Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett

 A murder mystery that doubles as a sophisticated comedy of manners.

The story is set in Prohibition-era New York City. The main characters are former private detectives, Nick Charles and his young wife, Nora. Nick, son of a Greek immigrant who gave up his career to marry Nora, a wealthy socialite. He spends most of his time cheerfully getting drunk in hotel rooms and speakeasies. Nick and Nora have no children, but they do own a female Schnauzer named Asta.
Nick is drawn into investigating a murder. The case brings them in contact with a rather grotesque family, the Wynants, and also with an assortment of policemen and lowlifes. As they attempt to solve the case, Nick and Nora share a great deal of banter and witty dialogue, along with copious amounts of alcohol. The characization of Nick and Nora are often thought to reflect the personalities of Hammett and his long-time lover, Lillian Hellman.

The Movie

Directed by W.S. Van Dyke (1889-1943)

William Powell as Nick Charles
Myrna Loy as Nora Charles
Skippy as Asta, their dog
Maureen O'Sullivan as Dorothy Wynant
Nat Pendleton as Lt. John Guild
Minna Gombell as Mimi Wynant Jorgenson
Porter Hall as Herbert MacCaulay
Henry Wadsworth as Tommy
William Henry as Gilbert Wynant
Harold Huber as Arthur Nunheim
Cesar Romero as Chris Jorgenson
Natalie Moorhead as Julia Wolf
Edward Ellis as Clyde Wynant
Edward Brophy as Joe Morelli
Written by
Samuel Dashiell Hammett (1894-1961) 

The Novels

Red Harvest (published on February 1, 1929)
The Dain Curse (July 19, 1929)
The Maltese Falcon (February 14, 1930)
The Glass Key (April 24, 1931)
The Thin Man (January 8, 1934)
Hammett never wrote another novel with Nick and Nora Charles. 

1 comment:

  1. Scott - Oh, this is a good 'un! I really like Nick and Nora Charles - a lot.