Thursday, May 6, 2010

powell + loy = bling


Last night, TCM aired one of the delightful films of The Thin Man series, Shadow of the Thin Man, 1941. William Powell and Myrna Loy star as Nick and Nora Charles; Nick a dapper, hard drinking retired detective and Nora, his wealthy heiress wife. In each of the films, they team up and delightfully solve a bloody "moy-duh", mostly for fun, with the help of their darling Fox Terrier, Asta. The initial film's screenplay was based on the mystery novel The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett. It was such a smashing success, it spawned five sequels from 1934 to 1947.

I love the adorable chemistry between Powell and Loy. I can't think of another Hollywood pair who produce as much sparkle, well, except for maybe John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara. In each of the films, Loy is a joy to behold, outfitted in every scene with glamorous clothing and plenty of bling. The amazing thing is, each of these witty films were shot in just a short two week time span. Another interesting tidbit, the "Thin Man" of the title was actually the suspect in the first film. The name was thought by virtually everyone to refer to the character of Nick Charles, hence it was used in the titles of the sequels.

A boxed set of The Thin Man movies is now officially on my Christmas wish list.

Loy, doggy star Asta, and Powell

You might be familiar with these two movies influenced by The Thin Man films:

  • In the 1976 comedy spoof movie Murder by Death, the characters of Nick and Nora Charles became Dick and Dora Charleston, played by David Niven and Maggie Smith.

  • In the 2005 animated film Hoodwinked!, the character Nicky Flippers, a frog detective voiced by David Ogden Stiers, was based on Nick Charles.

  • 42 comments:

    1. These films look brilliant and I love detective stories/films - I must remember to buy the box set. By the way, I love the way you wrote "moy-duh", very amusing :)

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    2. Delightful post! I was born in 1941 and remember of all things ~ Asta the dog!

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    3. We just watched the Thin Man last night!!!!! It was Hubband's first time. And, the beauty of being me, is that I never remember how stuff ends. So, it was good fun all around.

      What I love is that the thin man refers to the suspect in the first story, not to Nick Charles, though if you mention it to most people they get hostile. (Or maybe it was just that one guy who got hostile with me. :))

      Thank you for all the inside info. I did not know there was a boxed set. I don't own such things, but if it exists it means they are all on dvd. Yay!

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    4. Yes, Tracey, funny that the character of Nick Charles came to be known as "the thin man", even though is was the suspect in the first movie.

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    5. Well these are definitely going on my list of things to see. Please oh please, Netflix, don't fail me now... ;)

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    6. just sent you a great thin man jpeg. i'd attach it here but, well, blogger. cheers.

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    7. I must see these movies... and also "Murder by Death"... Niven and Smith are favs of mine!
      I'm going to have to join nixflix or whatever that deal is called..
      :) The Bach

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    8. That sounds like a fun movie; I'll have to check Netflix. I've been reading your dessert recipes and getting very hungry.

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    9. Nick and Nora are my favorites - I've watched the 'Thin Man' movies so many times, and never tire of watching one on TCM! And I also watch to see the incredible clothing that Myrna wears. Yes, Powell and Loy have the best chemistry, imho:)

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    10. absolutely..these guys are great together, and if you were referring to the Quiet Man, applause--one of my all time favs.

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    11. Oh willow, I couldn't agree with you more - I've seen all of the series and just adore them! They positively sparkle, in all senses of the word. I also love the way people were "adults" in the films of this era - it was all so sophisticated and grown-up and there was no culture of the "pursuit of youth" - i.e. just past adolescence - which bedevils so many "light comedy" dramas these days.
      I didn't know there was a boxed set available. Me too please.

      And yes, yes, yes to "The Quiet Man" too.

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    12. Gerry, hey, thanks!! I'll go check my email...

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    13. Tom and Titus, yes, "The Quiet Man" is an all time fave. Wayne and O'Hara were just made for each other, weren't they?

      Lorenzo, the witty dialog in these films is just wonderful. Yes, Titus, positively sparkling.

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    14. I love a period piece and these films sound fantastic, especially as they depict the chemistry between the couple, a joy to behold, preferable to the angst we often see between couples.

