We’re back again for a fifth round of hysterical mystery adventures with William Powell and Myrna Loy as the husband-and-wife detective team Nick and Nora Charles in The Thin Man Goes Home (1945)!
Coming Up Shorts! with… The Pooch (1932)
(available on Blu-ray as part of The Little Rascals: The ClassicFlix Restorations, Volume 3 (1932-1933) from ClassicFlix)
(Length: 20 minutes, 27 seconds)
Stymie (Matthew Beard) is in trouble with the rest of the gang for stealing one of their pies, but gets back in their favor when he rescues their dogs from the dogcatcher (Budd Fine). However, the dogcatcher manages to get Petey, and threatens to gas him if the kids can’t come up with five dollars in a hurry. This was an all-round entertaining short. The attempts of Stymie and Spanky (George McFarland) to get some food early on are quite humorous. The short gets more dramatic when Petey is captured and nearly gassed. By that point, it’s easy to feel for the kids as they try desperately to rescue their dog. I enjoyed this short, both for its humor and its drama, and certainly look forward to seeing it again in the future!
Coming Up Shorts! with… Why Daddy? (1944)
(Available as an extra on the The Thin Man Goes Home Blu-ray from Warner Archive Collection)
(Length: 9 minutes, 24 seconds)
Joe Doakes (Robert Benchley) easily comes up with all the answers while listening to a quiz show on the radio. However, when he is a contestant on an actual quiz show, he struggles to get the right answers. This was a rather amusing short with Robert Benchley in the lead. It’s certainly a familiar thought, where we as regular home viewers listen to/watch various game shows and come up with the answers easily (and question why the actual contestants couldn’t do better), only to find out that, in the real situation, we couldn’t do as well as we think we could! It’s not quite laugh out loud type stuff, but it’s short and entertaining enough to be worth seeing every now and then!
Coming Up Shorts! with… Screwball Squirrel (1944)
(Available as an extra on the The Thin Man Goes Home Blu-ray from Warner Archive Collection or as part of Tex Avery Screwball Classics Volume 1 Blu-ray or DVD from Warner Archive Collection)
Disclaimer: On the disc case, it is noted that the set is intended for the adult collector, which is because these shorts were made at a time when a lot of racist and sexist stereotypes were prevalent. All I’m trying to say is, parents, be careful about just sticking these on for your kids.
(Length: 7 minutes, 24 seconds)
Screwy Squirrel faces off against the bird dog Meathead. Another cartoon that starts out following another, more innocent character (in this case, Sammy Squirrel) before the direction changes. Many fun gags, as Screwy keeps taunting Meathead. As usual, many fun asides to the audience, as we’re easily reminded this is a cartoon. Got a few good laughs out of this one, so it’s worth it!
And Now For The Main Feature…
Nick Charles (William Powell) has decided to take his wife Nora (Myrna Loy) on a trip to his hometown of Sycamore Springs to spend some time with his parents and celebrate his birthday. While Nora has long known that Nick and his father haven’t been particularly close, she didn’t know until this trip that their problem is that Nick’s father, Dr. Bertram Charles (Harry Davenport), is disappointed that Nick didn’t choose to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a doctor. So Nora takes it upon herself to convince the doctor of Nick’s importance as a detective. When his father remains unmoved by a story of one of Nick’s cases, Nora takes it upon herself to encourage a rumor going around town that Nick is there on a case, in the hopes that it will become true. And indeed a case does come to their doorstep (literally!) when a man named Peter Berton (Ralph Brooke) comes to their house to tell Nick something, only to be fatally shot in the doorway by an unknown person. When he manages the opportunity to get away, Nick takes Asta to look at Peter’s lodgings to find out what he can about him. While he is there, the local eccentric Crazy Mary (Anne Revere) conks him on the head, knocking him out for a while. As he continues to investigate, the pool of suspects increases, and includes banking tycoon Sam Ronson (Minor Watson), who had objected to Peter’s friendship with his daughter Laurabelle (Gloria DeHaven) (and who also threatens to cause trouble for the hospital that Dr. Charles wants to open unless Nick withdraws from his investigation), as well as Edgar (Leon Ames) and Helena Draque (Helen Vinson) (who are after a painting by Peter that Nora had bought as a present for Nick). With the aid of town coroner Dr. Bruce Clayworth (Lloyd Corrigan), Nick tries to see Crazy Mary (without getting hit on the head, something she was known for doing to everybody except Bruce), where he reveals his discovery that Mary was actually Peter’s mother (who had to give her son up for adoption as a baby). After learning about how everybody was seeking after Peter’s painting, Nick tries to find it at a charity bazaar, but finds Helena unconscious. The trail brings him back to Crazy Mary’s place, where they discover her dead (and find the painting). Nick now thinks he has an idea of what is going on in the town, and decides to have the police bring all the suspects to his parents’ home. But will he be able to ferret out the truth, and impress his father?
After the success of Shadow Of The Thin Man (1941) at the box office, more adventures with Nick and Nora were in order. However, production was delayed when Myrna Loy left Hollywood upon divorcing her first husband and quickly marrying car rental heir John Hertz, Jr. The marriage itself barely lasted two years, but with the onset of World War II, she threw herself into her work with the Red Cross to help with the war effort. In the meantime, MGM tried to placate audiences by considering a different actress (Irene Dunne, in particular), but this just angered the fans and resulted in the project being shelved. Myrna Loy did come back, finally, and production was able to get going on the movie. Of course, in the time between, series director W. S Van Dyke had had some health issues with cancer and a bad heart, and (since he was a Christian Scientist and refused medical treatment) he committed suicide in 1943. His replacement for The Thin Man Comes Home was Richard Thorpe (who had also worked with William Powell and Myrna Loy on their 1937 film Double Wedding). The movie still managed to be profitable at the box office, and one more movie would end up being made after the war was over.
As usual for the Thin Man films, this is my first time seeing this movie. I will be very quick to admit that I enjoyed it! Yes, the series has become a bit cliched at this point, but I think that this film knew it, and was almost able to make fun of it. As usual, Myrna Loy’s Nora wants to help Nick out, this time by trailing someone she strongly suspects of being the murderer (Brogan, as played by Edward Brophy), although Nick believes him harmless and gives him a warning that Nora will follow him, which as a whole is a very funny sequence! Earlier in the film, we also have her rather animated (and humorous) telling of one of Nick’s previous cases (not one actually shown in the movies, but it’s just fun watching her try so hard to impress Nick’s father)! And the film’s self-aware acknowledgement at the end, with all the suspects gathered and Nora explaining to Nick’s father what would usually happen at this point, makes for rather entertaining viewing! Although it still pales in comparison to the earliest three films in the series (in my mind), I think it’s a little better than Shadow Of The Thin Man, which makes it easier for me to still recommend this one for a few good laughs and a delightful mystery!
This movie is available on Blu-ray from Warner Archive Collection, featuring a new 4K scan of the best preservation elements. At this point, it’s a simple truth: it’s a release from Warner Archive, which means it looks quite good! The clarity is there, with a crisp picture that has been cleaned up of all dirt and debris. Certainly the best way to enjoy this wonderful movie!
And with that, I now embark on a (almost) month-long break (as mentioned here), although I should *hopefully* have one new post on Easter Sunday! So, I’ll be back then (or the beginning of May, whichever ends up being the case)! In the meantime, keep enjoying some good (or great) movies!
Film Length: 1 hour, 41 minutes
My Rating: 9/10
List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections
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