Now we’re back for The Thin Man starring William Powell and Ginger Rogers. Wait, Ginger Rogers? Oh, that’s right, this is the 1935 film Star Of Midnight.
When Alice Markham disappears from Chicago, her boyfriend Tim Winthrop (Leslie Fenton) comes to New York to ask his lawyer friend Clay “Dal” Dalzell (William Powell) to help him find her. Dal is reluctant at first, but the two of them and Dal’s marriage-minded girlfriend Donna Mantin (Ginger Rogers) go to see the show Midnight, which features the big star Mary Smith, who always wears a mask in public. Before he can see the show, Dal is called away to see gangster Jimmy Kinland (Paul Kelly) to negotiate for some letters Donna wants back. After doing so, Dal returns to his apartment to hear that Mary Smith had disappeared, and newspaperman Tommy Tennant (Russell Hopton) comes to tell him what he found out about Mary Smith. However, before Tennant can tell Dal anything, he is shot and killed, and the killer tosses the gun at Dal. Having handled the gun, he is suspected by the police, so he decides to try and solve the case, with the aid of Donna (whether he wants her help or not). As he gets further into the situation, he learns why Alice had disappeared from Chicago, and tries to set a trap for the murderer, who is hunting her down, too.
In one of those examples of how Hollywood hasn’t changed in many years, with the success of The Thin Man came a number of copycat movies, as the studios tried to cash in on the idea. Thin Man star William Powell was in the process of signing a contract with MGM afterwards, but signed a quick deal with RKO, which allowed him to star in two similar films, the 1936 film The Ex-Mrs. Bradford and this one. Co-starring with him was Ginger Rogers, who was enjoying her own success co-starring with Fred Astaire in their own series of films. She did Star Of Midnight in between filming Roberta and Top Hat with Fred Astaire.
Personally, having finally seen The Thin Man, it is easy for me to say that that is the better movie. The overall film is fun, made better by the chemistry between William Powell and Myrna Loy. That being said, Star Of Midnight comes awfully close, for me! Ginger’s not Myrna Loy, but she certainly brings her own brand of sass to the role, which is still just as fun in my book! While the relationship is an unmarried one, there is still enough history shown between the two, and I enjoy watching it a lot! I’ll admit, William Powell’s Clay Dalzell is very similar to Nick Charles, including a fondness for drinking, but while similar, it still works well with this movie! While I would say the right film ended up starting a franchise, I know I can’t help but wish that Star Of Midnight had been the start of a series for its two leads as well! It’s just a wonderful movie that I would easily recommend for fans of either star (or fans of The Thin Man, for that matter)!
This movie is available on DVD from Warner Archive Collection.
Film Length: 1 hour, 30 minutes
My Rating: 9/10
List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections
The Thin Man (1934) – William Powell – My Man Godfrey (1936)
Upper World (1934) – Ginger Rogers – Top Hat (1935)
Gene Lockhart – Wedding Present (1936)
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