William Powell, Myrna Loy, James Stewart. Dir: W.S. Van Dyke
I have, more than once, mentioned my movie rule “If William Powell and Myrna Loy are in a movie together, watch it.” I could say, “If there is a movie with the words ‘Thin Man’ in the title, watch it,” but the previous rule supersedes it. If you have not been following my rule thus far, or are new to my blog, the reason for the rule is the chemistry between the pair. I will not gush this time. Okay, maybe a little. They are just so perfect together, knowing and loving almost everything about each other, and their witty repartee is unmatchable. Also, the faces they make at each other are cute. I said “cute” and I’m okay with that.
Yes, this movie is the second in a series of 6, however, you really can watch it if you haven’t seen its predecessor, “The Thin Man”. There is nothing you need to know from the first one in order to follow the second one.
The plot involves Powell and Loy as the reluctant private detective and his wife (Nick and Nora Charles), who return to their home in San Francisco just in time to get wrapped up in another murder mystery, and I will speak no further on the matter because if that doesn’t entice you enough, there is something inherently wrong with you, and nothing I can say or do will ever change that, it will have to come from within.
James Stewart (I would prefer to say Jimmy, but Mr. Stewart would prefer that I didn’t) has a prominent-ish early career role in this and, I must say, I was somewhat surprised by the things his role called for him to do, which I’m not going to tell you about.
The irrepressible Asta plays his part in vexing Nick and Nora while dealing with his own marital troubles. His wife is a complete bitch, but that’s because she’s a female canine- it is not actually a poor reflection of her character. And, if you were concerned, Asta is also a dog, weirdo.
Here’s the part where I talk about the beauty of this movie. Not in the figurative sense, it is actually very pretty. The visuals are amazing, displaying everything I love about Art Deco and the 1930’s- their house, the gowns, the night club, the cars, the mustaches- it’s as if the style were invented just for this movie.
More on Powell and Loy. First, Powell: If you have not been subjected to his rich voice and exceptional line delivery, you haven’t been listening to me you’re in for a treat. William Powell exudes…um…William Powell. That’s a good thing.
And Myrna Loy! What an interesting woman she was. From challenging movie execs to put minorities in more prominent, non-servant type roles, to creating an organization challenging the Un-American Activities Committee, she knew her mind and wasn’t afraid to speak it. And William Powell was very fortunate indeed to have been cast opposite her in all 14 of the films they made together. They were great together onscreen, and very good friends offscreen, but they were never married. Not to each other, anyway. Between them they had a total of 7 marriages. James Stewart said, “There ought to be a law against a man who doesn’t want to marry Myrna Loy.” I would add to that, “There ought to be a law against a woman who doesn’t want to be Myrna Loy. I’m certainly in compliance. Are you?