Like my okay on Halloween Ends? I don’t care what they say, I know they will make more. When there is money to be made there will always be another sequel or remake.
But enough of that. Here ends another Horrorfest: 31 reviews of films and/or TV episodes that are mysteries, horror, film-noir, suspense, monster movies, thrillers, psycho killers, ghosts, vampires, zombies, mummies, etc.
I only started doing this because I already would watch something for Halloween every day in October (and annoy my friends by doing so); and it was a real easy leap to blog about it. I know some people don’t think I should as it has “nothing” to do with Jane Austen. That may be true, but I do know one character who would enjoy Halloween and Horror films.
I also did my third annual Celebrate Halloween withNorthanger Abbey. And added something new, reading a chapter of Northanger Abbey every day, it’s a perfect countdown to Halloween as it has 31 chapters
And of course our Annual items
A movie or TV episode from every decade from the 1930s-2020s
Jane Austen with Pup Fiction (1997)
Alfred Hitchcock with Marnie (1964)
Animated Film/TV Episode with Over the Garden Wall (2014) & Coco (2017)
Disney with Coco (2017)
Stephen King with Firestarter (2022)
Tim Burton with Beetlejuice (1988)
Vincent Price with The Pit and the Pendulum (1961)
The one thing about a murder case is -if you just let people talk long enough, sooner or later, somebody will spill the beans. Well, somebody has.
It’s time for another Thin Man Thursday!
As I have said before, I LOOOOVE The Thin Manseries! The characters, the pacing, the mystery, everything is amazing. It’s a perfect blend of mystery, comedy, drama, and film noir. While the third film was okay, the fourth one was back to amazing and is one of my favorites.
This also has Donna Reed in it before she was a big star.
Unlike the other films in the series, you can watch this one on YouTube for free.
The Charles have left New York and returned to their home in San Francisco. We start off the film with Nick and Nick Jr. going on a walk and stopping in the park where Nick is supposed to be reading little Nick a story. He’s reading to him, but instead of a kids book, it is the odds for the racetrack. That Nick!
I really like that Nicky was shown in the films and that the Charles family were able to have a child and still investigate. It seems like a lot of shows/movies won’t let their crime solvers do that unless they want that character’s story to be all about the fight between work and family. Plus little Nicky is absolutely adorable.
Nick has racing on the mind more than ever as they are headed to the racetrack. While on the way Nick gets pulled over for speeding, but when the cop discovers that it’s Nick Charles the detective, he’s so excited be still gives Nick a ticket, but he also escorts them to the track (siren on).
They are soon caught up in a police and ambulance motorcade as they are also headed to the track. When the Charleses get there, it turns out a jockey was murdered, and not just any jockey, one who had been accused of throwing a race only the day before, and a witness in a gambling syndicate case.
Also arriving on the scene is our old pal Lt. Abrams from After the Thin Man. I really liked Lt. Abrams so I’m glad they brought him back. Another character who will be central to our plot is newspaperman Paul Clarke (Barry Nelson), a thorn in Abrams side and a friend of Nick.
Lt. Abrams tries to get Nick on in the investigation, but again Nick refuses. The only way he ever gets involved is if a friend is in trouble.
Later that evening, Major Jason I. Sculley and Paul come to Nick and beg him to take on the case, but as always he is still uninterested. While Nick is stubborn, he is loyal. He will constantly refuse unless he needs to lend a friend a hand.
Nick tries to use Nora as an excuse as to why he can’t help, he needs to take her out places. (To be honest I think Nick just wants to do his own thing whether it is stay home and relax or go out and go to places he wants to go to, he’s kind of over being the world’s greatest detective).
However, this backfired as Nora wants to go out to a wrestling match and Paul happily offers his press badge to them.
They go to the fight and tensions are high. Something is going down with the gambling syndicate owner. Newspaperman Whitey seems to be too familiar with Stephens, the gambling syndicate owner, he also is interested in the gangster’s girl. But his interest isn’t in her, but the money she owes him.
As it always tends to happen, whenever Nick is out he always runs into people he used to know, (more often people he sent to prison), and they all love him. It’s hilarious how many friends he has, often “unsavory” people in comparison to the ones Nora is friends with. L
Link Stephens, arena owner and head of gambling syndicate has missed most of the bout as he has had some “serious business”. His secretary is Molly (Donna Reed), who also happens to be the girlfriend of Paul. While Molly gets ready to leave, Whitey comes by and tries to get with Molly, who staunchly refuses. She goes to leave, but doubles back to listen to then talk. Whitey has been helping Link by keeping him clean in the papers and trying to cover up/avert suspicion. However, it sounds like he wants more than his usual cut and is trying to intimidate Link.
Whitey tries to get money, $10,000 out of Link who asks him to come back later (not good). Not only is he trying to get that money, the money from Link’s girl, but he also borrowed $8000 form “Rainbow” Benny. Why does he need so much money?
Molly goes to meet Paul for supper and the two talk about her job and his story. Paul feels so frustrated that he hasn’t had a break in it and takes Molly’s keys intent on searching Link’s office for solid proof. When he’s there he searches for things, Whitey comes upon him, he gets knocked out.
When he wakes up the police have come as someone discovered Whitey’s dead body and Paul is the one they are looking at for murder.
Nick gets on the case to help his friend, and like all the mysteries the twist is one you wouldn’t suspect.
It seems to me, Mrs. Charles, that every time your husband gets in with a girl, the insurance companies take an awful beatin’. Now, it’s nice, very nice, for a wife to trust her husband, but, get this, there’s that Wynant girl he knew before he was married. He comes here to New York and, bing, there’s a murder. He goes back to the West coast, there’s a good lookin’ girl there and, bing, there’s another murder. He comes back here, meets this Lois MacFay and… Bing – Bing – Bing! There’s another murder.
It’s time for another Thin Man Thursday!
As I have said before, I LOOOOVE The Thin Manseries! The characters, the pacing, the mystery, everything is amazing. It’s a perfect blend of mystery, comedy, drama, and film noir. However, this film is not my favorite of the series and for good reason. Unlike the other films, this one has very little William Powell.
It’s not that they replaced him or anything like that. There is two good reasons. While they were getting ready to make this film, William Powell’s fiancée, Jean Harlow, died; and then he was diagnosed with cancer. He had to have colon bypass surgery and radiation treatments. At first they were going to recast him, (no the horror), but wisely decided to wait. When they finally started filming all gave him a standing ovation.
Because of all that had happened, they were very careful with Powell. They filmed for only six hours a day and hired stand-ins to lighten his load as much as possible. The story is just okay, and I understand. This is one of those times when the studio put the person ahead of the studio and the money and wanted to have a a good film but also a well rested star.
So on to the film.
When we ended After the Thin Man, Nora surprised Nick with news that she was pregnant. Fast forward and the Charles family + their new addition are back in New York City.
While Nora calls her friend in San Francisco to let them know she has arrived in NYC, the operator cuts in with a call from Colonel MacFay (C. Aubrey Smith), Nora’s father’s old business partner who wants them to immediately come out and see him. Nora doesn’t want to as they have just arrived from a cross country train trip (with a dog and a baby)…
But Colonel MacFay has already sent the chauffeur and collected their bags, so they are once again off on another mystery and adventure.
While they are getting their personal belongings together, the bell boy plots stealing from Nora until her realizes that it’s Nick’s place. He’s Creeps and like all the crooks that Nick sent away when he was a detective, he still likes Nick. He congratulates them on the baby and plans a baby party for when they return.
The two make their way to the Colonel’s both really unhappy to have to go, but they don’t have a long to think about it as when they arrive at the Colonel’s gate they find a dead body, the chauffeur flees, the “dead” body disappears, and the Colonel’s armed guards harass them.
Eventually they are able to make their way inside where they chat with the Colonel, his adopted daughter, Lois (Virginia Grey), and her fiancé, Dudley (Patric Knowles), who works for the Colonel. Also there that night is the Colonel’s secretary, Freddie (Tom Neal).
Nick has been dreading this meeting with the Colonel as he thinks all the Colonel is going to want to talk about is Nora’s money, as the Colonel is in charge of her finances and investments; but to their surprise that’s not what the Colonel is interested in. The Colonel explains to Nick and Nora that a former employee, Phil Church, has threatened to kill him. Church was an engineer who did some illegal things at the Colonel’s company and went to prison for ten years. He blames the Colonel and as soon as he was released moved into the Colonel’s neighborhood. Church has demanded the Colonel pay him in order to end his terror. Lois agrees with Nick that they should pay him off, but the Colonel refuses.
It doesn’t take long for things to take a bad turn with the pool house being set on fire and Lois’ dog murdered. After all these events Nick goes to talk to Church who is a creep and threatens Nick and his family.
This is the part I don’t really like as I feel it drags as we see t going back to New York, there is another intimidation crew who comes to town, Church’s mistress, etc.
We finally get back on track when the Colonel gets shot and Nick now needs to figure out who killed him.
Many think it is Church, but could it be someone else? What about Dudley who is running around with a gun trying to take a shot at Nick (and ends up shot by the police)? The Charles’ nanny also takes off when the police come, hmmm?
The police investigate and discover that the Colonel was going to cut off Lois if she married Dudley. They think that Dudley killed the Colonel to keep the money and then tried to kill Nick to keep him from finding out, and while that ties everything up…that explanation doesn’t sit right with Nick at all.
Nick is on the case, a case that takes him to a club where he finds out that Church had another girlfriend besides the afore mentioned Smitty (Muriel Hutchison). The other mistress’ name was Linda Mills and she was known to be a tough dame. The Charles start looking into it, while Church also turns up dead.
