Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Thin Man (1934)

Up until this week, Jess and I had no idea that Myrna Loy was decapitated. As a 16-year-old high school student in Venice, CA, Loy posed for a student-made statue representing the "Spiritual." Her statue was flanked by "Mental" and "Physical." The statue was eventually surrounded by a tall white fence to protect it from graffiti. Most recently it was seen headless, lying in a scrap pile behind the school. Now it is gone and the only way to see it is to watch for a glimpse of it in the movie "Grease," filmed at Venice High. Watch the screen around Danny when he meets back up with his friends after the summer. Sigh.

We went to see a screening of The Thin Man at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Hollywood sitting on a picnic blanket with palm trees in the background.

We don't know where to begin with this movie - it represents all the reasons to love classic movies: the costumes are awesome - remarkable without being laughable - all the details and style of another era plus the elegance that we miss these days. Jess wants this dress:

The writing is awesome: witty and quick and dry and calculated to keep the plot moving so that even though the movie is only an hour and a half long, the plot is quite complicated and intriguing.

There are great characters, and plenty of them, and the bit players are every bit as good as the leading actors.

The mystery is great and the clues are dropped in a satisfying way, creating suspense and leaving you lots of room to speculate without giving away the guilty party until the last minute.

Two things that this movie has, though, make it stand out above even other great classic films in its genre: the chemistry between Nick and Nora Charles (William Powell and Myrna Loy) who play a canny, irreverent, affectionate couple who are as likely to elbow each other as they are to embrace and are constantly ribbing each other - and the antics of Asta, their adorable, clever and comical terrier.

Four stars, of course, from each of us. That means eight total. We will both be seeing this movie again.


Cheryl said...

Summer lovin'--it happens so fast.

Ms. Q said...

It's easy to fall in love with a movie you watch outdoors at a cemetary, as you yourself pointed out :)