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On May 25, 1934, MGM unveiled the mystery The Thin Man in theaters, starring William Powell and Myrna Loy. The film went on to be nominated for four Oscars at the 7th Academy Awards ceremony. The Hollywood Reporter’s original review is below:
A smart honey, a sophisticated wow. A murder story with a brilliant cast, a brilliant script, brilliant direction, and photography that tells the story in no mean terms. Don’t spare the enthusiasm on this one because if the book had thousands of readers, this picture will have millions of customers — well satisfied and with that well-fed look.
There isn’t any sense in going into the murder mystery part of the story. Suffice it to say that all the characters are there and the person you least expect turns out to be the guilty man. BUT let it be shouted from the roof-tops that the writing, acting and direction of those characters all spell movie with a capital “M,” and so let us hasten the good work of handing out the bouquets.
Albert Hackett and Frances Goodrich have written a screenplay for this best-seller that never lets down on the humor or the quality of that humor. For sheer “nut” dialogue and characterization, you’ll have to wait a long time before their sustained record is broken.
William Powell has the time of his life as that elegant detective, Nick Charles, who never finds himself sober enough to have it interfere with his work. Powell is great and your patrons will revel with him in the best role he’s had since Manhattan Melodrama, which is by way of informing you that there is no let-down in the man’s capabilities or for his fans.
Myrna Loy makes positive the fact that she should stick to being a comedienne. Edward Brophy as Morelli does a scene that stops the show and rocks the house with laughter. Minna Gombell is grand as the one person definitely registered as insane, even though everyone in the cast is a little bit mad. Maureen O’Sullivan, Nat Pendleton, Edward Ellis, Cesar Romero and Porter Hall must each be separately mentioned for their excellent contributions. And Henry Wadsworth is attractive enough to warrant a part that would give him greater latitude.
And now for Mr. Van Dyke, who has yet to do anything slipshod in the way of picture-making. His pace is steadfastly on the move. His comedy sequences are beautifully timed and the last laugh gotten out of them without obvious squeezing. He’s a production master. And hand in hand with him is the camera work of Jimmy Howe, which is perfect for the thrills and chills and presents some beautiful portraits. — Staff review, originally published May 10, 1934.
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