Thursday, May 15, 2014
Nick and Nora!
The Thin Man is one of those movies that I've never been able to resist, and when I put it in, you can almost guarantee that I'm going to keep it on a loop for the next 24 hours. Most Thin Man fans will tell you that you don't watch any of the Nick and Nora movies for the plot. They all have similar story lines, Nick (a dashing reluctant private eye) solves a difficult case with the aid of his uber witty and wealthy wife, Nora and faithful pup, Asta.
You watch The Thin Man films for Myrna Loy and William Powell. The two of them were positively perfect for each other on screen. They were so effective at enthralling audiences, that the studio capitlized and paired the two actors for a total of 14 films (6 portraying Nick and Nora Charles).
They made marriage look like fun. They drank together, embraced each other's faults, trusted one another and genuinely enjoyed being together. My favorite scene from the first Thin Man is when the two of them are sitting after opening presents on Christmas morning. Nora sits in her huge fur coat and watches her goofy husband use his pellet gun to pop balloons off the Christmas tree. He starts with simple straight shooting but quickly builds until he's shooting between slipper-ed feet and over the shoulder. You can see that Nora knows this isn't going to end well, but she is obviously amused that her husband is enjoying his present. The inevitable happens and Nick breaks a window. He immediately drops the pellet gun and curls into a fetal position pretending to be asleep like a 6 year old boy. It's adorable. The whole scene is simple and natural. You can tell that Loy and Powell were incredibly comfortable with each other, you would swear that Nick and Nora were real people shaking up martinis every night of the week.
If you've never seen the first Thin Man, a few words of caution:
1. The first 10 minutes of exposition are incredibly dull, push through to Nick's entrance teaching bartenders how to mix the perfect drink to the appropriate song... things pick up from there.
2. If you get confused by the actual plot, don't worry about it... It isn't really all that important anyway.
3. Sensitive to drinking? Don't even start this movie... Nick and Nora's constant alcohol consumption is all a part of the fun!