After The Thin Man (1936)
After the Thin Man stars our two favorite detectives: the fast-talking, hard-drinking, sharp-tongued husband and wife duo Nick and Nora Charles (William Powell and Myrna Loy, an onscreen couple that never fails to make me get down on my knees and thank God for creating them). But this time, instead of running around New York, they are back home in San Francisco, where they can relax…or so they think. When the Charleses go to spend New Year’s Eve with Nora’s old, stuffy aunt and her aristocratic family, they find themselves entangled in yet another mystery when they find out that cousin Selma’s husband has been missing for three days and rumored to be running around with a club singer. After Nick and Nora find him, Robert is shot that same night, and Selma is accused of murder. As the case goes on, several other murders occur. But was it Selma? Or was it her kindhearted suitor, David (Jimmy Stewart)? Was it the skeevy club owners? The seedy torch singer? Her greedy blackmailing brother? The possibilities are endless, and it’s up to Nick and Nora to make sense of it all.
Often considered to be the best of The Thin Man sequels, After the Thin Man was the second of the six films in the series and the sixth out of the fourteenth pairing for Loy and Powell. Nowadays, fourteen pairings of the same actor and actress sounds repetitive and ridiculous. But not in Old Hollywood, which went by the rule of “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” and made you like it! No matter how many times you watch Powell and Loy on the screen, they just never get stale and old. Their chemistry is always top notch, they have spark and zap, and can make anything worth watching. Without a doubt, the antics and verbal banter that these two get into in this film provide almost all of the laughs.
The rest of the laughs in this come from…Asta. Yup. The Thin Man series was (and still is amongst the classic movie set) enormously popular, but I don’t think anyone has ever commented on how awesome that little dog is. Seriously. I’d go so far as to say that Asta is my favorite character in the whole series. This dog is freakin hilarious. One of the best parts of After the Thin Man is the cute little subplot with Asta and Mrs. Asta (and HOW ADORABLE ARE THEIR BABY PUPS?!) and my favorite scene in the film is when Asta accidentally eats a clue! Another thing that is special about After the Thin Man is that you can watch it, understand it, and enjoy it all without seeing the first film. Pretty neat, huh?
The ending of the film is pretty cute, too. Here’s a spoiler (without giving away the identity of the killer): after the case is over and done, Nora insinuates to Nick that they are going to have a baby. Of course, being a man, which means being a bit thickheaded when it comes to such matters (sorry, boys!) he didn’t get the hint, resulting in perhaps one of the most famous quotes from Nora in the whole series: “and you call yourself a detective!”
One of the most notable things about this film is the performance by a very very very early Jimmy Stewart. He will make your jaw drop. That’s all I’ll say here.
Overall, a very fun, yet lighthearted film with plenty of comic relief! One of the reasons why the Thin Man films are so enjoyable is that they take a serious topic like crime and make it somehow…fun? Geez that sounds terrible. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed!!!