The sparkling series featured the irresistible William Powell and Myrna Loy chemistry as husband and wife sleuths who solved murders with the aid of their wire-haired terrier, Asta. Set in the glamorous world of 1930s uppe... more »r-class Manhattan, The Thin Man and its sequels established the standard for witty comedy, clever dialogue and urbane one upmanship. The 7-Disc set includes THE THIN MAN, AFTER THE THIN MAN, ANOTHER THIN MAN, SHADOW OF THE THIN MAN, SONG OF THE THIN MAN, THE THIN MAN GOES HOME, and the ALIAS NICK & NORA bonus documentary disc.« less
"FINALLY!! One of the Premiere classic comedy series of films is finally making its way to DVD from Warner Brothers. Warner Brothers DVD sets have been an embarressment of riches lately and one hopes that this Powell-Loy series will have the full treatment it richly deserves. Powell and Loy's Nick and Nora Charles are one of the silver screens most memorable duos and these films stand up to repeated viewing. I cut my classic film buff teeth on these films and have worn out all VHS copies. Wow, first the Marx Brothers see two wonderful box sets and now this. Can Laurel and Hardy be far behind in a quality set?) Now - here is some details about features I was able to gather from various web sources: 1. Each film DVD case features the studio film poster 2. There are 7 DVDs in all- 6 for the films and a bonus 7th disc entitled "Alias Nick and Nora" which features two documentaries on William Powell and Myrna Loy. 3. It appears that the "Warners Night at the Movies" feature is here also. All film DVDs feature comedy, musical, and mystery shorts as well as classic cartoons. Could not find out titles. 4. Other features are to include: two radio adaptations of the series. I own a Lux theather radio adaptation of "The Thin Man" which had not only Powell and Loy reprising their rolls but features some narration and introdution by Van Dyke. Lux theater adaptations were common and excellent productions. To have both the main stars and the director was a first rate show. ALSO: the pilot episode of the TV series. IN short- if the informaton is correct this is a DVD set that should be on the shelf of every film buff... and another triumph in the recent exellent DVDs from Warner Brothers. BUY IT NOW! All I can say is the Classic film buffs motto: "Thank Goodness for Turner Classic Movies and thank goodness for Warner Brothers DVDs""
Calling All Nick & Nora Fans! A Fabulous Boxed DVD Set!!!
Jana L. Perskie | New York, NY USA | 06/25/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Warner Brothers' release of "The Complete Thin Man Collection" on DVD is a major windfall for fans of the legendry Nick and Nora Charles. Retired private eye Nick, and his ditzy, (I should be so smart), wife Nora, known for their witty repartee, ever-present cocktail in hand, and hang-over remedy at bedside, were originally created by author Dashiell Hammett. They are probably sleuthdom's most sophisticated couple - perhaps the most urbane pair in all of romantic comedy. Rumor has it, the characters were loosely based on Hammett and his longtime companion, Lillian Hellman. Played on the silver screen by William Powell & Myrna Loy, the chemistry and timing between the two is dynamite. Skippy, (the dog), plays Asta, their Wire-Haired Fox Terrier, who takes her job seriously as assistant PI.
The series' six Thin Man films, ("The Thin Man / After the Thin Man / Another Thin Man / Shadow of the Thin Man / The Thin Man Goes Home / Song of the Thin Man"), revolve around the antics of Mr. and Mrs. Charles, their beloved terrier, and the mysteries they get finagled into solving, which usually involve at least one murder. Nora, a wealthy socialite married Nick, a PI who decided to give up his business to manage her financial affairs. They reside, temporarily, in a plush New York City apartment with a great view of the Manhattan skyline. Neither of them want to continue in the Private Investigation business, but trouble seems to find them, and they just cannot turn it away. Filmed smack in the middle of the Great Depression, Americans going through tough times seemed to love the frivolous Charles couple, and their slap-stick detecting style.
