Are you gonna keep on with your detective work then? I retired. I’m just going to take care of my wife’s money, so I’ll have something in my old age. You said you’d retired in New York; but, I noticed you took that Thin Man case. Oh, that Thin Man was a beaut! They’re still talking about it. Pick us up another Thin Man, will ya Nick?
It’s time for another Thin Man Thursday!
As I have said before, I LOOOOVE The Thin Man series! The characters, the pacing, the mystery, everything is amazing. It’s a perfect blend of mystery, comedy, drama, and film noir. And out of all The Thin Man films, this is my favorite. All because of this gorgeous and talented man:
Yep, this film has Jimmy Stewart in it, my favorite actor. But enough fangirling, let’s get on to the review!
As seen at the end of the previous film, the Charles couple is making their way to California, where they live now. They arrive in San Francisco on New Year’s Eve and receive a call from Nora’s aunt Catherine. And before you ask, yes even though this Aunt Matherine isn’t the Lady Catherine in Pride and Prejudice they are basically the same woman.
I never noticed this connection until last year when MadsenCreations and I participated in Noirvember and watched a Noir film every day.
Aunt Katherine hates that her socialite blue blood niece married a detective, the anger at allowing such degradation to the family name is only equalled by Lady Catherine’s anger over the marriage of Darcy and Elizabeth.
In Pride and Prejudice, Lady Catherine completely controls her daughter Anne’s life, and Anne is rather sickly and without personality. In this Aunt Katherine is equally as controlling of her daughter, Selma. Selma has anxiety, is often hysterical, and has had fits of blackouts when she is in a frenzied state (doesn’t surprise me with the way her mother treats her).
Selma is married, but the man she chose was nothing but a bounder; something Katherine constantly brings up. However, the lout has been missing and
Lady Catherine, I mean Aunt Katherine, and Selma ask if Nick can take up the case. Well, Selma asks-Aunt Katherine demands.
Nick doesn’t want to, but Nora convinces him to give it a shot. As Nick starts questing people, David Graham (played by Jimmy Stewart) arrives. He is Selma’s friend and former fiancé and had offered to give Robert $25,000 ($490,000 in 2021 dollars) to divorce Selma and leave. That’s the last he ever saw of him.
Let me pause and say again that I love Jimmy Stewart (and would have picked him over Robert any day). At this time it would have been easy for Jimmy Stewart to stay in just one mold of chracter, but when you watch this you really see his full range and how amazing of an actor he is.
Nick ends up discovering that Robert likes to hand out at the LiChi Club, a Chinese nightclub. While all this detecting and hysterics have been going on, Robert has been relaxing at the LiChi Club as he likes the dancing. In fact he likes one dancer in particular, as he is having an affair with one of the dance girls, Polly. Polly is tired of being the “other woman” and tells Robert she is done unless he leaves his wife. Robert doesn’t want to lose Polly and agrees to end it with Selma, trying to get his final “paycheck” from David. Nick and Nora find him at the club (and he is none too happy about that). Nora tried to appeal to his heart but Robert is cold as ice. He reminds me an Austen character, only after money and doing whatever he can to get it.
He tells the two he will be taking David up on his offer and get out of the crazy family and his crazy wife. (what a Wickham).
Quick side bar, I’m sure by now you have realized I recommend this movie for Jane Austen fans.
Back to the story. Unbeknownst to Robert, Polly can’t stand him. She is only with him as she and the club owner Dancer plan to rob Robert after he gets the money from David. To further add another player to this drama: Polly’s crook of a brother is back in town and he wants a cut.
Robert gets paid off and goes home to pick up his clothes, where he runs into Selma. Selma is hysterical about him leaving, and begs him not to go. Robert insults her and heads out, followed by Selma who is armed with a gun. As Robert walks through the foggy night we see that not only Selma is out there but we also see Lum Kee (from the club), Dancer, and Polly. A mysterious figure approaches Robert, but because of the fog we cannot make out who it is. The mysterious figure draws a gun and a shot cries out, with Robert dead. But which one did it? Or could it be someone else? Aunt Katherine?
Selma is arrested as she has the most reasons to murder Robert and they can’t test her gun as it turns out David threw it away (he was afraid she killed Robert and was hoping it would keep her from being indicted for murder).
We have several suspects and it’s up to Nick and Nora to discover who the killer is. Could it be the mistress? The mistress’ boyfriend? The former fiancé? The angry mother-in-law? Mistress’ brother? Or is Selma lying and she is the murderer?
A really great film and one I highly recommend. I will not give away the ending as it is too good!
I highly recommend it for any mystery fan.
For more on The Thin Man, go to You Know, That Sounds Like an Interesting Case. Why Don’t You Take It?: The Thin Man (1934)
For more mysteries, go to The Crimes of Juliet O’Hara and a Blast from the Past: Psych the Movie (2017)
For more film noir, go to Disappearance or Murder?: Lady in the Lake (1946)
For more detectives, go to Riddle Me This, Riddle Me That, Who’s Afraid of the Big, Black Bat?: Batman Forever (1995)
For more Jimmy Stewart, go to Can The Shop Around the Corner Be Considered A Pride and Prejudice Adaption?
For more Non-Austen Films for Austen Fans, go to I’m A Ghost With the Most: Beetlejuice (1988)