Saturday, December 04, 2021

Tonight's Movie: The Thin Man Goes Home (1944) - A Warner Archive Blu-ray Review

The fifth film in the beloved THIN MAN series, THE THIN MAN GOES HOME (1944), was just released on Blu-ray by the Warner Archive.

Detective Nick Charles (William Powell) and wife Nora (Myrna Loy) have left their usual digs in New York and San Francisco in order to pay a long-overdue visit to Nick's parents (Harry Davenport and Lucile Watson) in their small town.

Naturally someone is murdered on the Charles family doorstep almost as soon as Nick and Nora arrive, and although Nick is ostensibly on vacation, he's soon hard at work helping the police chief (Donald MacBride) solve the crime.

There are a plethora of suspects, including Gloria DeHaven, Leon Ames, Morris Ankrum, Anne Revere, and more. Will Nick solve the mystery, and will his cranky physician father be impressed? What do you think?

This is a pleasant enough entry in the series, though at the same time it's admittedly nothing particularly special. It's just a tad sluggish at 100 minutes, and the crime, which involves paintings, gets a bit hard to follow as the bodies pile up.

While any time spent with Nick and Nora is always a good time, things seem a little "off" in this go-round. Nick Jr. is nowhere in sight, and Nick is on the wagon, drinking cider (!).

Nick's relationship with his parents, particularly his father, is edgy; he apparently hasn't visited in years (have his parents met their grandson?!), and his father finds Nick's skill in solving mysteries silly. He'd hoped Nick would be a doctor like himself.

Fans of the series will remember that Nora had her own family challenges in AFTER THE THIN MAN (1936). For a lighthearted, good-natured couple, they certainly have familial relationship issues! Maybe there was something behind all that prior drinking...

The film does have its moments, with lovely Gloria DeHaven particularly fun as an overly dramatic young miss. I wished she had more screen time.

The large cast also includes Edward Brophy, Helen Vinson, Donald Meek, Anita Sharp-Bolster, Nora Cecil, Lloyd Corrigan, Irving Bacon, Virginia Sale, and Minor Watson.

W.S. Van Dyke, who directed all four of the previous films, had died in 1943, so THE THIN MAN GOES HOME was directed by Richard Thorpe.

The screenplay was by Robert Riskin and Dwight Taylor, based on a story by Riskin and Harry Kurnitz. The movie was filmed in black and white by Karl Freund and the uncredited Joseph Ruttenberg.

The Warner Archive Collection Blu-ray print is excellent, just as the other Blu-rays in this series have been.

Disc extras are the Robert Benchley short WHY DADDY? (1944), the Tex Avery cartoon SCREWBALL SQUIRREL (1944), and the trailer.

The Warner Archive has just announced that the final film in the series, SONG OF THE THIN MAN (1947), will be available on Blu-ray in January 2022.

Links to the previous Warner Archive Blu-ray reviews in this series: THE THIN MAN (1934), AFTER THE THIN MAN (1936), ANOTHER THIN MAN (1939), and SHADOW OF THE THIN MAN (1941).

Thanks to the Warner Archive for providing a review copy of this Blu-ray. Warner Archive Blu-rays may be ordered from the Warner Archive Collection Amazon Store or from any online retailers where Blu-rays are sold.


Around the Blogosphere This Week

Miscellaneous bits of news and fun stuff from around the internet...

...The latest Warner Archive Collection Blu-ray announcements are SONG OF THE THIN MAN (1947) and STAGE FRIGHT (1950). They'll be released in January. With SONG OF THE THIN MAN, all six THIN MAN films are now available on Blu-ray.

...Toby Roan has reviewed the Warner Archive's new Blu-ray release of THE NAKED SPUR (1953) at 50 Westerns From the 50s. THE NAKED SPUR stars James Stewart, Janet Leigh, and Robert Ryan.

...Ben Pearson writes at SlashFilm about why movie dialogue has often become so difficult to understand.

...VCI Entertainment has announced the release of a Library of Congress restoration of SPARROWS (1926) starring Mary Pickford. It will be released in a combination Blu-ray/DVD set. It will be available December 21st.

...David Derks has written about Disney films directed by Norman Tokar for MiceChat. I've shared in the past that Tokar's SNOWBALL EXPRESS (1972), which starred Dean Jones, holds a special place in my heart.

...Ruth pays tribute to the great character actor Charles Lane at Silver Screenings.

...At Watching Classic Movies KC reviews a new biography of Charles Boyer by John Baxter, just published by the University Press of Kentucky.

...I was intrigued by Jessica's review of a Fred MacMurray-Irene Dunne film I've never seen, INVITATION TO HAPPINESS (1939). The review is available at her blog Comet Over Hollywood.

