Thursday, January 13, 2011

Song of the Thin Man (1947)

Song of the Thin Man is the last film of The Thin Man series. By the time this film came out the series had lost its touch. Nick and Nora Charles were not entirely the carefree, boozy, witty characters we fell in love with in the first three films. Yes there are some elements of the old Nick and Nora the wit is still there although with less of the bite.
            Nick is once again drawn into a case he had no intention of ever getting involved in. The case is literally brought to his door step by two people he and Nora knew when they need help to clear their names and help them solve the murder. The case involves musicians to reflect the jazz scene of the time.

            The whole case is pretty blah I had it figured out the first time is saw the character. I was getting so frustrated with how the film was trying to appeal to a younger and newer audience by using slang from the time period (I swear if I ever hear the word “dame” again in a film). Even Nick and Nora were like “huh” with much of the slang. Nora attempted to use some of the slang being thrown around but with no such luck in getting it correct.

            Myrna Loy once again was my favorite part of the film. In one scene they go to visit a suspect who has been put in a rest home. The suspect Buddy Hollis played in a jazz band and knew the man who was murdered. He was driven mad by someone after the murder had occurred. When Nick, Nora, and their musician friend, Clinker, visit Buddy he is fixated on Nora. She realizes that she must remind him of his girlfriend who used to come visit him. Nora decides to use this to get information even though she has been advised not to since Buddy becomes violent. She feels so bad for Buddy that she slips away from Nick and Clinker and sneaks into the home to talk to him. She lies to Buddy telling him she and his girlfriend have started a new act together and needs some information. Buddy realizes that Nora is not in an act with his girlfriend and starts to get violent. He pulls out a gun aiming it at Nora but fortunately he cannot see straight. Nick, who was in the home at the front looking for Nora since he knew she was there, comes rushing in. Nora is fine she jumped to the floor before the shot went off.
            In another scene, Nora gets up because Nick wakes her up as he gets dressed at four in the morning. She thinks it is the morning and when she opens the blinds to see it dark she lies back down on a chair but insists on following Nick wherever he goes. She does but falls asleep in a chair haha. She even took off her shoes!

            From watching this film you get the feeling of tiredness of the murder stories and how they eventually work themselves out. It seems like someone knew The Thin Man Goes Home was definitely not good for the series to go out on so six years later they decided to properly end it. The Thin Man started out in the ‘30s as a form of escapism during the Depression: they were funny, charming, and glamorous. By the fifth one the series was showing its age and the sign of the changing times; Nora’s glamour was fading (but never died, Myrna Loy still looked wonderful. The writing got a bit sexist towards Nora but that was the times), the drinking was getting more refined and sophisticated when it was so much fun to watch Nick and Nora booze around town. It seems with the introduction of Nicky Jr. he slowed the Charleses down and sobered them up… in some ways not all, they still enjoyed themselves. After World War II no one wanted to really see a rich couple who could afford anything they wanted, viewers to see real people on the screen people who reflected the hard times during and after the War. The comedy that had worked in the ‘30s was no longer working in the ‘40s.

            It was sad to watch the last Thin Man. Knowing there was no more Thin Man and no more Nick and Nora Charles was a little sad but with the way The Thin Man Goes Home and Song of the Thin Man went over it was definitely time for the series to end. I had such a fabulous time getting to know Nick and Nora Charles. Their relationship was a joy to see especially for the time periods in which they were made in. They truly loved each other and you can tell they would be lost without each other. Myrna Loy and William Powell were the best screen couple ever to grace film. We will never see a screen couple like them ever again because no actor is slick and charming like William Powell and no actress is classy and sophisticated and who has a good sense of humor all at the same time like Myrna Loy. You can see that they were good friends on and off the set. They had that great rhythm which made Nick and Nora’s bantering and wit so enjoyable and so pleasant to watch over and over again.