The first, and I think best film is "The Thin Man," completed in 1934 and directed by W.S. Van Dyke. Here the mystery takes a back seat to the couple's loving relationship, with an emphasis on shenanigans, wisecracking, martini sipping followed by morning-after hang-overs, more banter, etc.. Bottom line - an eccentric, tall, thin, moneyed inventor, named Clyde Wynant (Edward Ellis), has disappeared. He is the "thin man" of the film title. Nora convinces Nick to take on the case because she wants to see how a murder is solved - if the inventor has been murdered. Or, he might, in fact, be the murderer! Straight-forward, no subplots - just dashing Nick, elegantly amusing Nora, Asta, the martinis, lots of panache and several corpses! Great supporting cast, which includes: Maureen O'Sullivan, Minna Gombell, William Henry, and Cesar Romero.
"After The Thin Man," released in 1936 is a fine, fast-paced, fun sequel, and what it lacks in noir grit, it makes up for in verve. Again, the Depression is giving folks their fill of true grit in the real world. Humor, the opulence and luxury of the Charles' world, and lots of sexy, sophisticated banter between husband and wife are what brings weary people into movie theaters. This film has the debonair duo, looking into a blackmail turned murder case. The two have just returned to their beautiful California home, and find it inundated with Nora's relatives - all uninvited. Nora's cousin's husband has gone missing, and her upper crust family would rather he stay lost than cause a scandal. He was having an affair with a nightclub singer, and apparently extorting mega-bucks on the side. Oh, Nick and Norah find him all right! Dead! And, once again, Nora's finances are on the back burner. You'll never guess whodunit! A very young James Stewart is featured here...very briefly!
"Another Thin Man," (1939), and another excellent movie - more complex plot-wise, and perhaps wackier than the first two films! Baby makes three here, four, of course, with Asta. One year old Nickie Jr., is the latest addition and he takes-up lots of his Mom's time, distracting her from distracting Dad. The Charleses have been invited to spend the weekend at the Long Island estate of Colonel Burr MacFay, (C. Aubrey Smith), a friend and former business associate of Nora's father. The wealthy munitions industrialist is afraid that an old business partner is going to kill him. Phil Church, who once worked with MacFay, has just been released after spending ten years behind bars for fraud. The man holds a huge grudge against MacFay and has threatened his life. The usual gang of martini drinkers are out on the Island, and when MacFay dies, predictably, no one is too shocked. However, Nick and Nora are on the suspect list! Nick drinks less and detects more with this one! Virginia Grey plays the Colonel's daughter Lois, and Ruth Hussey plays Nicky's nurse.
"Shadow Of The Thin Man," (1941), takes Nick and Nora to the races, literally, when murder, racketeering and mayhem win, place and show-up at the track. Nick had absolutely decided against involving himself with any more sleuth work. He definitely wants to spend more time with Nora and Nicky, Jr.,...and Asta, too. Unfortunately, he cannot say no to the head of the New York Athletic Commission, who asks him personally to take the case when a jockey is murdered. There's a hilarious episode on a department-store merry-go-round in this one, and a huge brawl, started by Asta, at an elegant sea food restaurant. Great cast and characters, including famous acting teacher Stella Adler as Claire Porter, somebody's girlfriend. And young Donna Reed makes an appearance here as well.
"The Thin Man Goes Home," (1944), is the penultimate series' offering and the movie never fails to crack me up! They say "you can never go home again." This old adage is probably true because no matter how grown-up, sophisticated and capable one might be, you can be sure to be taken down several notches when returning to the old homestead. The Charleses pay a visit to Nick's home town of Sycamore Springs. And his parents browbeat the poor retired PI, (how undignified!). They so wanted him to be a doctor, just like his father! And he cannot find a stiff drink anywhere!! When a man drops dead on the front porch, however, Nick's folks are grateful for his chosen vocation. Excellent cast: Gloria DeHaven, Edward Brophy, Lloyd Corrigan, Leon Ames, and Ann Revere as the eccentric "Crazy Mary."
