or bout as they say). Nora has, apparently, wanted to go to a bout and she gets very into it, she wraps her arms in a headlock around Nick without even realizing it!! Her new found wrestling moves will come in handy later on in the film.  
            Nora once again gets in on the action. One of the men involved has come to see Nick but he is not home. The man is harmless and really nervous. Nora lets him and tells the man that he can tell her what he wants from Nick and she will relay the message. But the man is being stubborn and only wants to talk to Nick. Nora pretends to call her husband by pulling out the phone cord and having a one sided conversation. The man believes her and he tells her what he had come to tell Nick.
            Nick goes to the racetrack to have a look where the jockey was murdered. He finds a gun in the shower drain. He hears a noise; someone is in the locker room. He points the gun at the intruder but it turns out to be Nora who tripped over a bench into a locker.
"Don't shook Nicky it's me!!"

            Shadow of the Thin Man is good, not as good as the first three but good. Unlike the murders in the first three which were ok the murder mystery case here was actually interesting with gambling and throwing games. The killer is probably not someone you would expect it to be with all the shady suspects that pop up throughout the film.
            A little trivia: Ava Gardner has an uncredited role in Shadow of a Thin Man as an extra. Try to spot her when watching the film.