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    15. You inspire me to want to watch these old flicks -- if just for the clothes.

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    16. I love those films.... and indeed, Loy and Powell were fascinating and funny! The dialogue was well written too.....a major fault with many of today's films.

      I confess to not knowing that "THE Thin Man" referred to the suspect and not Nick...

      Asta was adorable and they were a marvelous trio!

      Hugs,

      ♥ Robin ♥

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    17. Myrna Loy and William Powell had a presence and serenity that bolstered each other on screen. Love the Thin Man stories. They were remarkable.
      Nice thing for your Christmas list.
      I just added some BBC shows to mine.

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    18. always loved Myrna Loy and remember seeing The Thin Man on TV when I was young. Sigh, those were the days.

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    19. Mr Jackson is a fan and we were lucky to catch this--lovely stuff--I will have to see them all.

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    20. They made them in two weeks??? Really? That's amazing. Jeez, today I'll bet they spend that much time on a single scene in a movie.

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    21. how cool...just might have to put them on the list here as well...

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    22. Still the best on-screen pairing...period! A boxed set came out a while ago, so you never know...

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    23. I adore Nick and Nora and Asta!

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    24. think it's time to revisit nick and nora!

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    25. I always thought you look like Myrna Loy.

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    26. I have always thought that the characters in the Thin Man were rather odd - they don't fit into the traditional pattern of heroes at all. I have also always found them very un Dashiell Hammett like. I just wonder whether they are very modern rather than very old-fashioned : much watch the films again.

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    27. I wonder if the current release of Iron Man 2 with Robert Downey Jr. and Scarlett Johansson will have the same romantic charisma?

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    28. Yes I always enjoy watching The Thin Man series on TCM with Loy and Powell. LoPo? How sauve the stylization of the 40's. The hilarious repartee; the lively tiffs, the gangster spoofs. I love terriers! So adorable! Loy is so sweet and so is Powell. They make an ideal madcap couple.

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    29. LoPo. Brilliant. I love it!

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    30. I, too, am a hugh fan of Nick and Nora! I haven't seen Murder by Death with David Niven, and -one of my favorite actresses- Maggie Smith. It's going into my Netflix queue today.

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    31. i love nick and nora... we have the final film left in netflix and then i will have introduced hubby to all of the glory of them. i watched as a kid and he's never seen them until recently.

      myrna loy and my grandmother (as a young woman) looked so much alike. i used to tell her that and she'd smile.

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    32. Can't beat that black & white magic, Willow!

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    33. I'd so much rather watch 'detective' films like this than all the blow 'em up, chase 'em down movies in the world. The dialogue is just so witty and elegant. Ditto their clothing!

      Did you know that the series Hart to Hart, starring Robert Wagner and Stefanie Powers in the 70's, was inspired by and based on the main characters in The Thin Man series?

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    34. I love Myrna Loy. My favorite of her movies is "The Best Years of Our Live". She was the quintessential mother figure.

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    35. They are a brilliant film couple, definitely. The first two movies are my absolute favorites. They're so suave and debonnaire, and their marriage is so contemporary. I love Myrna Loy! She is fabulous.

      After I see one of those movies I always want to smoke cigarettes and drink till I pass out.

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    36. Reya, oh, I know! They make drinking look so delicious. I actually had to pour myself one, just watching this!

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    37. I've always loved Myrna too! She never seemed to take herself too seriously - & as you know dear Willow, if you've got that ability, you've got it made!
      Millie ^_^

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    38. I wish San Francisco were a bit more like it was in the world of The Thin Man. Of course, in the book they lived in New York, and Asta was a schnauzer, but the movies are still wonderful.

      Also, The Thin Man was a character nearly a decade earlier in Fritz Lang's Metropolis but nothing like the one in the Hammett book.

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    40. "Is he working on a case?" "Yes!" "What case?" "A case of scotch!"

      These two had such great chemistry.

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    41. I'm a huge fan of Loy & Powell, both as a team & separately. The Thin Man series is great fun.

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    Inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of existence.
    ― O. Henry (and me)