"Song Of The Thin Man," released in 1947 is the sixth and last film, and finds the Charleses looking into the mysterious murder of bandleader Tommy Drake. Sultry Gloria Graham sings "You're Not So Easy to Forget," by Herb Magidson and Ben Oakland. A fine supporting cast includes: Jayne Meadows, Keenan Wynn, Dean Stockwell, Ralph Morgan, William Bishop and Marie Windsor
This outstanding boxed-set comes with some great features, including a bonus 7th disc, entitled, "Alias Nick and Nora," with two documentaries on William Powell and Myrna Loy. Other highlights are two radio adaptations of the series, as well as comedy, musical and mystery shorts, and cartoons. How can you go wrong?? JANA"
Truly Memorable Film Series, But Box Set Offers Little Bonus
Gary F. Taylor | Biloxi, MS USA | 10/29/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"MGM was not entirely enthusiastic about 1934's THE THIN MAN and even less so about the casting of Myrna Loy as Nora Charles--and director W.S. "Woody" Van Dyke was determined to have her the studio gave in with poor grace.
But Van Dyke knew what he was doing. With a wickedly witty script by Goodrich and Hackett, proto-noir cinematography by James Wong Howe, and remarkable chemistry between the stars, MGM had a major and unexpected hit. Powell and Loy would become the public's favorite screen team overnight and would go on to make a host of films together, including five more that chronicled the further adventures of Nick and Nora, sophisticated, high-living, and solving one crime after another.
The original film was a landmark in so many ways that it still sets standards to this day. The 1934 AFTER THE THIN MAN is equally fine and the 1939 ANOTHER THIN MAN and 1941 SHADOW OF THE THIN MAN only slight less so.
With Van Dyke's death in 1944 direction passed to other hands. Directed by Richard Thorpe, the 1945 THE THIN MAN GOES HOME suffered from an incredibly weak script; although the film is amusing in its way it is a clinker in comparison with the other films in the series. Directed by Edward Buzzell, the 1947 SONG OF THE THIN MAN was a great improvement--but although the script was quite good Buzzell's handling of the material lacked energy.
Whatever the case, in each instance we are treated to the truly legendary Powell-Loy flash and dazzle, always enjoyable, and a series of remarkable supporting casts that included such names as Maureen O'Sullivan, James Stewart, Ruth Hussey, Stella Adler, Lucille Watson, and Keenan Wynn. Even the lackluster THE THIN MAN GOES HOME is quite amusing and entirely watchable!
Film quality is near-pristine, and these prints are clearly the best available short of a full digital restoration. Even so, the box set leaves something to be desired. Although it lays claim to considerable bonus material, in truth it offers very little worth while.
The 1934 THE THIN MAN was released to DVD several years ago and the DVD in this set is that release: the only bonus offered is a package of trailers for the series. The other disks include programs of various MGM cartoons and shorts--but there is not a single cast biography to be found, much less an audio commentary on any of the titles. Given the quality of the casts, the landmark status of the original, and the tremendous following the series has... well, it seems a tremendous pity.
The seventh DVD consists entirely of bonus material, but it proves a mixed bag. MYRNA LOY: SO NICE TO COME HOME TO is very good; WILLIAM POWELL: A TRUE GENTLEMAN is nice enough but it hardly does justice to its subject. A Lux Radio version of THE THIN MAN is entertaining, but it needs a significant remaster, and an episode from the later television series based on the films can only be described as fairly dire.
Fans of the film series--and I'm among them--will be overjoyed to have all six of the titles on DVD at long last, and I give the set a full five stars for that alone. But that joy will be tempered by the inadequate treatment the films receive in terms of bonuses. It seems an opportunity lost.
