Thursday, December 29, 2016

Merry Christmas!

Even though Xmas is long past, it isn't time for a New Years post yet, so I'll put in a quick plug for our favorite Xmas movie: The Thin Man (1934). This class, udirected by W.S. Van Dyke (not S.S. Van Dine, who wrote the Philo Vance mysteries) stars the incomparable screwball couple William Powell and Myrna Loy. It's based on a story by Dashiell Hammett, but I don't think he put so much wit and sparkle into his version. The drinking might have been his, though.

Nick Charles, New York detective, has been living in San Francisco with his wealthy bride, Nora, but they have returned to New York for the holidays. The only case he wants to work on is a case of scotch. But a missing scientist (Edward Ellis) and his oddball relatives make that impossible. So he solves the case with the help of his dog Asta, without missing a drink.

There are great character actors like Cesar Romero, Ed Brophy, and Nat Pendleton, several wild parties, and great Christmas presents. But the best part is the ideal relationship between Powell and Loy, the greatest marriage in all cinema. "I do believe the little lady cares."

The 3 or 4 sequels are good too, although not as good. This was intended to be a one-off B-movie, made in 11 days on a shoestring. The cinematography showed a bit of flare, with some nice shadows, and background action that pays off in the next shot.

A lot of time, people use "classic" when they mean "black and white", but this is the real thing.

We thought about watching Shop on the Corner, but we'll save that for next week.

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