After the Thin Man

  • Directors: W S Van Dyke
  • Producers: Hunt Stromberg
  • Writers: Dashiell Hammett, Albert Hackett, Frances Goodrich
  • Genres: Comedy, Crime, Mystery, Romance
  • Actors: William Powell, Myrna Loy, James Stewart, Penny Singleton, Elissa Landi

Nick and Nora Charles return from vacation to their home in San Francisco on New Year’s Eve, where Nora’s stuffy family expect the couple to join them for a formal dinner. Nick is despised by Nora’s Aunt Katherine, as his immigrant heritage and experience as a “flat foot” are considered below Nora. The true reason for their invitation is that Nora’s cousin Selma’s ne’er-do-well husband Robert has been missing. Nick is coerced into a little quiet detective work for the family.

They easily find Robert at a Chinese nightclub, where he’s been conducting an affair with Polly, the star performer. Robert tries to extort money from Selma’s unrequited love, David Graham (James Stewart): $25,000 and Robert will leave Selma alone permanently. Unknown to Robert, Polly and the nightclub’s owner, Dancer, plan to grift the money and dispose of him. After being paid off, and returning home for some clothes, Robert is shot at the stroke of midnight. David finds Selma standing over Robert and hurriedly disposes of her gun. Despite this, the police determine that she’s the prime suspect, and her fragile mental state only strengthens the case. Selma insists that she never fired her gun, and Nick is now obliged to investigate and determine the true murderer.

As suspects pile up, schemes and double-crosses are found and two more murders occur, including Polly’s brutal brother. Lt. Abrams (Sam Levene, making his series debut) readily accepts Nick’s assistance. Nick follows a trail of clues that lead him to the apartment of a mysterious “Anderson”. As in the previous film, the true murderer is the least likely suspect, betrayed by a trivial slip-up during a final interrogation and denouement featuring all the suspects. The case solved, and once again traveling by train, Nora reveals to Nick something he hasn’t detected yet: they’re going to have a baby.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *