In honor of Myrna Loy as the “Star of the Month” for December, Turner Classic Movies will be showcasing one of her most memorable films.
TCM to present “The Thin Man” (1934) this Friday
Beginning this Fri., Dec. 23 at 8 p.m. Eastern/7 p.m. Central, TCM will be showcasing the 1934 film adaptation of the Dashiell Hammett novel, “The Thin Man,” featuring William Powell and Myrna Loy as husband-and-wife sleuths Nick and Nora Charles. As part of the network’s Friday night “Star of the Month” salute to Loy, all six Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer “Thin Man” films will be shown throughout the evening.
Directed by W.S. “Woody” Van Dyke, the whodunit film was shot on a B-picture budget (according to articles on TCM’s website) and MGM executives did not consider “The Thin Man” as a valuable story to film. Nor did they consider Powell and Loy to be leading sleuths on the silver screen. When the studio released “The Thin Man” to theaters, Van Dyke’s film adaptation of Hammett’s novel became a smash hit, boosting the screen careers of Powell and Loy.
Besides Powell and Loy, who else is in “The Thin Man” (1934)?
In addition to William Powell and Myrna Loy, there are several other notable actors in the first “Thin Man” film, including Maureen O’Sullivan (as Dorothy Wynant, O’Sullivan was known for her role of Jane in MGM’s “Tarzan” film adaptations with Johnny Weissmuller from 1932-1942), Cesar Romero (as Chris Jorgenson, this was one of Romero’s earliest film roles on the silver screen) and character actor Nat Pendleton (as Lieutenant Guild, Pendleton also played Joe Wayman in MGM’s “Dr. Kildare” and “Dr. Gillespie” series of dramatic films).
Throughout all six “Thin Man” films, one of the other main stars in addition to Powell and Loy would be the iconic canine personality of the series, Asta. According to an official Asta appreciation site, the portrayal of the Charles’ canine companion is different from Hammett’s novel (in the novel, Asta is a schnauzer instead of the familiar wired-haired terrier on the silver screen).
The dog that portrayed Asta (in the first film) was originally known as “Skippy,” but was changed to his stage name after the smash success of “The Thin Man” in 1934. Skippy/Asta was also in two other definitive classic features, Leo McCarey’s 1937 comedy “The Awful Truth” (with Cary Grant, Irene Dunne and Ralph Bellamy)* and Howard Hawks’ 1938 laugh riot “Bringing Up Baby” (as “George,” with Grant and Katherine Hepburn).*
Why you should see “The Thin Man” (1934, and follow-up films in the series):
You won’t be disappointed in Myrna Loy, William Powell and Asta’s performances in “The Thin Man,” along with James Wong Howe’s cinematography and W.S. Van Dyke’s direction. A perfect “whodunit” film (along with the follow-up films in the series) with a mix of witty humor. Highly recommended for all classic film fans!
*Denotes other definitive classic features that are highly recommended (by the author of this blog)!
TCM’s “Thin Man” Marathon (beginning with the 1934 film that started it all, as part of the network’s salute to Myrna Loy for the month of December)
Dec. 23 at 8 p.m. Eastern/7 p.m. Central (with the film that started it all)
Other “Thin Man” films that will be shown after the 1934 film on TCM:
9:45 p.m. Eastern/8: 45 p.m. Central- “After The Thin Man” (1936)- w/William Powell, Myrna Loy, Asta, James Stewart (in one of his earliest film roles), Elissa Landi and George Zucco.
11:45 p.m. Eastern/10:45 p.m. Central- “Another Thin Man” (1939)- w/William Powell, Myrna Loy, Asta, Nat Pendleton, Virginia Grey and Ruth Hussey.
1:45 a.m. Eastern/12:45 a.m. Central- “Shadow of the Thin Man” (1941)- w/William Powell, Myrna Loy, Asta, Donna Reed, Sam Levene and Barry Nelson. This was the last ”Thin Man” film that Van Dyke directed before his death in 1943.
3:30 a.m. Eastern/2:30 a.m. Central- “The Thin Man Goes Home” (1945)- w/William Powell, Myrna Loy, Asta, Lucile Watson, Gloria De Haven, Harry Davenport and Lloyd Corrigan.
5:15 a.m. Eastern/4:15 a.m. Central- “Song of the Thin Man” (1947)- w/William Powell, Myrna Loy, Asta, Dean Stockwell, Keenan Wynn, Jayne Meadows, Leon Ames and Gloria Grahame.
TCM Greatest Classic Films Collection: “The Thin Man” Series (Compilation set, featuring “The Thin Man,” “After the Thin Man,” “Another Thin Man” and “Shadow of the Thin Man”), available on DVD from Warner Home Video.