GFT, Amazon Reviewer "
"The Thin Man" from the Martini Era to Family Life to WWII a
mirasreviews | McLean, VA USA | 04/07/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
""The Thin Man" is one of Hollywood's most enduring films from the 1930s starring its most enduring screen duo of stars Myrna Loy and William Powell, who made a record 16 films together including 6 for the "Thin Man" franchise. "The Complete Thin Man Collection" brings all 6 "Thin Man" films together, originally released 1934-1947, allowing the viewer to enjoy these delightful comedic mysteries and the great Loy-Powell chemistry while we watch the franchise evolve with the times. "The Thin Man" (1934) was released on the heels of the best-selling Dashiell Hammett novel on which it is based and introduced moviegoers to retired private detective Nick Charles (William Powell), formerly of the working class, who married blue-blooded San Francisco heiress, Nora (Myra Loy). Nick intends to stay clear of the dirty business of solving crimes now that he has a comfortable life, but while he and Nora spend the holidays in New York, the daughter of an old acquaintance begs Nick to help her locate her missing father. Try as he might, Nick cannot avoid being caught up in the case.
In contrast to Dashiell Hammett's novel, "The Thin Man" film cleans up the characters, dispenses with Hammett's cynicism, and makes light of Nick and Nora's alcoholism. This genial tone persists throughout the 6 "Thin Man" films. The first of the series retains Hammett's terrifically entertaining witty banter. The film is good-natured, while Hammett's novel is anything but. But "The Thin Man" is a great adaptation. Nothing could be more pleasantly amusing than Nick and Nora's revolving-door Christmas party. And cute pooch Asta is so silly that he's charming. William Powell and Myrna Loy's quirky chemistry make the film -and make lines like, "I'm much too busy seeing that you don't lose any of the money I married you for" sound funny. Shot in only 12 days because MGM wanted Myrna Loy for another film, "The Thin Man" is one of the best films of the 1930s, and it's as much fun now as it was 70 years ago. It was director W. S. Van Dyke's idea to cast Loy, who tended to play exotic women and vamps, in a role more like herself: sassy, witty, modern, and self-assured. It was the beginning of nearly two decades of roles for Loy as "the ideal wife". William Powell came to "The Thin Man" having starred in 4 "Philo Vance" detective pictures, and Nick Charles gave him the opportunity to loosen up onscreen.
Dashiell Hammett contributed stories (unpublished) for 2 more "Thin Man" movies, on which he collaborated with screenwriters Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett. W. S. Van Dyke would direct 4 "Thin Man" films before his death in 1943. Impressively, the quality of the "Thin Man" movies did not take a nosedive as the series progressed. The films vary in quality, but all are entertaining. To say they are formulaic might be an understatement, but these movies gave the audience what it wanted: a labyrinthine mystery, a long list of colorful suspects, a funny and attractive pair of sleuths, and a scene in which Nick brings everyone together to sweat the solution out of them. The best is, of course, the first: 1934's "The Thin Man". The second-best is its sequel, 1936's "After the Thin Man", which doesn't match the wit of the first film, but does match, and possibly exceeds, the mystery and cast of suspects. Third-best is the last film of the series, 1947's "Song of the Thin Man", which finds a middle-aged Nick and Nora investigating a murder aboard a friend's gambling ship. It's notable that this film doesn't try to fudge the Charleses ages or pretend that they are young, as a modern film might. It treats age with good humor, not denial, poking fun at the generation gap.
The films go back-and-forth, from East Coast to West Coast, as the series progresses, with Police Lieutenant Guild (Nat Pendleton) returning as the New York cop and Lieutenant Abrams (Sam Levene) making repeat appearances as San Francisco's police detective. After the first 2 films, in which the police detectives are hard-boiled, they begin to be played for laughs -something which, I note, Dashiell Hammett would not have put in a book. 1939's "Another Thin Man" takes place on the Long Island Estate of Nora's father's old business partner, who is convinced that a former employee is out to kill him. 1941's "Shadow of the Thin Man" is back in San Francisco where Nick investigates the apparent murder of an unscrupulous jockey and equally corrupt reporter. 1945's "The Thin Man Goes Home" is the worst of the series, but it occupies a special place. It was made during World War II in the spirit of supporting the war effort by presenting an idealized vision of middle class Americans. So the wealthy Charleses visit Nick's parents and childhood home in small town U.S.A.. The glamour is temporarily sucked out of the franchise. Nora is done up in a frizzy hairdo, horrible house dresses, and the ugliest suits imaginable. There are no criminal underworld characters but, instead, international espionage and a silly debutante.
