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the thin man goes home - title card


The Preshow Entertainment for the first RMC of 2007 was Marvel Comics cartoons. We got to see an IRONMAN and almost a whole SPIDER-MAN. These were the cartoons from the '60s. I remember the series well. They ran CAPTAIN AMERICA on Mondays, HULK on Tuesdays, IRONMAN on Wednesdays, THOR on Thursdays, and SUBMARINER of Fridays. I think Spider-Man may have been on every day, but I'm not sure. I remember Submariner being the least spectacular (he communicated with the fish). And all my friends liked Thor, Captain America and the Hulk, therefore, I liked IRONMAN (beware, Jon Favreau is directing Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark/Ironman for the big screen). And yes, I remember all the theme songs.

These cartoons were cheap and crude, but as a kid, I didn't care. Or even notice. But as an adult- yeesh. Just barely a step ahead of CLUTCH CARGO animation (where only the mouth moved), these were lazy and uninspired. Sometimes characters talked with their hands in front of their mouths so they can just use library shots. And the stories were fine for 8 year olds, but geez, they didn't spend much time on them. It was just a hero and a villain, and things would just happen. Lots of "good thing there's a vent there!" or "Luckily I wore my laser repeller ring!" Stuff like that. But as I said, it's fine for a kid.

THE THIN MAN GOES HOME is the fifth in a series of six lovable "Thin Man" movies, a franchise that lasted 13 years (1934-1947). This is the penultimate "Thin Man" movie. I know I just covered that in the first sentence, but I always get excited at the opportunity to use the word "penultimate."

This round, instead of spending time solving crimes in their posh Manhattan penthouse, Nick and Nora Charles and their scene stealing terrier (and frequent crossword puzzle answer) Asta go on a vacation to see Nick's parents. When the small town learns of famous P.I. Nick's arrival, gossip covers the burg, and, thanks to Nora's talking up of her hubby, the townsfolk are convinced he is there to solve a crime. Well, this flushes out some real criminals who think he is there for them. Soon, someone is shot, and the mystery begins.

If ever a movie was made for a McGuffin, it's a Thin Man movie. The crime, in this case plans for a propeller secretly sketched under a painting, doesn't matter. I'll go one step further and say that even the solving of the crime doesn't matter. Jeepers, there's not even anyone named The Thin Man (except in the first movie). In fact, you have to wait a whopping 1/3 into the movie before the mystery even begins. It's all about Nick and Nora. It's the singer, not the song.

Nick is a martini-gulping sophisticate-slash-alcoholic (who is always drinking yet never appears Foster Brooks-drunk), while Nora, from money and society, is almost always onto him. But in TTMGH, there's no drinking (also gone is their son, left in NYC). It seems that Nick's dad wanted him to be a doctor like himself, and not a P.I. So, to impress his dad on this visit, Nick has given up the sauce for cider, which naturally makes for some great gags.

Played perfectly and seemingly effortlessly by William Powell and Myrna Loy, Nick and Nora are two of the best drawn characters around. With performances full of confidence and fully loaded (NPI) with dialogue equivalent to verbal gold, THE THIN MAN series towers as high as their apartment.

The Thin Man movies certainly left their stamp on us. First a Dashiell Hammett book, then 6 really fun movies (the one we saw is arguably the weakest, yet still wonderful), a radio show, a TV show (with Peter Lawford), and a (failed) Broadway show. It was even part of a title to a GILMORE GIRLS episode (it's obvious G-GIRLS creator Amy Sherman-Palladino was influenced by the Thin Man repartee, and...she also developed a Nick and Nora-ish TV show that never got off the ground).

THE THIN MAN, AFTER THE THIN MAN, ANOTHER THIN MAN (featuring a Shemp Howard cameo!), SHADOW OF THE THIN MAN, THE THIN MAN GOES HOME, SONG OF THE THIN MAN. Light the fireplace, make yourself a martini, snuggle up on the couch, and watch them all.

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