Monday, March 29, 2010

'The Thin Man' Open Thread


  1. The Thin Man is moved to number one on my Netflicks que and should arrive in a few days.

    Till then I guess its Firefly. It's fun that April is so excited about it, and Darrell has been a really good sport. I've seen two of the episodes: Train Job and Jaynestown. How crazy is that?

    I watched the first half of a masterpiece theater presentation of Jane Eyre. It is a two part series so I have to wait to see if Mr. Rochester will marry Jane. It is pretty well done. The second half will have to wait however, as we have lighter fair to break up the grimness of the life of Ms. Eyre.

  2. Well, I can't say I approve of watching Firefly out-of-order, but at least it won't mess with your head like jumping in randomly with Caprica or LOST!

    Funny. I think the universe is telling me to give Jane Eyre another shot. I didn't like it when I read it in high school (nor did I like the movie, with Joan Fontaine and Orson Welles), and I don't think I've picked it up since. But you are the third person to bring it up in the last few months, including my sister, who has decided it's her favorite book. She is convinced that it was a matter of my being too young when I read it, and I would enjoy it now. I'm thinking, if it was too dispiritingly dour and melodramatic when I was a teenage girl, why would I want to wade back into that gloom again now? On the other hand, I've come to believe that when something is dropped into your path repeatedly, it's good to pay attention. Maybe I'll split the difference, and watch this new version.

  3. I have seen a number of different versions. Here is the current Jane Eyre I have been watching.

    It has not been too grim, and Jane is a very fine person of remarkable strength and good character.

    My favorite has always been the George C. Scott version, but this one is pretty good!

  4. Woo-hoo! Guess what I got in the mail! (But I don't think I can watch it 'til tomorrow.)

  5. Hi, Nick. I don't know when I'm going to get to watch the show, but I do want to wish you a very happy, blessed, Easter.

  6. Well, I must admit I was skeptical about watching a movie from the thirties whose hero was a wealthy floozy who swigs down alcohol all day long, but I really did enjoy it.

    To start with, I had not realized The Thin Man was written by Dashiell Hammett, who is the author of one of my favorite detective stories, The Maltese Falcon. He is a capable story teller and his detectives are rather gritty, principled tough characters that I admire. In this case Nick Charles is as tough as any, but has had the misfortune of being married to a young woman who has come into a great deal of wealth, which means that any sleuthing Nick does is purely for the fun of it. His wife's interest in Nick's former life and desire to see the chops of a man so well known by a host of rough and unseemly characters she would never otherwise have come into contact with adds an impetus to get Nick back into the game. I really enjoyed the party with all the characters that Nick had ended up putting away for one crime or another, and they all have a very fine regard for the smart headed, tough nosed detective.

    It was fun to watch Nick try to avoid getting involved in a case that simply wouldn't go away, and to see him handle himself with confidence and humor. Myrna Loy was good as well as his wife Nora, and the end with Nick tossing Asta onto the upper bunk, where he covers over his eyes - it was good fun and a good story.

    Had you seen this before? As a youngster?

  7. I shan't address your remarks regarding Nora Charles until I've watched it again -- just in case I'm not remembering well enough! (I can't claim to have been a youngster when I saw it before, but it has to have been about 20 years ago. Oh, that's right. I was a youngster! Very, very youngster-y.)

    But if you're interested in a classic comedy with a female lead you can get really good and annoyed with, we could try It Happened One Night. Or, The Philadelphia Story (less screwball, more heady).

    Of course, we still have a lot of others we haven't gotten to. And I was wondering , how do you like the movie version of The Maltese Falcon, being a fan of the book? I think I remember the movie seeming kind of over-the-top, but I may have been too youngster-y, and I could certainly give it another try. (I haven't read the book. Maybe I should read the book first. Hmm.)

    There was something else I was going to tell you...

    Oh -- Don't be tempted by any of the "sequels" to The Thin Man -- Hammett had nothing to do with them, as I recall, and whichever one I saw was pretty disappointing.


  8. The Maltese Falcon was brought to film twice before Humphrey Bogart nailed it in the third effort. I do not believe it has been done again since. It definitely would be worth the watch, but I'm up next!