...Up till now I've been watching IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE (1946) on VHS, but thanks to a new review by CineSavant Glenn Erickson, I just ordered a new 75th Anniversary Blu-ray. A big part of my decision to purchase this version is the inclusion of a featurette by Craig Barron and Ben Burtt on the movie's special effects. They did a wonderful presentation at the 2016 TCM Classic Film Festival, and I'm thrilled they've recorded their research on the movie. (PS It makes me smile remembering that I watched the film a few seats over from a gentleman who was the Martinis' baby in the movie!) The set also includes a colorized version of the film which frankly I'll choose to ignore.

...Speaking of IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE, Raquel has reviewed the new IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE: THE OFFICIAL BAILEY FAMILY COOKBOOK at her blog Out of the Past.

...Jeff Arnold just published an interesting review of DENVER & RIO GRANDE (1952) at Jeff Arnold's West. I enjoyed the movie a few years ago, especially appreciating the location photography and train crash, but Jeff's enthusiasm is such I'm interested in taking a fresh look to see if I like it even more on closer acquaintance. The excellent cast is headed by Edmond O'Brien and Sterling Hayden.

...I just learned Sissy Spacek's daughter, Schuyler Fisk, is a singer who released a Christmas album a few years ago.

...Notable Passing: Actress-Dancer Yvonne Wilder, who played Consuelo in WEST SIDE STORY (1961), has passed away at 84.

...For additional recent links of interest to classic film fans, please check out my November 27th roundup.

Friday, December 03, 2021

Christmastime at Disneyland: Thanksgiving Eve 2021

Thanksgiving Eve at Disneyland is one of our family's favorite traditions. Photos from Thanksgiving Eve visits going back for a dozen years are linked at the end of this post.


We missed our usual trip in 2019 as I had just had knee surgery. We expected to return in 2020 but could not have anticipated that Disney's California parks would be closed by the state for over a year, including at Christmas.


Consequently we're soaking up all the wonderful "Disney Christmas time" we can this year!


Here are a few seasonal shots of some of the decorations.


Posts with additional photos of this year's Disneyland resort Christmas decorations are linked at the end of this post.


Barely visible here is a tree in the window of Walt Disney's apartment above the fire station. Click on any photo to enlarge it for a closer look.


The sheer normalcy of being back in our "happy place" does wonders for the spirits.


A reverse look at Main Street, U.S.A. with the tree:


The Golden Horseshoe in Frontierland:



Bonus photos from a (somewhat foggy!) Disneyland morning earlier this week:


One of my favorite places, Snow White's Grotto:

Festive decorations at the entrance to Snow White's Enchanted Wish in Fantasyland:

New Orleans Square:

The Sailing Ship Columbia on the Rivers of America:


The Jungle Cruise queue:


We'll be back at Disneyland next week for the Merriest Nites party!

Merry Christmas!


Previous Thanksgiving Eve at Disneyland Posts: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018.

Also: Return to Disneyland: First Signs of Christmas (2021); Christmas at Disney California Adventure (2021).

Thursday, December 02, 2021

TCM in December: Christmas Movies

It's time once more for my annual guide to all the Christmas movies being shown this December on Turner Classic Movies!

As usual, Christmas movies are scattered throughout the month, including every Saturday and Sunday. I've also included a couple of films on the list below which aren't actually Christmas films but are very much in keeping with the seasonal spirit.

It all builds to a marvelous week-long Christmas movie marathon which begins on December 19th and concludes on Christmas Day.

There's always a small bit of fluctuation in titles from year to year, but viewers will find most of the familiar films here which they enjoy on TCM each December.

Please click on any link below for my full review. Several movies are shown multiple times throughout the month, and in those cases the review is only linked at the first mention of the title.

Additionally, please click on any still below to enlarge it for a closer look!



Saturday, December 4th

A NIGHT AT THE MOVIES: MERRY CHRISTMAS! (2011)
LITTLE WOMEN (1949)


Sunday, December 5th

LOVE FINDS ANDY HARDY (1938)
BUNDLE OF JOY (1956)
THE BISHOP'S WIFE (1947)



Tuesday, December 7th

THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER (1940) (Shown as part of a tribute to director Ernst Lubitsch)


Wednesday, December 8th

THE BELLS OF ST. MARY'S (1945) (It's not a Christmas film but it feels like one...plus it's the movie shown in Bedford Falls in IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE!)