Nick starts putting things together, but I think my biggest problem with this film is that there are too many characters and too many locations that it feels busy and is easy to lose track of who was who. The best part of the film is the end.
Nick assembles all the characters but while tbeh are in the middle of him breaking down the case, they are interrupted by the “baby party” planned by Creeps earlier in the film. This is one for be best scenes as you see all these hardened crooks with these little babies (as you need a baby in order to come, and all want to be a part of Nick’s Baby Party).
We end up finding out that the killer was Lois. She hated her life with the colonel and wanted something exciting. She would constantly sneak out and live her double life of Linda Mills, by doing so she met Church and started dating him; planning to kill the Colonel, frame Dudley, and kill Dudley as well.
However, then she discovered that Church was dating another woman. After finding that out, he had to go.
But Lois won’t be taken alive by the police, she flees to the baby party and kidnaps little Nicky using him as a human shield. It looks like it is all over, until a former crook returns to the party to trade babies as he took Nicky by mistake. Lois is taken away and all ends well.
While this is not my favorite of The Thin Man franchise, I do think the killer was done extremely well. You never suspect her through the whole film, and at the end when she drops her “I’m just a sweet innocent girl” act and becomes “Linda Mills”, I had shivers. Definitely a very well done villain.
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!
You know, that sounds like an interesting case. Why don’t you take it?”
I LOOOOVE The Thin Man series! To be honest really love anything with William Powell, but this series, is some of his doesn’t and love at first watch. The characters, the pacing, the mystery, everything is amazing. It’s a perfect blend of mystery, comedy, drama, and film noir.
MGM originally did not want Myrna Loy to be cast and told W.S. Van Dyke that he could only cast her if she finished shooting Stamboul Quest (1934); they underestimated Dyke as he wanted her in this role and made that happen.
One of our special things this year is that I am doing Thin Man Thursdays. Every Thursday this month I will review a Thin Man Film. Let’s get started on the case!
The film starts of with some family drama. Clyde Wynant cheated on his wife with his secretary, Julia Wolf. His wife caught him and divorced him. Since then they have been at serious odds with the kids caught in the middle. His daughter Dorothy has come to see him before he goes on a trip, as she just got engaged and wants her father to meet her fiancé when he returns. Clyde is excited to hear the news and goes looking for his $50,000 bonds to give to them as a wedding gift; only to find them missing.
He is furious as the only one who knows the combination is him and his secretary, Julia Wolf. He angrily calls her and discovers she stole them, cashed them, and only has $25,000 left. He tells her to get the rest and then that’s the last anyone ever saw of him. He just disappeared into thin air.
Months past and we are getting close to Christmas when who should return to New York since god knows when? Former detective, (and the most amazing one anyone had ever seen), Nick Charles (William Powell). Charles hung up his magnifying glass and detective hat when he met and married socialite and heiress, Nora (Myrna Loy).
When Nora is out shopping and Nick out drinking, they end up running into Dorothy who remembers him from a previous case, years ago a man was threatening and stealing her father. She tries to talk to Nick about her father’s disappearance but isn’t able to, being invited to the Charles’ Christmas party. The Charles couple are having a wonderful party full of all the degenerates, former criminals, boxers, and detectives that Nick knows from his former days and all the socialites and New York elite that Nora knows.
Meanwhile, Julia Wolf has been murdered and all evidence points to it being Clyde Wynant.
While they have the party, in sneaks Dorothy to beg Nick to help find her father. She doesn’t believe that her father murdered anyone. Unbeknownst to her, her mother Mimi has also come to talk to Nick; along with her brother Gilbert, Lt. John Guild, and a whole flock of newspaper reporters.
As much as Nick denies being on the case and refuses to investigate no one believes him and all want his thoughts on it. Especially his wife, as Nora would love to see him solve a case.
That evening a man breaks into the house as he wants to talk to Nick, he’s worried about the cops trying to pin the murder of Julia on him. After that occurrence, with his wife almost being shot by the intruder, Nick is on the case. He starts investigating and one night has an itch he needs to scratch. He goes to Wynant Industries which has been closed since Wynant left. While snooping he discovers a body. The police think Wynant did it, and believe the body to be Wynant’s former stalker (the case Nick worked on before) as the initials on the belt buckle match. But after looking at the X-rays, Nick knows something is not right.
In fact, Nick believes that the dead man is Wynant and that the same person who murdered him also murdered Julia Wolf. Nick decides the only thing to do is to have a dinner party and invites all the suspects over to grill and root out the murderer. By doing so, they created one of my favorite mystery tropes.
The films is amazing and I do not want to reveal the ending as it’s too good. In fact it was so good, it spawned 5 sequels. I highly recommend it for any mystery fan.