    What's going on over at April's? I get confused between Firefly and now SG, let alone LOST, and the nesting comment format doesn't help.

    I've been thinking about what would be my choice for a great movie that has not gotten much interest or has been forgotten... and I am thinking it will be....

  9. Finally! And I did enjoy watching it again, although memory is a fickle thing, isn't it. Like, I didn't remember there being so much detecting in between the quips and the banter.

    And having had what I thought I remembered confirmed, I must take exception to some of your remarks. Indeed, you have maligned an innocent floozy -- although that can't be right either, as I think Dorothy was the only female character besides Nora who wasn't a floozy to some degree --- but you know what I mean. Mrs. Nick Charles only drank like a fish in an endearing attempt to keep up with Mr. Nick Charles. And he certainly didn't seem to think that it was "the misfortune of being married to a young woman who has come into a great deal of wealth" he was suffering! (I did like the transition to Sober Nick when he decided he really needed to get involved the investigation -- but with the same ease of manner as when he was being Party Nick. I think I love William Powell. But wasn't Myrna Loy the perfect Thirties beauty, complete with that impossible silhouette!)

    I did love the playfulness between them, and an abundance of good lines only helps. But the mystery plot was decent, too -- I barely remembered any of the details, and pegged the wrong character as the villain. (Although there was, much like the tendency to be somewhat too liberal with their affections on the part of the female contingent, plenty of villainy spread around amongst the gentlemen!)

    But I must admit, as much as I love quips and banter (and I do so love quips and banter), it wasn't as hi-larious as I remember it striking me when I was so very, very young.

    So, Nicky, Darling, (you had to know I'd need to get that out of my system!) -- where next?

  10. Oh my, I sometimes use words I think I know the meaning of. Yikes, I was talking of Nick, and meant to mean that he was very light in his approach to life...I don't even know the word I was looking for...ditz...lacking weight or gravity...what would that be...a flop?

    Well, I see I am on the rocks again, and there is no getting off this time.

    How about a Hitchcock thriller with Cary Grant as an icy-cold leading man and the beautiful Ingrid Bergman as the woman he has been assigned to turn and then manage as an agent assigned to infiltrates a ruthless and dangerous group of former Nazis in South America? What could go wrong?

    You know you want to see... Notorious!

  11. Too funny -- it didn't even occur to me that you wouldn't refer to Nora as "the hero"! Lord, what a team. But I know what you mean -- there has to be a word for it, but I'm drawing a blank.

    Notorious sounds GREAT! And I've never seen it!

    You know, this is ridiculously therapeutic. Fun is good.

  12. Nick, I have a bad tendency to assume that people "get" when I'm kidding around -- not always so successful, even face to face -- you knew I wasn't seriously grumping, right?

  13. Yes, certainly. I doubt you were wounded to the core over my apparent mistreatment of Nora. And my mention of Nick having the misfortune of marrying what came to be a very wealthy woman was kind of teasing you as well. He certainly wasn't complaining, and yet it was life changing for him. I wonder if a bit of a struggle in life is not a good thing in life. The story was all about his return to detective work, which was his natural home. I rather like the fact that he did it even though he had no financial need to, much to his wife's great pleasure. She more than anyone desired to see the great champion race horse run again. Yes, it was a good show. And I actually spent very little time above speaking of Nora. She was bright, game, and very supportive, and yes the picture of thirties era beauty.

    I am delighted to learn that you have never seen Notorious! It is one of my favorite Hitchcock films. The Cary Grant character is a hard read - charming yet dangerously cold and hard. He struggles to play a deep game with everyone around him, perhaps even himself. As handler he is responsible to get her to work the case and direct her interaction with some rather hard characters. She is expendable and a throw away, a drinker and a notorious run around, useful perhaps but not the sort of girl worth risking anything for. It's an important mission, certainly he wouldn't let anything get in the way of its success.

    Alicia is willing to do the dirty work, who knows why, risking suffering... risking her life itself. And Devlin... what sort of a man is he, really?