The DVDs (Warner Brothers 2005 7-disc set): Each film is on a separate disc, accompanied by a short film, a cartoon, and a theatrical trailer, so that you watch the films as moviegoers did at the time of their original release. The films have minor flaws (some specks) and good sound. Short films of particular note are: "How to Be a Detective" on Disc 2 and "Why Daddy?" on Disc 5, both written by and starring humorist Robert Benchley. An adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe's "A Tell-Tale Heart" directed by Jules Dessin on Disc 4. A children's film called "A Really Important Person", starring Dean Stockwell, on Disc 6. Selective filmographies/bibliographies for Myrna Loy, William Powell, Dashiell Hammett, Albert Hackett, Frances Goodrich, and director W. S. Van Dyke are on Disc 1. A 1940 "Lux Radio Theater" broadcast (audio) of "After the Thin Man" is found on the disc with the film, as is "Leo Is on the Air Radio Promo" (audio), a "cavalcade of musical hits" from 1936 movies. Disc 7 is all bonus features: "William Powell: A True Gentleman" (30 min), a documentary about Powell's life and incredibly varied 30-year+ career in movies. "Myrna Loy: So Nice to Come Home To" (45 min), a documentary from the 1980s, hosted by Kathleen Turner, about Myrna Loy's career and onscreen persona. There is one episode from the 1958 television series "The Thin Man" (25 min), starring Peter Lawford and Phyllis Kirk, which I guess was hip and progressive at the time. And there is a "Lux Radio Theater Broadcast" (audio) of "The Thin Man" from 1936, which needs to be cleaned up. The features on Disc 7 really should have just been added to the other discs in the interest of space. Subtitles are available for the films in English, Spanish, French (& Portuguese for "The Thin Man"). Dubbing is available in French on some discs."
We've been waiting years for this!
Sharama | United States | 07/26/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I won't repeat the film summaries (they've been so well done by other reviewers that it'd be pointless :-) but I will agree with the 5 star ratings. My dad saw these in the theater when he was young and, years later, he still remembered how much he enjoyed them *and* what a cult figure Asta was :-) He introduced me to them and I've carried on the tradition. They are the kind of films the whole family can enjoy, but that the adults will be especially charmed by. We've worn out our VHS copies (hard to find in any case) and are thrilled to see the pending dvd release. (Ok, thrilled is an understatement)
The Thin Man series is truly in a league of its own...it portrays the ultimate 30s couple: great looking, incredibly chic & cool, happily married, the best of friends, and equal partners in life's trials and pleasures. Powell & Loy show that marriage can be fun, and the chemistry between them is truly magical.
The humor holds up well (even 60+ years later) and there are great opportunities to see young actors (James Stewart, etc.) and the roles they played before becoming famous. (Jimmy Stewart as an angst-ridden ex-boyfriend is worth the price of admission.) We hold movie nights for friends and our biggest turnout was for a showing of The Thin Man and After the Thin Man... the crowd loved it, although there was a certain astonishment over the amount of drinking in the flicks (Nick, Nora & friends pack away booze on an epic scale).
To close I'll point out that this series (and these stars) have charmed audiences for over 70 years. There *is* a reason for that, and once you've seen the series you'll understand the phrase "They just don't make them like that anymore" (We named our son "Nick" in Nick Charles' honor... can't get a better tribute than that ;-)"