Thursday, December 9th

BUNDLE OF JOY (1956) (Part of the "Met on Set" series)


Saturday, December 11th

A CHRISTMAS CAROL (1938)
STAR IN THE NIGHT (1945)
FITZWILLY (1967)
THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER (1942)
LADY ON A TRAIN (1945) (Hosted by Eddie Muller as a "Fireside Favorite")


Sunday, December 12th

ALL MINE TO GIVE (1957)
O. HENRY'S FULL HOUSE (1952)
MERRY CHRISTMAS, MR. LAWRENCE (1983)


Tuesday, December 14th

YOURS, MINE AND OURS (1968) (Part of a day of "widower" comedies, it includes a Christmas sequence)


Thursday, December 16th

SNOWED UNDER (1936) (Not a Christmas movie, but it's a fun snowbound comedy perfect for the season)


Saturday, December 18th

MEET JOHN DOE (1941)
IN THE GOOD OLD SUMMERTIME (1949)
HOLIDAY AFFAIR (1949)


Sunday, December 19th

KING OF KINGS (1961)
BEN-HUR (1959)
GOING MY WAY (1944)
THE HOLLY AND THE IVY (1952)
CHRISTMAS PAST (1925)
MON ONCLE ANTOINE (1982)
FANNY AND ALEXANDER (1982)


Monday, December 20th

KIND LADY (1935)
THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER (1942)
COVER UP (1949)
CROOKS ANONYMOUS (1952)
BACKFIRE (1950)
MR. SOFT TOUCH (1949)
LADY ON A TRAIN (1945)
WE'RE NO ANGELS (1955)
FITZWILLY (1967)
LADY IN THE LAKE (1947)
LARCENY, INC. (1942)
THE SILENT PARTNER (1978)


Tuesday, December 21st

HELL'S HEROES (1929)
THREE GODFATHERS (1936)
BUSH CHRISTMAS (1947)
A CHRISTMAS CAROL (1938)
PERIOD OF ADJUSTMENT (1962)
THE LION IN WINTER (1968)
MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS (1944)
IN THE GOOD OLD SUMMERTIME (1949)
THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER (1940)
LITTLE WOMEN (1949)
BLOSSOMS IN THE DUST (1941)


Wednesday, December 22nd

MY REPUTATION (1946)
OUR VINES HAVE TENDER GRAPES (1945)
PENNY SERENADE (1941)
ALL MINE TO GIVE (1957)
GOOD SAM (1946)
CHRISTMAS IN CONNECTICUT (1945)
HOLIDAY AFFAIR (1949)
DESK SET (1957)
BUNDLE OF JOY (1956)


Thursday, December 23rd

BIG BUSINESS (1929)
THE WORLD OF HENRY ORIENT (1964)
CAROL FOR ANOTHER CHRISTMAS (1964)
DESK SET (1957)
SUSAN SLEPT HERE (1954)
BELL BOOK AND CANDLE (1958)
IT HAPPENED ON FIFTH AVENUE (1947)
THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER (1942)
THE CHEATERS (1945)
AUNTIE MAME (1958)


Friday, December 24th

THE GREAT RUPERT (1950)
3 GODFATHERS (1948)
POCKETFUL OF MIRACLES (1961)
HOLIDAY AFFAIR (1949)
THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER (1940)
CHRISTMAS IN CONNECTICUT (1945)
MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS (1944)
THE BISHOP'S WIFE (1947)
A CHRISTMAS CAROL (1938)
REMEMBER THE NIGHT (1940)
MEET JOHN DOE (1941)
COMPLIMENTS OF THE SEASON (1930)


Saturday, December 25th

STAR IN THE NIGHT (1945)
TENTH AVENUE ANGEL (1948)
LITTLE WOMEN (1933)
LOVE FINDS ANDY HARDY (1938)
O. HENRY'S FULL HOUSE (1952)
IT HAPPENED ON FIFTH AVENUE (1947)
IN THE GOOD OLD SUMMERTIME (1949)


Looking ahead to New Year's Eve, TCM viewers can anticipate spending the evening with the That's Entertainment! MGM musical compilation films, followed by the Thin Man mystery series. The original film THE THIN MAN (1934) is set at Christmastime so it's perfect December viewing.

For more on TCM in December 2021, please visit TCM in December: Highlights, Quick Preview of TCM in December, and TCM's online schedule.

Merry Christmas to all!

Wednesday, December 01, 2021

TCM in December: Highlights

Happy December!

There's a wonderful month ahead on Turner Classic Movies, including a repeat of last year's week-long Christmas Movie Marathon. I'll have a complete rundown of this month's Christmas movies posted here in the near future, including films airing outside of the marathon.  (Update: Please visit TCM in December: Christmas Movies.)

The December Star of the Month is Ingrid Bergman. 31 Bergman films will be shown on Wednesday evenings.

This month's Noir Alley films are THE UNSUSPECTED (1947) December 4th-5th, CRUEL GUN STORY (1964) December 11th and 12th, and BLAST OF SILENCE (1961) on December 18th-19th.Noir Alley will take Christmas weekend off.

I've only seen one of this month's trio of Noir Alley films, THE UNSUSPECTED; it's great fun, with Claude Rains heading a top cast, including terrific supporting actresses Audrey Totter and Constance Bennett.

The TCM Spotlight, "Met on Set," focuses on actors whose real-life romances began on movie sets.

