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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Movie: After the Thin Man



After the Thin Man
Based on characters created by Dashiell Hammett
1936


Come on, let's get something to eat. I'm thirsty. (Nick Charles)

What comes after The Thin Man? In the chronology of the Thin Man movies that would be After the Thin Man, of course, the first of the follow-ups. For those of us who bemoan the rampant sequel-mania afoot in Hollywood today (not to mention the perhaps even more rampant remake-mania) let's consider that way back in the Thirties and Forties there were a total of five sequels to The Thin Man before it was all said and done.

After the Thin Man gets underway - dare I say it - immediately after the events of The Thin Man, with Nick and Nora (and Asta) on a train heading back home to California. When they arrive at their house they find a raucous New Year's Eve party being given in their honor, though none of the guests seem to notice that they've returned.

From there it's on to Nora's ancestral home at the behest of a crabby old aunt and a posse of stuffy, snooty old relatives. Turns out that Nora's brother-in-law has disappeared and it's hoped that Nick can look into the matter without drawing any undue attention or scandal to the family. Well, the brother-in-law is located before long and not long after that he's knocked off. A few more murders follow, along with a bunch of legwork, mostly on the part of Nick and the police. There's a summoning of the suspects at the end of it all and if you were paying attention you probably wouldn't have been too surprised at who done it.

If you liked The Thin Man chances are you'll like this one, though one could make the argument that it pales just a bit next to the original. Apparently Asta, the Charles' dog was quite a hit in the first installment and so there's a good bit of pooch-related subplot here that does nothing to advance the story. But it's all in good fun, which is the whole point of this kind of movie in the first place and it even features an early role by Jimmy Stewart.

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