Saturday, May 01, 2021

Tonight's Movie: Another Thin Man (1939) - A Warner Archive Blu-ray Review

Great news for fans of the "Thin Man" films -- last week ANOTHER THIN MAN (1939) was released on Blu-ray by the Warner Archive.

This release of the third film in the series follows previous Blu-ray releases of THE THIN MAN (1934) and AFTER THE THIN MAN (1936).

This time around Nick and Nora have been traveling, with Baby Nick Jr. (William Poulsen) and Asta along, but as soon as they return to New York they are summoned to visit a friend (C. Aubrey Smith) in the country.

Smith plays Colonel MacFay, a friend of Nora's late father. There have been mysterious threatening "incidents" at his home, but he refuses to leave. While Nick and Nora are visiting, a dog belonging to the colonel's adoptive daughter Lois (Virginia Grey) is killed, and then more strange things happen, causing Nick to put on his detective cap once more...

This is one of my favorite films in the series. It might run a tad long at 103 minutes, but Powell and Loy are at the top of their game bantering and romancing one another; they're simply great, great fun to watch, akin to a pair of perfectly in-sync dancing partners.

Loy has a marvelous scene where police are bewildered by her unflappable reaction as they regale her with the names of Nick's old girlfriends -- information she puts to good use later on. There's also a hilarious scene where she's surrounded by admirers in a nightclub and Nick breaks up the gathering by pretending she's broken quarantine for an unspecified illness, a joke which hit a little close to home these days!

I feel particular gratitude watching this film as Powell had gone through successful cancer treatment in the years since AFTER THE THIN MAN was released. The late '30s were rough for Powell, as he had also lost his fiancee, Jean Harlow, who died unexpectedly in 1937.

Happily for Powell, he would marry actress Diana Lewis in January 1940; despite a 27-year age difference, by all accounts it was a very happy marriage which lasted until his passing in 1984, age 91. Lewis died in 1997, and they are buried together at Desert Memorial Park in Cathedral City, California.

Powell and Loy are surrounded by a large cast of characters in ANOTHER THIN MAN, including two favorite actresses, Grey and Ruth Hussey, in support. Hussey plays Nick Jr.'s nervous nurse.

Nat Pendleton has a fun role as a police lieutenant, and the cast is rounded out by Patric Knowles, Tom Neal, Sheldon Leonard, and Marjorie Main, to name just a few. Further down in the cast are familiar faces like Edward Gargan, Roy Barcroft, Nell Craig, Frank Sully, Ralph Dunn, and Shemp Howard.

Like the first two films in the series, ANOTHER THIN MAN was directed by W.S. Van Dyke. The gleaming black and white photography was by William Daniels and Oliver T. Marsh. Costumes were designed by Dolly Tree, who created many beautiful gowns for Loy in the '30s. The film's glossy look defines what viewers expect from MGM.

The Warner Archive Blu-ray looks and sounds great. Extras imported from the original DVD release are the trailer, the cartoon THE BOOKWORM (1939), and a musical short, LOVE ON TAP (1939).

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 Amazon Store or any online retailers where Blu-rays are sold.


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