Saturdays will feature "Fireside Favorites," as TCM hosts take turns sharing favorite films. I'm thrilled that on December 11th Eddie Muller will host Deanna Durbin in LADY ON A TRAIN (1945), a favorite film which I've seen several times. With its Christmas setting, it's perfect December viewing.

On December 27th TCM will honor several actors who passed away this year and didn't receive more extensive tributes on the network.

Here are just a few more additional highlights from TCM's December schedule. Please click on any hyperlinked title to read my complete review.

...An evening of "Met on Set" films on December 2nd includes Clark Gable and Carole Lombard in NO MAN OF HER OWN (1932). Earlier this year I revisited this for the first time in a dozen years and was reminded how good it is.

...Friday night, December 3rd, TCM reruns IMAGE MAKERS: THE ADVENTURES OF AMERICA'S PIONEER CINEMATOGRAPHERS (2019). I was impressed with this documentary about filmmakers who were simultaneously inventing equipment and a new art form. I highly recommend it.

...Alicia Malone's "Fireside Favorites" picks on December 4th include the memorable "color noir" LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN (1945), starring Gene Tierney, Cornel Wilde, and Jeanne Crain.

...December 5th features two Jane Powell favorites, A DATE WITH JUDY (1948), costarring Elizabeth Taylor, and TWO WEEKS WITH LOVE (1950), costarring Ricardo Montalban and Debbie Reynolds.

...A December 6th birthday tribute to Agnes Moorehead includes a Greer Garson-Walter Pidgeon film I found underrated: SCANDAL AT SCOURIE (1953), in which Garson and Pidgeon adopt little Donna Corcoran.

...A marvelous two-evening tribute to director Ernst Lubitsch begins on December 7th, including THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER (1940), CLUNY BROWN (1946) and other wonderful films. Incidentally, this month Martin Scorsese has written about Lubitsch for the TCM site.

...BLUES IN THE NIGHT (1941) is an interesting if imperfect film, with an all-time great theme song and an interesting cast including Priscilla Lane, Lloyd Nolan, and Jack Carson. It's not shown on TCM particularly often so catch it while you can, on December 8th.

...TCM marks the December 10th release date of the remake of WEST SIDE STORY (2021) by showing the original WEST SIDE STORY (1961) as part of a two-film tribute to Rita Moreno. Remarkably, Moreno is in both films, made six decades apart. She turns 90 on December 11th.

...There's a great day of film noir on December 13th. You can't go wrong with any of the titles but I'll especially mention two all-time faves, CRIME WAVE (1954) and THE NARROW MARGIN (1952). Jacqueline White, who costars in THE NARROW MARGIN, just turned 99 on November 23rd.

...December 14th is the second evening of Lubitsch films, this time focused on his earlier career. Titles include THE OYSTER PRINCESS (1919), which I saw at a 2018 Lubitsch tribute at UCLA, and SO THIS IS PARIS (1923), which I saw at the 2017 TCM Classic Film Festival.

...A "snow day" theme on December 16th includes the enjoyable comedy SNOWED UNDER (1936), with George Brent and Genevieve Tobin heading a fun cast in a short and sweet 63-minute film.

...December 17th the schedule includes one of my favorite Judy Garland musicals, THE HARVEY GIRLS (1946). A good time is guaranteed.

...On December 18th Jacqueline Stewart's "Fireside Favorites" include one of the great Warner Bros. musicals, GOLD DIGGERS OF 1933 (1933).

...After a week of Christmas movies conclude on Christmas Day, Ben Mankiewicz's "Fireside Favorites" on Christmas Night include the excellent mystery WITNESS FOR THE PROSECUTION (1957) starring Tyrone Power, Charles Laughton, and Marlene Dietrich.

...Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers star in SWING TIME (1936) on December 26th.

...A day of musicals on December 28th includes THE UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG (1964), honoring costar Nino Castelneuvo, who passed away September 6th.

...A day of romance on December 29th includes Olivia de Havilland and Robert Cummings in PRINCESS O'ROURKE (1943). It's a wonderful film which will help keep the positive holiday vibes going during the 12 Days of Christmas.

....Another member of the original cast of WEST SIDE STORY, Russ Tamblyn, celebrates his 87th birthday on December 30th. TCM will show WEST SIDE STORY all over again that day along with several other Tamblyn films, including SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS (1954).

...New Year's Eve features the That's Entertainment! series followed by a Thin Man marathon starring William Powell and Myrna Loy. And Asta!

As the saying goes, "Watch this space" for my upcoming post on Christmas movies airing on TCM in December.

For more on TCM in December 2021, please visit my Quick Preview of TCM in December and TCM in December: Christmas Movies along with TCM's online schedule. In addition, TCM's December promotional video may be found on Twitter.

Merry Christmas, and best wishes for a very, very happy 2022!

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