Song of the Thin Man
The Thin Man Collection
William Powell, Myrna Loy
Director: Edward Buzzell
Format: Black & White
Rated: NR
Studio: Warner Studios

“Now Nick Charles is going to retire.” Says Nick Charles at the end of Song Of The Thin Man. It wasn’t many roles later that William Powell did indeed retire, but he retired Nick Charles at the end of Song Of The Thin Man. It’s always good to end on a high note which is what Nick and Nora Charles accomplish in Song Of The Thin Man.

This is a star studded affair – even if the stars were only on the rise. Dean Stockwell plays “Little Nicky” the Charles’ baseball loving son who is mercifully a minor character in the movie but it’s kind of fun to see the cigar chomping Stockwell in his formative years. The infrequently seen Jayne Meadows and the stunning Gloria Grahame both play pivotal roles in this story of love, money and revenge.

From the first movie to the last the repartee between Nick and Nora waned, the sense of fun lessened and the amount of boozing decreased to almost incidental. The became a mature married couple. Ten years of marriage has not lessened their love for each other but they fit together as you would expect a couple to. Nora plays a much more central role in this final installment of The Thin Man though the formula for the Thin Man story remains consistent this time around. A little poking into stuff that he says he doesn’t want to get involved in draws Nick inexorably deeper into the twists and turns of a complicated but decipherable plot.

Song Of The Thin Man works well as a final installment not just because Nick declares his retirement but because it is clear that the shine is off the apple. This isn’t a bad movie – as mystery movies go it’s quite good – it just isn’t quite up to snuff with the predecessors in the series. William Powell and Myrna Loy both could have gone back to these roles several more times without effort and no doubt the money would have been there to finance these drawing room dramas but they both had the good sense to walk away while the audience could still remember them fondly.

Song Of The Thin Man is worth watching because it’s a solid mystery movie but also because it is the swan song for The Thin Man.

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